Free Markets, Free People

Stupidity is what stupidity writes

E. J. Dionne Jr has an op-ed out entitled, “In American politics, stupidty is the name of the game.”

After reading the piece, I am pretty convinced it should be re-titled “In American punditry, stupidity is the name of the game.”  Dionne spends his 700 words demonstrating how true that title would be.

His premise is framed in a question: “Can a nation remain a superpower if its internal politics are incorrigibly stupid?”

Probably not – but it isn’t just anyone’s internal politics which he’s questioning – it is an attack on the fiscally conservative.  And, of course he deals with the left’s favorite subject when comes to government, budgets and spending:

Start with taxes. In every other serious democracy, conservative political parties feel at least some obligation to match their tax policies with their spending plans. David Cameron, the new Conservative prime minister in Britain, is a leading example.

He recently offered a rather brutal budget that includes severe cutbacks. I have doubts about some of them, but at least Cameron cared enough about reducing his country’s deficit that alongside the cuts he also proposed an increase in the value-added tax, from 17.5 percent to 20 percent. Imagine: a fiscal conservative who really is a fiscal conservative.

So now, fiscal conservancy is defined as “cutting spending and raising taxes”?  SInce when?  If, for instance, you have a government which is huge, out of control and intruding areas that it shouldn’t be and costing us a bundle while it’s doing so, why is “raising taxes” a remedy?

Why couldn’t a conservative proffer a solution which would cut spending and the size of government alone?  Why isn’t that ever an answer?

Well simply because the left doesn’t believe in smaller or less intrusive government and it has this class hatred thing going on for “the rich”.  

It is their job – through government of course – to take what the rich have and redistribute it.  Ask any of them.  That’s because their basic ideological premise is that the money we all have really doesn’t belong to us – it’s a benefit we accrue for living in this fine land shaped and governed by enlightened leftists who know much better than those who have “earned” their money where and how it should be spent. 

And, of course, that leads us to absolutely stupendous intellectual arguments like this:

The simple truth is that the wealthy in the United States — the people who have made almost all the income gains in recent years — are undertaxed compared with everyone else.

So there you go – the fact that “everyone else” is suffering under heavier taxation than those here doesn’t have the leftist shouting “ain’t freedom great".  Instead he shouts “make ‘em pay more” because  – and mother’s everywhere are wincing – the other guys make ‘em pay more.

Yeah, and the other guys live in countries which most here wouldn’t trade for this place.  The fact that someone accusing a certain political element of “stupidity” has to resort to the “but others pay more” argument in an attempt to sell the premise is just freakin’ laughable. 

The problem, sir, isn’t that the rich don’t pay enough.  The problem is the government here (and elsewhere, if truth be told) spends more than it has – consistently, increasingly and without an end in sight.

What in the hell is wrong with Dionne that he attempts to run this class warfare swill at us?  Does he honestly believe we’re that dumb?  Is the stupidity he’s banking on that of his readers?

His is a preposterous premise followed by an absurdly simplistic ideological argument which seems to be designed to distract the reader from the real problem – runaway government spending.

Take next year’s budget for example as just announced by the Obama Administration – $1.4 trillion dollars, of which 41% is borrowed.


That’s not the fault of the rich, Mr. Dionne.  And no matter how much you tax them it never will be.

The rich aren’t the freakin’ problem and hopefully even someone as dull witted as Dionne might eventually figure that out.  But I doubt it.

I mean, read his op-ed and you quickly realize there’s little or no hope of that ever happening.



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23 Responses to Stupidity is what stupidity writes

  • I cant make it through the stupidity of Dionne’s scrawls.

  • The simple truth is that the wealthy in the United States — the people who have made almost all the income gains in recent years — are undertaxed compared with everyone else.

    No.  That is a simple lie.  Many Americans pay nothing for their government.  They may pay something putatively for their retirement or disability, and their use of the roads, but they pay nothing for their central government.
    I have yet to hear any argument that that is moral.  It certainly is not good civics.

    • Not only are “the wealthy in the United States” taxed more than everybody else, they don’t get the benefit of most government programs (i.e. college grants, cheap college loans, food stamps, etc.).
      By this logic, the rich are taxed twice .. they pay taxes and get nothing.

  • I actually wouldn’t be against a slight tax increase, but it would have to come after the Govt could prove it could cut spending first.  Cut spending, keep it cut, and then we can talk about taxes.

    • This is the same problem with immigration.  They give amnesty, then just talk about border security.

    • I can actually agree with that to some extent.   I think a tax increase should come in the way of a fairer tax that can increase revenues without hitting the middle class.  Perhaps a fair tax, perhaps a VAT.   Budget cuts need to be serious as well, including cuts to entitlements, social welfare programs and education.  Military spending needs to be cut.  The US has to rethink its entire budget from top to bottom.   Look for all the trash talk on this blog, I’m actually closer to you than most on the so called left — I’ve voted Republican in the last two Senate elections here in Maine, and like Scott Brown in Massachusetts.  I just don’t go for ideological reads on reality — too many on the left and right let ideology (which is nothing but vastly oversimplified theories about how reality works) guide thinking, and they become unable to compromise.   So OK — spending cuts first, then restructuring the tax code to something simpler and more fair.   Can we agree on that?

  • If Dionne were to look at the US history, he would note that US tax revenue historically averages around 18% to a high of bout 20% of GDP.  But, the Obama spending is about 25% of GDP.  So, the problem is not taxes.  The problem is spending.  The spending just wasn’t as bad under Bush.

    • Bush deficit spent during a boom, Obama during a recession, when deficit spending is considered acceptable.  To me that makes Bush’s spending worse — during a boom, you should run surpluses!   But I’m quickly losing patience with Obama — he’s made some good statements about reigning in spending, but he shouldn’t cave to the left wing of his party.

  • Umm…I guess E.J. missed that Pay-Go thingy that Congress  passed and the President TALKED about…and are now ignoring.
    Seems like there is a little “honesty disjunction” there, don’t it…???

  • Stupidity is thinking you can balance the budget only by cutting spending.  Perhaps in a libertarian dream world that’s possible, but in the real world of American politics it will never happen.  It is politically impossible.    Stupidity is people pushing for impossible goals, and then just engaging in silly demonization of the other side when they get in the way.   Stupidity is ideological jihad instead of pragmatic compromise.    Such stupidity, if it continues from the left and right, guarantees our best days are behind us.

    • Stupidity is doubling the deficit and then saying that you have to raise taxes when you have no intention of cutting the spending.

      Those are the facts, ma’am.

    • Next time you are unemployed, try to balance your budget in any other manner than only by cutting spending.

      • That would be to increase revenue.

        • The difference, of course, being that by getting a job and putting out effort, you’re obtaining your revenue from a consensual partner in the arrangement, trading something of value to them which they want.  With taxes, you’re forcibly depriving people what they worked to get on the wishy-washy premise that you’re “exchanging” something of value to them.  Sorry, but if you just left that money in the hands of the people to decide how to spend it, they’d buy things they wanted and not throw money away on Alaskan bridges or Murtha airports.

      • No, no…Erp would DOUBLE spending, and talk about avoiding a jihad with his pragmatic compromise.
        Note how he always avoids the pragmatism of Pay-Go (it is ignored), and the pragmatic reality of the Laffer curve.  He will not…cannot…allow that lower rates CAN and HAVE raised more revenue than higher ones.  He not only does not understand economics, he can’t begin to understand human nature…especially free humans.

  • Wow! This guy Dionne really got to you, Bruce.  Two blog posts for the price of one. Well, I have to admit that piece of trash got my blood boiling too. What was that line from the movie  ” Forrest Gump “, Stupid is as Stupid does. I may not have that right but you get the point.

    Bruce, I’ve been following Q and O for only a short time and I’m impressed. You are clearly among the elite of conservative thinkers. And those that regularly make comments on your postings are also a very bright group. You are all way out of my league. Be that as it may, I too am a believer. So I hope that neither you or your followers will take offense for what I’m about to say.

    Besides yur blog, I follow Lew Rockwell, Tom Woods, and The New Republic and The Mise Foundation are on my favorites list. As I said I’m a believer. But I know that I’m not a player in game. However,  you the elite of conservative thinkers, seem to believe that you are players in the game. I think not. What I’m saying is this: Government = Politics = Political Parties. The true conservatives don’t have a political party and, therefore, are not players in this most important of games. Our so called conservative politicians in the Republican party are politicians first and conservatives second . Sure they sometimes are successful in pushing through a tax cut from time to time; but when it comes to spending, they are almost as bad as the liberal Democrats. So if conservatives don’t have a political party, how can we ever hope to make the changes we so desperately need in our country? I believe that conservatives, you the conservative elite, need to either start a new political party, which would have as much chance, as a snowball in hell, of success, or take control of Republican Party. I can’t see any other way that true conservatives can ever hope bring about real change in government policy.  Short of this we will just continue talking and complaining to each other and nothing will change.

    • OMG … don’t put us in the “elite”.  Those folks you say are “politicians first and conservatives second,” they are the “elite.”  Not by order of thought, but by social class.
      The first thing I learned a long time ago, is that all problems don’t deserve a solution, and especially not from the folks in government.  These “elites” see no solutions that don’t include government.  This is the root of all political problems.

    • Hey Jim,
      You don’t worry about a thing here man.  You’re not out of anyone’s league here.  You can climb that rope and ring that bell just about as well as anyone else here.
      In fact, I think what the comments section of this blog is missing is more Lew Rockwell ideology.  I encourage you to poke around more often.
      And bring some of that Mises Institute paleolibertarianism with you.  I’ll bring the ambrosia salad and pedro can bring the guacamole.

    • Thanks Jim – but actually one of the posts was written by Dale. And we’re not a “conservative” blog. We’re libertarian – we break from conservatives on many topics in the individual rights area. We push ideas, not parties. We are fiscally conservative so that has us addressing many topics which are near and dear to the hearts of conservatives.

      Oh, and yes, Dionne got the blood boiling in both of us.

      • Oh read between the lines, McQ!!
        He wants you to run for president.
        I’d vote for you.  But I want Secretary of Ag.
        There’s a farmer in Fort Bend County that deserves the what for.