Dispatches from Wolf Country–Maya Angelou and Morning Joe

Had we done what Maya Angelou has recommended, Trump wouldn't have come close in any election except possibly for weirdest hair, although he'd probably have come in behind Bjork. As a general rule, media figures are able to convince us through their flacks, flunkies and extreme ego inflation that they are the answer to our problem. Well, how do you like 'em now? Feeling a bit dizzy, maybe queasy, getting weak? Wait for it.

Trump and Republican Tax and Health Care and Budget and Defense and Diplomacy in Picture Format

Word Press asked, “What’s on your mind” this Black Friday morning?Two things, really: The wealth of premier league Rugby this weekend; and, oddly enough, the intersection between someone who probably have should been nominated as Poet Laureate and a recovering Republican Congressman who’s marrying a blonde, Democratic policy wonk — Maya Angelou and Joe Scarborough.

In his column in this morning’s WAPO, Morning Joe responds to the Republican tax plans with a bit of convert rage, clarity and intellectual rigor that seems the normal sphere of those Reagan Republicans who were present and involved in Reagan’s revolution and remember that it really wasn’t that way at all, and that Ronald Reagan wouldn’t recognize this cabal as the Republican party. I am not a Reagan fan, but he was patriotic, optimistic and bought into the shining city metaphor as aspirational rather than as a publicity puff for a new Trump Tower.

Seriously, picture Reagan and Tip O’Neil sitting in their heavenly watering hole, listening to Donald Trump’s “American Carnage” Inaugural address. It would be totally alien to both of them and they’d have spit Glenlivet through their noses, and channel the one good line of that day, Bush 43’s muttered but prescient, “That was some weird shit!” I can picture Reagan saying it first, and O’Neil shaking his head and licking whiskey from his upper lip, muttering, “I get the feeling we’re gonna be drowning in that weird shit before too long. Fergus, we need a towel over here and another round…”

(“Fergus?” You ask. Heavenly bartenders in a bar those two would frequent would definitely be Irish as would the decor and the buffet, and Fergus is a good Irish name for an Irish-themed Angel in an Irish bar.)

Scarborough  saves the quote for the conclusion which is basically a condemnation of the Republican Congress, President, Party and current crop of ideologues, propagandists and pornographers. He knows that  the Angelou quote, like the rug in Lebowski’s living room, ties the whole piece together. The full quote echoes Aesop’s scorpion proverb, and is something we should all tattoo on the inside of our eyelids.

Had we done what she recommends, Trump wouldn’t have come close in any election except possibly for weirdest hair, although he’d probably have come in behind Bjork. As a general rule, media figures are able to convince us through their flacks, flunkies and extreme ego inflation that they are the answer to our problem. Well, how do you like ’em now? Feeling a bit dizzy, maybe queasy, getting weak? Wait for it.

Tom Toles, WAPO, 5-11-17

Scarborough masterfully explains what was originally was supposed to happen, what did happen, and points out that the lesson learned wasn’t that trickle down and tax cuts for the rich and corporations didn’t work the way they were supposed. Rather, the rich got richer, while the middle and working classes stagnated. No, the lesson Republicans learned from this and from Bush 41’s defeat combined was that tax cuts got you re-elected.

This might be the exception that either proves the rule or changes the metaphysics. It’s not a popular tax cut, and will cause tons of problems while solving none. Our problems are not a shrinking economy or a lack of jobs. Our problems are more structural and organizational. There’s no market for this tax cut; the voters have realized that if you want nice things, you need to pay for them, and the best way to do that is through taxes as opposed to usage fees. In fact, there is a lot of concern about the imbalance of wealth in the economy, and the progressive approach of raising taxes on the rich is starting to gain popularity.

Increased taxation on the wealthy is in fact a populist fundamental, and has been since the Gracchus brothers tried it to even things out in Rome. Didn’t work real well for them; but ultimately, the Roman Republic fell going by stages from plutocracy to absolute autocracy. Trump ran, of course, as a populist promising to tax the rich and the corporations while lowering the rates. Of course, he had no intention of doing any such thing. It’s not that he believes in Reaganomics; he just doesn’t care. But, it sounded good to the voters so he got a win, and it’s going to make him richer.

Morning Joe lays it out simply, points out that outside of myth and ideology, Republican tax cuts and “trickle down” economics haven’t worked. They have resulted massive deficits, gridlock and bizarro world we’re in today politically, socially and economically. Their underlying reason for the plan is really simple — the middle class is stupid, and the donor class want’s some ROI on it’s investment in Republican candidates. Hell, they’ve admitted it. The donor class is restless and needs something big for their contributions, not unlike the riot squad on Desolation Row.

Now the same conservatives who promised voters they would never again be as reckless as they were under Bush are repeating the same old cycle of big tax cuts, big spending increases and no fiscal restraint. As Maya Angelou said, when people show you who they are, believe them. And for four decades, the Republican Party has shown itself to be the party of reckless budgets, runaway deficits and exploding entitlement spending. Just because the GOP donor class is willing to overlook those glaring failures in exchange for a corporate tax cut doesn’t mean other voters will be so blind. This is another Republican tax plan that helps the rich, hurts the poor, increases inequality and blows a hole in the debt. It will also lead to more GOP losses at the polls next year.

Ah well, as Molly Ivins would put it, nothing but good times ahead.

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