Recently, I found myself involved in a conversation with a friend of mine who works for Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (yes, unbelievably I do have a friend who works for Paul Ryan), architect of the truly dreadful plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system.
Typical of most conversations I have with Republicans, I found myself attempting articulate big, complex ideas about economics and history–how we find ourselves where we find ourselves, is the phrase–while he wanted to talk about intransigent, ginned-up pseudo scandals like ACORN.
“Obama took money from Hamas,” my friend asserted.
Instead of articulating big, complex points, I let it all go and went back to drinking and talking Penn State shower scandals. Just now I looked up this point and found that, yes, a few Palestinians living in Gaza bought a bunch of Obama campaign merchandise in 2008 to sell on the streets (Note: living in Gaza does not make one a member of Hamas), and the money was returned as immediately as the Internet allows.
I’m pissed that I even looked this up because it’s non-scandals and baseless, unaccountable anecdotes like this that completely warps people’s perception of what has actually happened in this country and what continues to happen as a minority in one political party drives the financial system, the deficit, and the bottom 90% of income earners over a cliff.
This is why I’m begging you to read Tim Dickinson’s recent Rolling Stone article “How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich.”
I know, it’s kinda long, and no one likes reading, but this should be required for anyone who makes less than $250,000 a year and plans on voting next year. To be sure, none of it is breaking news. You don’t have to read it to remember that one of George W. Bush’s first acts as president was to kill Tax Harmonization, an effort by developed nations to put an end to off-shore tax havens like the Caymans or that economists within that administration warned Bush and Cheney over and over again that his tax cut plan would blow a hole in the deficit. You don’t have to read it to learn that Arizona Senator John Kyl held up an immensely important nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia (you know, one of those measures, unlike the Iraq war, which might actually lower the chance of nuclear material falling into terrorist hands) to keep the estate tax exemption up to $5 million instead of $1 million and the rate at 35% instead of 55% (as it was under Clinton).
First of all, in a personal aside, if you’re inheriting more than a million dollars, f*** you. You’re one of the luckiest people in the history of humanity’s existence on this planet. Pay your share and shut the f*** up.
Secondly, read that Dickinson article. It is not original reporting, but it is the most concise, step-by-step explanation of what has happened within the Republican party to turn it into the temple guard of the plutocracy. None of it is news but when told as a narrative, it paints a damning and irrefutable portrait of a how the political class has turned the tax code and the economy into a welfare system for the wealthy.