Monthly Archives: August 2012
The usual caveats as to language applies to the above Internet Hitler video. (What else can one expect from internet Hitler?) Taking a momentary pit stop in my vacation traveling. I note with bemusement the debate that has erupted on the blog in regard to Paul Ryan and the attempted questioning of his Catholicism. I find that utterly bizarre. In the primaries I supported Rick Santorum. Santorum has enthusiastically endorsed Romney’s pick of Ryan.
Here is a video below from earlier this year in which Santorum praised Ryan’s budget, with the caveat that it did not go far enough in cuts:
One of the major developments in American history in the first half of the Nineteenth Century was the extension of the franchise to all adult white men. By 1841, Rhode Island was the only state that had not removed the property requirement for voting by adult white men. Years of frustration in failed attempts to remove the property requirement through legislation burst out into one of the more unusual rebellions in US history. Led by Thomas W. Dorr, a so-called People’s Convention was held in October 1841 which drafted a new constitution for Rhode Island. The convention had not been authorized by the Rhode Island legislature. Opponents of Dorr and his followers in the state legislature drafted a new constitution for Rhode Island which they designated the Freeman’s Constitution. This constitution made some concessions to broadening the franchise. It was defeated in the legislature by followers of Dorr.
A statewide referendum called by Dorr approved the constitution which had been drafted by the People’s Convention. In 1842 Rhode Island witnessed two sets of election with two competing legislatures and two governors: Thomas W. Dorr and Samuel W. King.
The Dorr forces attempted an attack on the arsenal in Providence on May 19, 1842 and were routed, most, including Dorr, fleeing the state. The Rhode Island legislature approved a new Constitution which was approved by a referendum. The new constitution extended the franchise to all adult white men who could pay a poll tax of $1.00.
In the case of Luther v. Borden, 48 US 1, the United States Supreme Court declined to rule on which of the competing Rhode Island governments had been the legitimate government, holding that such a decision was a political one and not subject to judicial determination: Continue reading
“Show, don’t tell” is an admonition often given to writers. Usually it applies to fiction, but it works with non-fiction as well. If you make an assertion about someone’s beliefs, it is generally good form to provide evidence supporting your argument, at least if you want to be taken seriously. It is true that the blogopshere doesn’t necessarily allow for extended treatises, yet it’s still possible within the confines of a few hundred words or more to demonstrate credible evidence of your assertions.
When it comes to Paul Ryan and his evil Randian ways, however, such worries are cast aside. Already his critics are harping on how the influence of Ayn Rand on Paul Ryan calls his judgment into question. And it’s not just the usual suspects making these arguments, Continue reading
Tom Hoopes at CatholicVote.org recently posted his assessment of what lessons the “gay marriage” debate has taught those of us on the pro-tradition side. I was going to write about this myself, but I’ll go ahead and examine his four lessons as a starting point. My intention is be constructive, because as Hoopes correctly points out in his opening lines, the pro-equality side of this debate has been very successful at defining the parameters and central issues of the debate thus far. We need to assess and regroup. If Mr. Hoopes would like to reply to this, I would certainly welcome it.
“1. We learned that being grossed out by homosexuality hurts us.”
Hoopes recalls a discussion with someone raised by homosexual parents:
“What people like my mom see in the religious right is people who say, ‘Ooo, this is icky and disgusting and horrible,’ reflexively, without explaining why,” he told me. “Then my mom and her friend look at their own lives, at their sacrifice and friendship and generosity and say, ‘Well, these people are just hate-mongers.’”
“There is no reason we should feel special disgust at homosexual acts compared to any other sexual sin. And there is no reason we can’t appreciate the mutual friendship and authentic love in a long-term homosexual couple. If we know what marriage is, a thousand such couples shouldn’t in any way threaten us.”
“Disgust” is a very peculiar phenomenon in that it is neither irrational nor easily expressed with words. Animals in nature have the physical senses to warn them of potential dangers; human beings in society have certain social senses to ward of certain dangers as well. I can’t explain why rotting garbage smells “bad” (even if I can offer a scientific account of why it smells the way it does); I affix the label “bad” to it because it is something I want to avoid, and I want to avoid it because I have an involuntary gag reflex that triggers when I inhale the odor.
Homosexual behavior is repulsive to us because it is harmful to society (more on that later), and we are social beings. The comforting narrative that homosexual activists have developed – that any aversion to homosexuality on the part of a heterosexual is a sign of repressed homosexual desires – is a way of making their positions and lifestyles unfalsifable. If you accept them, great. If you don’t, it is a sign that you secretly do. There can be no legitimate opposition. If you think gay is gross, you probably are gay. A fascinating self-defense mechanism, but one not supported by a shred of serious evidence.
Next, homosexuals aren’t averse to displaying their hearty disgust with heterosexuality (their derogatory name for us is “breeder”) when it suits their own desires and interests. They also go out of their way to provoke anger and disgust with their unjustifiably obscene public marches through major cities, which I consider to be acts of violent ideological aggression against Western Christian civilization. So I’ll take their complaints about our disgust seriously when that word is publicly denounced and banished from their lexicon, and when they aren’t actively trying to provoke disgust in society at large. To imagine that you can deliberately dress, speak and act in ways that you fully know and intend to make people uncomfortable and offended and then complain about people’s discomfort and offense has a proper label: sociopathy. To acquiesce to it is a sinful act of cowardice.
One other thing is required: an acknowledgement that the pro-tradition side has developed rational, secular arguments in favor of its position, instead of a default assumption that it is all either based on “eww gross” or decontextualized passages from the Pentateuch.
Stripping Catholic universities and colleges of their “Catholic” identity: Is it “forfeiting a valuable resource”?
When the Vatican recently informed officials of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PCUP) that the institution could no longer be called either “Pontifical” or “Catholic,” many wondered whether this action was a “signal” intended to get other Catholic universities and colleges in line soon or face similar consequences.
For those who would hope that the edict is a signal, the Vatican didn’t issue the edict precipitously. Decades of listening and discussing the issues proved fruitless. In the end, the Vatican acted decisively, leaving the door open to reconciliation on the Vatican’s terms.
In the weeks following the announcement, many observers of U.S. Catholic higher education who would hope that the edict is a signal have mused about whether and what it would take for the Vatican to strip an institution’s status as a Catholic university or college.
What interests The Motley Monk isn’t all of that speculation, but the fear expressed by some of those observers about the consequences—the fall out—of the Vatican decision to strip one institution of its status as Pontifical and Catholic.
For example, of those U.S. Catholic universities and colleges that appear to be “Catholic in Name Only,” the editor of Catholic World News, Phil Lawler, recently wrote:
We could easily supply a long list of colleges and universities that should no longer be allowed to parade as “Catholic” institutions—if only for the sake of truth in advertising. But before indulging that daydream too long, stop and consider the possible consequences. If a bishop were to take the bold step of declaring that, say, Georgetown (or Boston College or Fordham or Loyola—take your pick) is no longer a Catholic institution, would the Church be forfeiting a valuable resource?
At one time all these universities were genuinely Catholic. Built up by the contributions of loyal Catholics, they nourished generations of students in the faith before something went terribly wrong. These schools exist because faithful Catholics wanted a solid Catholic education for young people. The campus, the buildings, the proud traditions: these are all part of a patrimony, handed down by our forefathers in the faith. Are we willing to give them all away now?
Yes, I know; these institutions already largely controlled by professors and administrators who are at best indifferent to the Catholic faith, and at worst hostile. But that could change. Just as the culture of dissent took over the schools in the late 20th century, a resurgence of orthodoxy could recapture them in the 21st. If the schools were officially stamped as non-Catholic, it would be much more difficult to reclaim them.
Lawler raises issues that many have been discussing for a very, very long time.
But, The Motley Monk asks:
- If a Catholic institution isn’t providing students a distinctively Catholic educational experience as the Church defines that, what “valuable” resource would the Church be losing?
- If that institution’s campus, building, and proud traditions—the “patrimony”—are nothing but mausoleums testifying to a dead past and which the majority of its administrators and faculty wish would disappear into the dustbin of history, what “valuable” resource would the Church be losing?
- And what evidence is there that those who control most of these institutions today have in place succession plans to ensure they will be replaced by authentically Catholic academics—that so-called “resurgence of orthodoxy”?
Speculating about the answers to these questions isn’t necessary. After all, the answers are already in.
Consider George M. Marsden’s “The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief.”
- All of those once eminent Protestant universities and colleges in the United States he studied are now abundantly-endowed, nonsectarian, and secular institutions.
- The patrimony has been eviscerated from their institutional cultures.
- Any hoped-for resurgence of orthodoxy hasn’t happened for 100+ years and, quite likely, won’t happen any time soon, given the state of U.S. Protestantism.
The Motley Monk is wondering whether the fear of losing a “valuable” resource is a chimera, one engendering cowardice in those who bear a moral responsibility for U.S. Catholic higher education.
What’s at stake?
The soul of U.S. Catholic higher education, what may have once been a valuable resource.
To read Phil Lawler’s article, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
One of the more interesting tidbits about Thomas Jonathan Jackson, universally known as Stonewall, is that he and his wife established a Sunday School for free and slave blacks in Lexington, Virginia. The school taught free blacks and slaves to read although this was against Virginia law.
Jackson’s personal views on slavery are probably best summed up by this statement from his wife:
I have heard him say that he would prefer to see the negroes free, but he believed that the Bible taught that slavery was sanctioned by the Creator Himself, who maketh all men to differ, and instituted laws for the bond and free. He therefore accepted slavery, as it existed in the South, not as a thing desirable in itself, but as allowed by Providence for ends which it was not his business to determine.
Jackson continued to financially support the Sunday School during the War, and one his last pieces of correspondence prior to his fatal wounding contained his regular contribution. Here is a letter Jackson wrote on June 7, 1858 describing the operation of the school to Lyle Davis, a Professor at Washington College and a member of the same Presbyterian Church in Lexington that Jackson attended: Continue reading
I am on vacation this week with my family. My internet connection in the coming week will range from intermittent to non-existent. I will have posts for each day I am away on the blog, but if something momentous occurs, for example: Elvis is discovered working at a Big Boy’s in Tulsa, the Pope issues a Bull against blogging as a complete waste of time, or Obama dumps Biden and picks his teleprompter as his running mate, I trust that this post will explain why I am not discussing it.
Among other activities we will be attending the Gen Con Convention in Indianapolis, a pilgrimage the McClarey clan makes each year to renew our uber-Geek creds. If any of you are close to Indianapolis and you have never attended, it is worth a drive to see tens of thousands of role players, board gamers and computer gamers in Congress assembled. If nothing else you will go home reassured as to how comparatively normal you are. Last year’s attendance was in excess of 36,000 and there are multitudes of gaming related events. A good symbol of the holy grail of nerdiness that is Gen Con is here. Below is a Gen Con video from 2011 which gives a nice feel of the convention.
If the average American can’t handle complexity in his or her own life, and only government experts can … then government must direct the average American about how to live his or her life. Freedom becomes a diminishing good.?But there’s a major flaw in this “progressive’” argument, and it’s this. It assumes there must be someone or some few who do have all the knowledge and information. We just have to find, train, and hire them to run the government’s agencies.
Friedrich Hayek called this collectivism’s “fatal conceit.” The idea that a few bureaucrats know what’s best for all of society, or possess more information about human wants and needs than millions of free individuals interacting in a free market is both false and arrogant. It has guided collectivists for two centuries down the road to serfdom — and the road is littered with their wrecked utopias. The plan always fails!
All the signs point to Mitt Romney selecting today Paul Ryan for the Gop Vice-Presidential Nominee. Ryan is the Congressman for the first congressional district of Wisconsin. I am quite familiar with him as his congressional district encompasses Kenosha where my mother-in-law lives. My family and I will be traveling up to visit her for a few days today as we do every summer.
Ryan, 42, is a Catholic, married and the father of three kids. He has been in Congress since 1999. He is most notable for his proposed budget, the Ryan plan, which passed the House on April 15, 2011. The bill died in the Senate.
A second version of the Ryan budget was passed this year by the House. The budget came under attack from liberal Catholics and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, a majority of the bishops appearing to confuse social justice with a welfare state driving us to national bankruptcy. Ryan responded to his critics with a lecture at Georgetown which is featured in the video at the beginning of the post. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. Pat Murphy of the Irish Brigade sung by Bobby Horton, who has waged a one man crusade to bring Civil War music to modern audiences. Immigrants, especially Irish and German, were a mainstay of the Army of the Potomac, and wherever you have Irish fighting you are going to have Irish songs about the fighting.
For the great Gaels of Ireland
Are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry,
And all their songs are sad.
G. K. Chesterton Continue reading
The Catholic News Agency published some remarks made by President Obama in Denver yesterday (Aug. 9) regarding the HHS contraception mandate that are so deluded and irrational that it becomes difficult to imagine how this country can possibly continue forward. We are dealing now with a level of dishonesty that is so open and aggressive that reasonable discourse, upon which social peace ultimately rests, is fast becoming impossible.
This is what Obama said about Mitt Romney’s opposition to the mandate:
“It would be up to the employer to decide. Your boss, telling you what’s best for your health, your safety,” the president said.
“I don’t think your boss should get to control the health care that you get. I don’t think that insurance companies should control the care that you get. I don’t think politicians should control the care that you get.”
This is Barack Obama speaking. The man whose healthcare vision is about to be foisted on the American people, in which they will be forced to buy health insurance (by politicians, from insurance companies) or face official penalties, just said that he doesn’t think politicians and insurance companies should control the care that we get.
Some statements are so at odds with reality – in this case, a reality established by Obama himself – that they can only be described as psychotic. The psychosis continues with the idea that without the HHS mandate, employers would, and indeed, have been, deciding what is best for their employee’s health. It never entered Obama’s psychotic mind that a desire not to cover what HHS mandates could, and almost always does, revolve around the employer’s desire to avoid something he finds morally objectionable, in which case it has absolutely nothing to do with dictating employee’s health. No, when a man in a position of relative power, the employer, decides what he will and will not pay for his employees to have, it is necessarily an aggressive and unjust exercise of power by the master over the subordinate in the psychotic mind of the president.
It doesn’t matter that on every corner of every major street of every town and city in the United States is a CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid or local drug store that is brimming with contraceptives that are legal for anyone to purchase. It doesn’t matter that there are clinics that provide abortions and sterilizations for those who want them. It doesn’t matter that there isn’t a single employer in the nation that can legally force people to work for them and thus deny them the opportunity to work for someone who is willing to offer a plan that covers such things. All of these conditions, which collectively taken together, any sane man would recognize as a condition of freedom (at least relatively) as far as health and reproductive choices are concerned, mean nothing to Obama. They mean nothing to the hordes of bleating drones who have dutifully towed the party line on this issue either.
The layers of insanity go even deeper. Obama himself has created the conditions under which businesses with 50 or more employees must eventually provide health insurance (by 2014). He has forced this responsibility onto the employers of America. He then proceeds not only to insult them with his “you didn’t build that” remarks (some potential business owners won’t be building anything thanks to Obamacare), but to prohibit them from exercising their preferences, moral or otherwise, in how they go about doing it. And yet to hear Obama speak, one might think that employers themselves demanded Obamacare just so they could have power over their employees that they didn’t have before, and that the HHS mandate had to exist for this reason. This isn’t just a false picture of reality, but a deranged one.
Finally, Obama speaks as if employers making decisions about what they will cover or not cover in their health plans is something new, as opposed to the way it has been since health plans came into existence. All this time, apparently, bosses have been dictating to workers what is best for their health by not paying for their condoms and vasectomies. Obama has now freed us from the tyranny of having to pay for certain things we want with our own money. People who view reality this way can’t be reasoned with by people who don’t.
Looking at Obama’s recent rhetoric, a phrase keeps emerging. He keeps referring to America as “one American family”, especially when there is a tragedy in the news. Some commentators are even beginning to see him as a father figure (try not to wretch if you watch the clip). There is no doubt in my mind that he seems himself as the father of the nation, laying down rules for some of his more stubborn children, insisting that they share their toys with one another. That is how he sees the businessmen of America. And as for the religious conservatives, they are the cranky old uncle who is grudgingly tolerated but also increasingly despised by the more content members of Barack’s family. In neither case is there respect for what they do or what they represent. There is no respect for them as autonomous, rational beings with their own convictions. They’re just stubborn children or senile geriatrics, they aren’t mature and rational like Obama and his friends. He isn’t even a politician, not in his own psychotic mind. He is self-excluded from that list of people who want to “control what healthcare we get.” He isn’t controlling us; knowing us better than we know ourselves, he is guiding us, in spite of ourselves. He is our father.
“Sweeter even than to have had the joy of caring for children of my own has it been to me to help bring about a better state of things for mothers generally, so their unborn little ones could not be willed away from them.”
Susan B. Anthony
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a\k\a the Lying Worthless Political Hack has been in the habit of making bizarre statements on a regular basis throughout her political career. However, she recently topped herself:
“And then I realized Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth, you name it, they were all in that chair, they were,” said Pelosi. “More than I named and I could hear them say: ‘At last we have a seat at the table.’ And then they were gone.”
Well, okay. Assuming that the Lying Worthless Political Hack wasn’t simply hitting the sauce early in the day, I wonder what these ghosts would say to Pelosi. Considering that Pelosi is a total pro-abort, perhaps they would have said something like this: Continue reading
Well the above video from the Romney campaign removes all doubt that the HHS Mandate is going to be front and center in the fall campaign. Obama was campaigning with Sandra Fluke yesterday, as Ed Morrissey at Hot Air details here. Obama’s war on the Catholic Church, and his attempt to promote schism within the Church, may play a decisive role in the swing states like Ohio that will decide this election.
Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.
The two churches nearest to him, I have looked up in the office. Both have certain claims. At the first of these the Vicar is a man who has been so long engaged in watering down the faith to make it easier for supposedly incredulous and hard-headed congregation that it is now he who shocks his parishioners with his unbelief, not vice versa. He has undermined many a soul’s Christianity. His conduct of the services is also admirable. In order to spare the laity all “difficulties” he has deserted both the lectionary and the appointed psalms and now, without noticing it, revolves endlessly round the little treadmill of his fifteen favourite psalms and twenty favourite lessons. We are thus safe from the danger that any truth not already familiar to him and to his flock should over reach them through Scripture. But perhaps bur patient is not quite silly enough for this church – or not yet?
At the other church we have Fr. Spike. The humans are often puzzled to understand the range of his opinions – why he is one day almost a Communist and the next not far from some kind of theocratic Fascism – one day a scholastic, and the next prepared to deny human reason altogether – one day immersed in politics, and, the day after, declaring that all states of the world are equally “under judgment”. We, of course, see the connecting link, which is Hatred. The man cannot bring himself to teach anything which is not calculated to mock, grieve, puzzle, or humiliate his parents and their friends. A sermon which such people would accept would be to him as insipid as a poem which they could scan. There is also a promising streak of dishonesty in him; we are teaching him to say “The teaching of the Church is” when he really means “I’m almost sure I read recently in Maritain or someone of that sort”. But I must warn you that he has one fatal defect: he really believes. And this may yet mar all.
CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who takes up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have designated him Defender of the Faith, has a brilliant fisk at Midwest Conservative Journal detailing how upset some Episcopalians are at the Pope, because so many other Episcopalians are swimming the Tiber:
I said once before that if one of the marks of a genius was the ability to drive otherwise-sane people absolutely bat crap, then Pope Benedict XVI is Albert Einstein. Come to find out that some Episcopalians are STILL bent about the Ordinariate. Last weekend, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly did a story about a Maryland Episcopal parish that recently swam the Tiber:
In Bladensburg, Maryland, the Catholic service unfolds smoothly, a comfortable routine for priests and parishioners alike.
But one year ago, members of St. Luke’s parish were devout, devoted Episcopalians. This is the first Episcopal church in the country to convert to Catholicism under Vatican rules designed to attract disaffected Episcopalians.
Father Mark Lewis and his congregation preferred Roman Catholic order to the Episcopal tendency to make crap up as they go along.
We left the Episcopal Church not because we were running away from the issues of the Episcopal Church. We left the Episcopal Church because we were running to the Catholic Church. We came to the point where we realized the theology of the Episcopal Church is what was lacking. The theology of Rome, the authority of Rome, the unity in the Holy See and in the bishops: that was appealing to us.
As did Father Scott Hurd.
There is a real hunger amongst some Episcopalians and Anglicans for authority. It was the question of where can true Christian authority be found that was a key element in this community’s journey.
There wasn’t one particular reason, said congregant Stephen Smith. There were a whole lot of reasons, each building on the last.
There’s not any one real incident you can point to, but it’s like the strands of a rope giving one by one, and each one weakens the rope as a whole.
Anne Marie Whittaker agrees.
All of a sudden it was do-your-own-thing mass, and there was a lot going on, for instance, a clown mass. I would come in and someone put a red nose on me! I saw children circling altars. One by one, parishes started to succumb to some of these practices in order to attract people, and it made it difficult for me to worship in that atmosphere.
Maryland Episcopal Bishop Eugene Sutton tried hard to be diplomatic.
I like to say that we are really one spiritual family. We believe about 90 percent of things in common. Where we disagree is on matters of authority and some other spiritual matters. But the important thing is that we are not fighting; we are not in competition with one another.
On the other hand, the Rev. Ian Markham, president and dean of the Virginia Theological Seminary, didn’t even try to hide his anger at the papists.
There’s quite a lot of traffic currently going both ways between the two traditions, especially at the level of congregants. What’s interesting here is you’ve got entire congregations and clergy making the shift. So, yeah, I think the Roman Catholic Church is a threat, because we’ve lost the sense of our theological understanding and identity.
There was a perception that this was poaching by the Roman Catholic Church of Anglicans around the world. It was discourteous, it was stealing sheep, it was unecumenical.
Stealing sheep? Unecumenical? In what way?
It’s viewed as not recognizing the value of and integrity of our traditions.
I’ve been covering the Current Unpleasantness since it began nine years ago. And while some of you might feel the need to get into a theological argument with that line, I have arrived at a point where words like those just make me smile.
I wonder if Markham realizes how pathetic he sounds; I can’t conceive of an Orthodox or Roman Catholic Christian uttering those words or ever feeling the need to. Because those words could not possibly occur to any person who is confident about his or her Christian tradition as Markham seems to imply here. Continue reading
Last week Gore Vidal and John Keegan died. I recalled John Keegan in a post which may be read here. Gore Vidal I did not recall. Although I enjoyed two of Vidal’s novels, Julian and Creation, I could not write a post about him without violating the maxim De mortuis nihil nisi bonum. Fortunately my favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson, does not share that inhibition:
Among those guests in 1964 was Gore Vidal, who was not yet 40. I was about eleven and remember him as a stylishly dressed non-stop hair-toucher. He was also vain and condescending — and a big hit at his lecture with the conservative rural crowd. In those days he acted what was known as “witty.” I recall asking my dad whether he was “English,” given that his nose was angled upward and his accent did not sound American (and that he did not seem to like the U.S.). My dad, in the Swedish fashion of honoring work for work’s sake, answered that I should respect any man who could crisscross the country, giving 30 lectures in 30 days.
Vidal certainly had an instinct for saying outrageous things with such erudite authority that we yokels found him fascinating rather than repulsive. As I remember (it has been 48 years since that evening), Vidal spoke for about 30 minutes, but then he wowed the crowd to a standing ovation in the question-and-answer period (his forte), as he advocated the legalization of drugs and prostitution and went on rants about “small town” values. Continue reading
I’ve been listening to music via Pandora a lot recently (while writing) and the result is that although I’ve been hearing more than my usual share of political ads. (Since I don’t watch television or listen to commercial radio, I’m normally exempt from these despite living in Ohio.)
One thing that particularly struck me is the rampant dishonesty in regards to tax policy that’s going around, in part due to the both party’s bad habit of making tax breaks look more affordable by enacting them only for short terms, thus necessitating frequent renewal.
The first bone of contention is the “Bush tax cuts”. These tax cuts, which affected taxpayers all across the income spectrum, are estimated to have a “cost” of $3.3 Trillion over ten years (this “cost” is the combination of foregone theoretical tax revenues and the cost of servicing the debt resulting from federal spending not going down by a similar $3.3 Trillion.) Democrats like to refer to the “Bush tax cuts” as “tax cuts for the rich” and to quote the full “cost” of $3.3 Trillion as being the cost of those cuts. What this ignores is that two thirds of that $3.3T actually went to what President Obama refers to as the middle class (families making less than $250,000 per year.) So while it’s true that the “Bush tax cuts” had a “cost” of “over three trillion dollars”, the attacks against this ignore the fact that two thirds of that total is “tax cuts for the middle class” which Democrats support.
Just to make it even more confusing, Democrats like to call extending the Bush tax cuts “massive tax cuts for the rich”, despite the fact it is simply an extension of tax rates which have already been in place for some time. Republicans, on the other hand, like to refer the potential expiration of the tax cuts as a “massive tax increase.” This is accurate, to the extent that people would indeed experience their taxes going up, but it ignores the inconvenient fact that Republicans wrote the tax cut in such a way as to expire (in order to avoid having to make hard budget decisions to ‘pay for’ the tax cut.)
As if one set of expiring tax cuts that everyone talks about in different ways were not confusing enough, there’s also the Obama payroll tax cut: a cut of 2% in the payroll tax that pays for Social Security. This was never meant to be a permanent tax cut, but rather a short term economic stimulus. Social Security has financial problems to begin with, it doesn’t help to make a significant cut in its funding. (And that’s ignoring the fiction that the money you put into Social Security is the money you’re get out again.)
However, even though both parties have signaled that they’re essentially willing to let the temporary payroll tax cut expire at the end of this year (though both parties hope to see this done as part of a broader overhaul of taxes suited to their own priorities) that hasn’t stopped some commentators and advertisers from characterizing Republican support for letting the cut expire as “a tax increase on the middle class”.
This ad is so filled with lies that it is almost an archetype of the mendacious political ad. Romney was out of the decision making loop by 1999 at Bain Capital. GS Steel was facing bankruptcy in 1993 when it was purchased by Bain, so if Bain did anything it was to give the fellow in the ad, Joe Soptic, employment for a few more years until the plant he worked at closed its doors in Kansas City in February 2001. Soptic’s wife? He says that she got sick “a short time” after the plant closing.She died of cancer in 2006. She had insurance through her own job at a local thrift store until she injured her rotator cuff and had to quit her job in 2002 or 2003. Even by the low standards of political ads, this one is despicable.