I will agree with everyone else and state that I, too, will not spend all day talking about Sullivan’s bizarre defense of Paul Ryan and the GOP’s ridiculous “plan.” And while I am not talking about him, I will not mention that this is what he looks like when he is in over his head- after every reputable economist and budget analyst has completely laughed the plan off as a cruel joke (just start scrolling on that last one, Krugman has too many posts to link), Sully is reduced to passive-aggressive pot-shots and linking to McMegan:
It’s only marginally more sensible than John Cole’s unhinged rants against the rich.
Apparently, I speak for “the left” these days. No links, of course, because I haven’t been ranting about the rich in either a hinged or unhinged fashion, and he just made that up. I have been ranting, however, that Ryan’s decision to shift trillions to the well-off while nuking medicare and medicaid is a bad idea, a non-starter, and not a good faith approach, despite Andrew’s insistence otherwise.
And while I am not talking about the Daily Dish, I will not point out that despite going on an on about an honest and earnest debate, Sullivan chose to selectively quote one out of what feels like hundreds of posts about this issue, and then completely make shit up about that quote:
John Cole’s Debt Solution
Drum roll, please:
Here is my plan- I AM NOT CUTTING TAXES BY TRILLIONS FOR RICH PEOPLE, AND THE TAX CUTS WE JUST EXTENDED WILL EXPIRE. Voila!
And he seems to believe this will actually end our looming fiscal crisis (while accusing me of being a “complete innumerate clown”). He also seems to think that the lower tax rates are unfunded additions to the debt, as Bush’s were. But they are paid for by eliminating tax loopholes, shelters and gimmicks. My proposal for more revenue would be to lower the tax rates less and use the extra money from getting rid of tax expenditures for the deficit. The removal of the myriad shelters and loopholes in the budget, moreover, would actually take these boondoggles away from the rich, making the tax environment fairer.
But when Cole is this angry, it’s hard to argue with him. And yes, the bold caps are his.
Here is my original post, and as you can see, Sullivan isn’t even attempting to argue with me, but the voices in his head:
The Ryan/GOP Plan, as has been pointed out to Sullivan a hundred times now with little to no effect, slashes taxes by trillions and makes up for those tax cuts by slashing trillions in services to our neediest members of society. For there to be “much more tax revenue in the plan,” all you would need to do is FUCKING NOTHING. NOTHING. Here is my plan- I AM NOT CUTTING TAXES BY TRILLIONS FOR RICH PEOPLE, AND THE TAX CUTS WE JUST EXTENDED WILL EXPIRE. Voila! We are automatically better off than we would be under the GOP Ryan plan. This GOP/RYAN plan is so ridiculous, so transparently absurd and based on flawed assumptions, magical thinking, and cheap parlor tricks that if you are really concerned about the debt and the status of our fiscal well-being, DOING NOTHING is a better option by light years.
Does he seriously not understand that outside the Halperin/Scarborough universe, he looks like a complete innumerate clown? Can his ideology really be blinding him to this extent? Is he simply incapable of absorbing anything that Krugman, Chait, and others point out? Is he really this easily fooled into what constitutes “courage” and “bravery?” Paul Ryan and the GOP just proposed massive tax cuts for the well off on the shoulders of the American people while ending Medicare and Medicaid, and Sullivan honestly thinks this is “brave” and a conversation starter? It’s so brave it exempts everyone who is currently on Medicare, so they won’t see what he is doing. That’s called a bribe in most circles, but it passes for “bravery” in Sullivan’s.
My god, this is painful to watch.
As you can see, that wasn’t a plan to reduce the debt at all. It was a way of demonstrating how ridiculous the Ryan “plan” is- that if we had the options of doing nothing, or enacting the Ryan plan, we would be better off doing nothing. Sullivan wants more on the revenue side? Doing nothing and letting the Bush/Obama tax cuts expire would achieve that better than the Ryan plan, which slashes taxes and proposes closing loopholes as an afterthought. Only through selective quotation and willful and dishonest buffoonery could one assert that I honestly was proposing the way to end our financial problems is to do nothing. It’s almost as offensive as Sullivan ranting about “shared sacrifice” for several days while talking about a plan that slashes taxes for the well-off paid for with massive cuts in services that cream the poor and the future elderly (because Ryan has bravely exempted everyone over 55- they won’t have to be part of the “shared sacrifice.”).
Although, on the upside, I think we can all agree that Sullivan’s behavior the past few days is bracing and evidence that the debate on whether he is stupid, willfully ignorant, or just trolling us can move on to more earnest grounds. I am sure Oakshott or Niebuhr quotes could help flesh out that question.