Tom the Dancing Bug: Deficit Hawk Down

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  1. 2 interesting observations from driving across the USA over the last three weeks:

    In “red” states there are huge billboards and roadside stands and promotional displays in supermarkets etc. etc. etc. (all sponsored by local governments or multinational corporations with good ‘ol boy names) extolling the virtues of Christianity, militarism, nationalism, and highly polluting sources of energy such as coal and oil. They are freakin’ EVERYWHERE you turn. These are simply not present in the “blue” states, except rural Pennsylvania, where you can’t go a dozen miles without seeing a coal billboard.

    In the same areas, but also to a lesser extent in the “blue” states, there are people hard at work fixing the roads and bridges on ARRA money. Real people doing real work that actually needs to be done for the public good on the public dime. I have no idea if they receive a real living wage, but they are working.

    1. I don’t think the point was Republicans bad, Democrats good, but rather that in order to reduce the national deficit we do need to raise taxes. If you’re in debt, the way to get out of debt is to lower expenses and raise income.

      Of course this gets into a debate about how to lower expenses and yadda yadda yadda, but that’s the point (I think).

      1. Hey, raise my taxes as much as you want, as long as I get to file my returns using the Geithner/Rangel method.

    2. I’ve seen an awful lot of “Democrats BAD/Republicans WISE & RESPONSIBLE” themed editorial cartoons lately. And you’re right, the humor in those can only be enjoyed subtly.

      1. “no your hungry children can’t eat the bird. bury it like i told you, or i’ll shoot you in the face.”

        there, now it’s partisan.

      1. GtreenJello, you are just a cheap labor conservative.
        Interesting link, but I really don’t see myself that way. I voted for Nader, and opposed Bush for his second term in office. I’d like to think I’m a centerist with a “Vote none of the above” view point.

        Sadly attacks like the one in the cartoon don’t really do anything but promote an us vs them agenda. Worse, it’s been done to death. Frankly I find the cartoon boring and trite in it’s banal lack of insight or original message.

        1. If you’re a centrist, you’re aware that not everything that isn’t Republican is Democrat, so at what point did you see the cartoon as praising the latter? And who is the “us” in the “us vs. them” mentality?

  2. Well, it doesn’t exactly present a fair and balanced view on taxes or the effect of taxes on the economy. It just assumes that it is the only correct or effective action.

    1. And what would the fair and balanced — as opposed to the “fair and balanced” — perspective on tax cuts be?

      We know they do little to stimulate the economy in the short run. In the long run, they put a drag on the economy which may or may not be counterbalanced when the government uses the money in productive ways (think “health and education” vs. “mohair subsidies”).

      The Republicans have indeed been shamelessly transparent and hypocritical in their deficit hawkery. The position of the GOP seems to be that tax cuts always pay for themselves through greater economic growth and are therefore fiscally responsible. This position is supported by zero evidence.

    2. Actually, I think this is a cartoon, not an economic dissertation.

      If this were an economic dissertation, I’m sure we could expect far more content. But, as it stands, it’s a cartoon.

  3. I liked this comic. It is very simplistic, which appeals to me. I think it clearly articulates an issue that is always muddied whenever it’s debated on TV. The republicans are in favor of cutting the deficit and stopping the stimulus, as long as that doesn’t include raising taxes for their millionaire friends!

    1. You haven’t been following politics very long if you think it’s only the Republican’s who have millionaire friends.

  4. Ruben Bolling was a banker before he was the second best cartoonist in America, so he knows what he’s talking about with his econcomics (please kill me for typing that)

  5. Well, Republicans are usually in favour of tax cuts for the rich, usually claiming the “trickle- down” theory (has that ever actually worked?) and ignoring that the benefits of taxing the rich are at the very least more tangible and reliable. After all, trickle down only works if the rich don’t carefully hoard their money- something the rich are known for when the economy takes a wrong turn.

    Also the hypocrisy- something politicians in general and Republicans in particular are very well known for.

  6. I’m almost 40.

    There’s a lot I still don’t know.

    One thing I do know: there is now, in 2010, less reason to support the Republican Party than ever. And I mean ever. The party of Lincoln? Gone. The party of Teddy Roosevelt, when “conservative” and “conservation” were still considered related? Gone. The party of Eisenhower, who warned us of the military industrial complex? Gone. The party of Goldwater, who wanted government out of our private affairs (including our bedrooms)? Gone. Okay, how about the party of the deplorable Tricky Dick, who nevertheless oversaw the EPA and Clean Air Act (considered by much of the GOP to be regulatory commie policies, today)? Gone.

    And yes, if Reagan were president today, he would be considered too liberal by the loons running the GOP today. And that’s… depressing.

    Unless the party reverses its course sometime soon, I can’t see a reason for ever supporting the GOP in my lifetime. Though at this rate, I’ll probably outlive it.

  7. Long ago Republicans and Democrats were each somewhat bad and somewhat good in different ways. Nowadays they are mostly bad, in pretty much the same way except for cosmetic details.

  8. The point is more about how contradictory the economic policy promoted by the wealthy is, not Dem vs. Repub

  9. 19 comments before somebody notices the comic is NOT ABOUT POLITICAL PARTIES?

    Jesus, did you all just jump right to GreenJello’s non-sequitur and skip reading the comic?

    Pretend Lucky Ducky is a registered Republican and everyone else in the comic is a Democrat. This will require an IQ of at least 80, so some of you might have to struggle with this thought experiment. Look, the message is unchanged! Go figure!

    1. Pretend Lucky Ducky is a registered Republican and everyone else in the comic is a Democrat. This will require an IQ of at least 80, so some of you might have to struggle with this thought experiment. Look, the message is unchanged! Go figure!

      Sure, but recently the Republicans have been opposing extending unemployment benefits of the sort that Lucky Duck is about to get, and the guy in the suit is expounding Republican points of view, and opposed to increases in taxes on the wealthy. I think it’s pretty clear who is supposed to be whom.

      Unfortunately I don’t think it’s anywhere near this simple, and the comic just serves to get people riled up without offering any solutions. Throwing mud is easy, fixing things is hard.

  10. Tickle down economics doesn’t work because rich people put all of their money into gigantic money bins, like Scrooge McDuck. At least that’s the jist of everything I’ve heard.

    1. Tickle down economics does work, but if it’s over-applied someone usually pees their pants a little.

  11. “I’ve always looked at it as Republicans bad, Democrats less bad.”

    As a libertarian, I’ve always seen it the opposite way. Reversing the mistakes Republicans make is easy. Just end the war, raise the taxes back up. Reversing the mistakes of Democrats is much harder, because there is usually an entitlement involved.

    As for this comic, it implies that deficit hawks are wealthy people. The truth is quite the opposite (compare the average incomes of liberals and conservatives). I make pathetically little money yet it’s obvious to me the US is heading for an economic meltdown.

    1. Reversing the mistakes Republicans make is easy. Just end the war, raise the taxes back up.

      Easy as pie, unless you’re a politician who wants to have a shot in hell at ever obtaining elected office again. Then it’s all “look out for Mr. Tax & Surrender! He’ll take all your money and send it to Al Quaeda!”

    2. That makes so much sense. Easy fix huh? Just end all the wars that republicans start, problem solved. Who is going to end those wars? The republicans you keep voting for? But didn’t they start them in the first place? Eh… At least the democrats have a bit of empathy for the poor. Who gives a crap about entitlements? You think people are living it up with their $300 month in food stamps and their meager unemployment benefits? Please.

  12. compare the average incomes of liberals and conservatives

    Andrew Gelman wrote a book studying that very concept, “Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State.”

    The gist of it was that while the “blue” states were wealthier than the “red” ones, within both the overall-blue states and the overall-red states, Republican voters tend to be wealthier than Democratic ones.

    So while there may be some high-profile wealthy liberals, overall wealthier people do tend to be more conservative.

    1. How much of the employment in the red states is generated by Government military or aerospace expenditures, ultimately paid by for by the taxes levied upon the incomes of the people in the more populous blue states?

      How much of that red state wealth is in fact other subsidy and re-distribution from the blue states?
      Any agri subsidies paid to the reds states, pushing up food prices in the Cities of the blue states?
      Any mining or ranching royalties set at pre-1890 levels?
      Would that be a subsidy too? Or only a give-away?

      1. I’m not sure why you’re addressing your questions to me — I know full well that it’s the “red” states that are subsidized by the “blue” states and that, yes, military expenditures, ag subsidies, and 19th-century BLM giveaways are government subsidies. Not that most of their beneficiaries would admit as such.

        I was pointing out that libertarian twinangel was mistaken in perpetuating the myth that the wealthy elites are liberal and the salt-of-the-earth working man was more likely to be conservative. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

  13. I don’t think this comic says anything about political parties. I do think it echoes a lot of thought which coalesces in my head as: the 19th century was followed by the 20th century which is being followed by the 19th century.

  14. “Republicans who voted against the tax cut, such as Lincoln Chaffee. ”

    And for that the GOP stabbed him in the back, tried to shut down military bases in his state and punished the state in other ways (why do you think RI is usually the worst off in this recession but not any previous ones?)

    Then Lincoln Chaffee got fed up after being lied in the Roberts confirmation and quit the GOP before Obama was elected.

    He is no longer a Republican.

  15. Dear Twinangel,

    I believe you’re the first commenter I’ve ever seen anywhere on the Internet who began a post with the words “As a libertarian…” who did NOT compare taxes to armed robbery.

    I’m not sure what that means, but I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. (Also: what #22 said.)

  16. If we just cut the DOD back to 85% of its funding in 2001 (in 2010 level dollars) we’d save $350 billion a year. The DOD budget ($721.3 Billion) is now larger than the combined federal income taxes of the bottom 99% of taxpayers, or nearly the state budgets of all 50 states put together ($749B). Adding in the other “defense” associated spending such as the intelligence agencies, DHS, and a share of the interest on the debt easily brings the sum to well over a trillion. (And nearly all of the debt is due to discretionary military spending – the “entitlements” (aside from veterans services and a few relatively small items) are paid for out of separate taxes and have been loaning their constant surpluses to the rest of the government for decades.)

    The top 3% pay half the income tax (but a much smaller proportion of total tax, not even counting their lavish corporate welfare benefits)- so increasing their tax bills by half gives us another ~$250B. That is a total of $600B, enough to wipe out the deficit and begin to pay down the debt within 2 years.

  17. It’s satire. If you’re offended, it’s probably because the cartoon has succeeded.

    It’s good to have to encounter something offensive from time to time.

  18. Guys , its funny because the only people getting offended are those that recognize their own actions!!

    “So you think wanting to get more money to the rich and being a patriot is a bad thing?! YOU MONSTERS. You probably pander to the Duck people!! ISLAMICS!!!”

  19. As an unmoneyed older person, I pay no taxes. The only reason I bother to file is to score the homestead credit. I always buy a copy of the newest TurboTax to help my friends for free! The US Tax Code has something for everybody, even people who want to try their luck at fraud. My favorite cheaters are the people who use variations on the idea of a corporation. God bless LLC!

  20. Thank God, Allah an Budda etc.
    that I am not living in the US!
    I pay approx. 55% of my income in tax, doctors are free, schools ar free, roads are free and working. The elderly is taken care of, and the deficit is low.
    so, stay blue, let the rest of the world laugh of the greatest econnomy with the poorest people.
    Mads E

  21. But you can’t end wars! They don’t bankrupt nations, they end recessions, as Krugman tells us.

  22. Ever heard of odious debt… In case you were abscent, capitalism failed and we had to bail out the pigs with the biggest hand out in history.

  23. Don’t bag on military spending. All that money has been really good at keeping 500 guys in Afghanistan from getting out of hand and keeping Osama Bin Laden’s bones from rising up and making more of his tedious videos with crummy production values. It’s a bargain and helps me sleep better.

  24. Is taxation armed robbery? I think of it more as harvesting the fields, milking the cows, and slaughtering the steers.

    As Fréderick Bastiat said, “Government is the great fiction by which everyone strives to live at the expense of everyone else.” Everyone plays this game, although certain people, in both “Red” and “Blue” camps, make out a lot better than others.

  25. I do not think that the industrious ought to be required to support the idle.
    Whether the idle be the idle poor, or the idle rich.

  26. I always thought that more money the people had the more they can put into the economy, So less taxes seems like a good thing. I’m neither Democratic or Republican but the idea of smaller government just seems like common sense.

    1. The more money people have, the less proportion of it they spend on goods and services. As for the rest, it depends what you mean by “put into the economy”.

  27. funny how when Bush/Cheney ran up approx. 800 million, that wasn’t a problem. When Bush/Paulsen wanted 700 million for TARP, no problem then either. But when Democrats used another 800 million to stave off the biggest recession since the 1930’s, all of a sudden, that is a problem.
    Part of the reason Bush/Cheney ran up 800 million, it that their rich friends had their taxes cut. Hard to run a government without income……..

    1. You know, people say that a lot. I think what happened is, you have a whole generation of people my age, who didn’t care/didn’t know enough about politics when Bush was in office (middle- through high-school), but now that they have seen the end of his presidency and the beginning of Obama’s, NOW they’re mad. I never voted for or against Bush (the second time was my own fault, but hey, we all have regrets), but that certainly doesn’t mean that I voted for Obama.

      Of course, I have no numbers to back up my theory, so take it as you will.

  28. All this same old Red vs. Blue crap. Tom the Dancing Bug is admittedly less vitriolic than normal here, but nevertheless these arguments can very easily lose their rationality and go tribal.

    One of the best things the American political system could do in our lifetimes would be to literally introduce a third party. All democracies which have them have an easier time remembering that the political parties have to ultimately work together for the common good, regardless of their beliefs or political jockeying.

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