Patterico's Pontifications


Mark Levin on Why Trump Is the Worst Candidate Ever

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:07 pm

Regular readers know I am no fan of Mark Levin — mainly because he engaged in an attack campaign against me that included several falsehoods and a generally juvenile tone. However, he can be an effective communicator when he sticks to the facts, and that’s what he does in this well-organized and effective rant about Donald Trump.

Highlights include Trump’s donations to cretins like Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton; his statements that Bush was evil and should have been impeached; his praise for Obama as someone with a chance to be thought of as one of the best presidents in history; and his support for universal health care.

It’s almost unbelievable that Levin would find this worth his time, but I guess when a poll (granted, one from PPP) puts Trump 9 points ahead of every other Republican candidate — and when he’s threatening to be a spoiler a la Ross Perot — you gotta take him out. Levin does so with facts — mainly by playing one clip of Trump after another.

No self-respecting Republican could possibly listen to this and continue to support Trump.

How Much Do Conservatives Want to Reduce Spending? This Much

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:20 am

So much that they would be willing to accept small tax increases to get it done.

The commentariat here is very conservative. We have a group that hates tax increases, supported the Bush tax cuts, and fought the effort to let them expire.

And yet, when I put up a poll that asked whether people would prefer the status quo, or a scenario where we combined Paul Ryan-level tax cuts with tax increases taking us back to Clinton-era levels, an overwhelming majority rejected the status quo in favor of the latter.

Now, I stacked the deck with that example. The cuts proposed by Paul Ryan are not nicks, like the relatively small cuts that occupied the recent budget discussions in Congress. They are serious cuts that would go a long way towards reforming entitlements. And the tax increases we’re talking about are, let’s be honest, relatively small. I deliberately gave a skewed example because I believed that the readers here would be so opposed to tax cuts that they would reject them no matter how skewed the example might be.

But to my great surprise, after about 800 votes we have 88% percent of the voters here choosing small tax increases and large budget cuts over the status quo. Those percentages were constant over the life of the poll. From the time we had only 20 votes, there was never a smaller than 86% level of support for an alternative to the status quo.

Now, there are some caveats here. First, those numbers would change if you replaced the Ryan cuts with smaller ones, or if you proposed a more draconian set of tax increases. Second, I made it an explicit stipulation in the poll that the tax increases would be tied to the spending cuts — and that any repeal of the spending cuts would automagically mean a repeal of the tax increases. That would be tough legislation to craft, and any future Congress could re-enact the tax increases without the cuts. Republicans have an eternal suspicion that spending cuts are short-lived, while tax increases are forever. Third, I stipulated in the poll that we could not get the spending cuts without the tax increases. That may or may not be true, politically. So the poll, to put it mildly, does not necessarily reflect a real-world scenario.

So don’t get the idea that Republicans don’t really care about tax increases. That would be the wrong lesson to learn from these results.

The right lesson is this: conservatives are absolutely fed up with the status quo. They are desperate for real budget reform. And they are so thirsty for a change that, contrary to conventional wisdom, they would even accept some mild tax increases — if they had to do so to accomplish the goal of saving our children’s future.

UPDATE: I initially said “Republicans are absolutely fed up with the status quo.” We can’t really call that a “slip of the keyboard” — so just call it a brain freeze. Stashiu points out in comments that it is conservatives who are fed up, not “Republicans” — hence, the Tea Party. I have rewritten the sentence (and the headline) to make it conform with reality.

Controlling the Narrative on the Budget

Filed under: Budget,General — Patterico @ 10:44 am

One of the most important points of Andrew Breitbart’s new book is that conservatives can use New Media to fight Big Media’s narrative — and to reshape it according to the truth.

Currently, nothing is more important than fighting the left’s phony and oft-repeated falsehoods about the budget and the deficit. For example, one of the points I have been making lately is that higher taxes on the rich cannot possibly balance the budget no matter how confiscatory they are. You could return to 2000 levels for incomes over $200,000, raise the top rate to 50% for those making $500,000, 60% for those making over $5 million, and a sky-high 70% for those making over $10 million, and you know what you would raise? An extra $133 billion per year, in a budget whose deficits are more than 10 times that amount.

Another point we need to fight is the ridiculous assumption that ObamaCare will reduce the deficit. I saw that particular falsehood raise its ugly head twice in the past 24 hours: once in Obama’s remarks to donors (featured in a post by Lee Stranahan), and again in a piece linked by one of the trolls here, suggesting that we can fix the deficit by doing nothing (!) — thanks to the fabulous savings afforded by ObamaCare!

They are going to keep repeating the lie. So we need to keep rebutting it.

There are a million ways to rebut this, with links a-plenty and walls of text. Obama’s own deficit commission (.pdf) says CBO projections of ObamaCare’s savings “count on large phantom savings” that will never occur. The administration double-counts savings, using the same $500 billion to save Medicare and to pay for the plan. And so on.

But the most entertaining and succinct rebuttal to that idea is this short video by Nick Gillespie:

The basic point Nick makes is that the alleged savings depend on budget gimmickry — such as treating “reform” as independent from huge annual health care expenditures that recur every year, and eliminating those expenditures from the analysis.

It’s wearying, having to constantly rebut lies. But as long as they keep telling them, we have to keep responding.

Look at it this way: thanks to the Internet, we can. Back in the day, we just had to sit there and watch the narrative be shaped by liars, and say nothing.

The new way is much better.

UPDATE: An entertaining “Obama then and now” video — this one on Mediscaring seniors.

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