I Can’t Help Myself

Sullivan:

I don’t want to – and haven’t dismissed – the real flaws in Paul Ryan’s proposal for cutting the debt. In fact, I agree with readers who want much more tax revenue in the plan, and oppose any more tax cuts in the current fiscal climate and find the gutting of all discretionary spending the dumbest form of budget balancing.

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.

*** Update ***

The pain continues at cognitive dissonance central:

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.

Of course this won’t end our “looming fiscal crisis.” Neither will the “Path to Prosperity,” and doing nothing, however, is still light years better than the Ryan plan you have been fluffing all week. That was the point of this post.

Cripes, it really is pointless. I’ll just have to wait a week or two until more people like Bruce Bartlett and other people he respects are able to slow-walk Andrew back from this ridiculous notion that the GOP/Ryan plan is serious.

131 replies
  1. 1
    Joe Beese says:

    The line to kick Mr. Cole’s junk forms that way.

  2. 2
    Skepticat says:

    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?

    Yes.

  3. 3
    Svensker says:

    Can his ideology really be blinding him to this extent?

    Ryan himself said it was a cause, not a budget.

    The true believers don’t really care that much about the deficit, what they want is a Galtian paradise, where poor people get only what they deserve. The “budget” crap is just to rope in the dopes.

  4. 4

    Yes. Now Jane with the weather!

    Sully still hopes Ryan will be the GOP Daddy that will lure him back to the fold, all the ugly times forgiven and forgotten. This Poor’s Law inspired budget plan warms the cockles of his Tory heart.

  5. 5
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I guess my question is answered.

  6. 6
    jibeaux says:

    You know, there *are* other asshats out there besides Sullivan….

  7. 7
    Steven says:

    Andrew also seems very concerned that Democrats not exploit the badness of Ryan’s plan for, you know, politics.

  8. 8
    Pancake says:

    Your numbers on the impact of tax changes are totally wrong. Letting the so-called Bush tax cuts lapse for the high earners would barely dent the deficit (about $700 Billion over the decade), with all the real money coming only if you also eliminate the cuts for the middle class (a nearly $3 Billion impact).

  9. 9
    Julia Grey says:

    Can his ideology really be blinding him to this extent?

    Yes. Or he doesn’t just LOOK like an innumerate clown. Because those are the only two explanations.

    Innumerate clown or uncaring ideologue?

    Stupid or evil?

    I know what I’d prefer to think…I wonder what HE prefers.

  10. 10
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    Dude, look at the pic…its teh sexy time for Sully.
    Black Irish blue-eyed hunk.
    Look at the conservative elites on offer–Handsome Mormon Guy, Marco Rubio and John Thune are as sexless as Ken dolls, chris christie and haley barbor look like Boss Hog, Daniels looks like a gnome and is about the same height, Pawlenty and Huckabee look like child molesting evangelical snake-oil ministers.

    If Palin was XY Sully would totally dig her.

  11. 11
    cathyx says:

    Obviously Sullivan likes the tax cuts and doesn’t want to stop them.

  12. 12
    Rosalita says:

    Bend over John….or would you prefer the kick from the front?

  13. 13
    Noonan says:

    I’m eagerly awaiting the very serious Kucinich budget that balances the debt by doing away with the Army. Sure, like Medicare, the Army enjoys popular support. But funding popular government programs isn’t nearly as important as holding somber press conferences peppered with excellent PR slogans.

    No Army vs. No Medicare. Let the serious conversation begin!

  14. 14
    joe says:

    why can’t i read your blog without a big old ad for BP getting in the way of the text?

  15. 15
    maye says:

    Lance Mannion addresses Sully, et. al.:

    http://lancemannion.typepad.com/

  16. 16
    jibeaux says:

    @Pancake:

    Did you read the words in all caps that said “the tax cuts we just extended will expire”?

  17. 17
    David in NY says:

    Letting the so-called Bush tax cuts lapse for the high earners would barely dent the deficit (about $700 Billion over the decade), with all the real money coming only if you also eliminate the cuts for the middle class (a nearly $3 Billion impact).

    Had you just said, “I’ll take Can’t Add! for $100, Alex”?

  18. 18
    bkny says:

    yes.

  19. 19
    p.a. says:

    or, “I wish I knew how to quit you”? ;-)

  20. 20
    John Cole says:

    @Pancake: I think you meant 3 trillion, but I want the tax cuts for EVERYONE to expire.

  21. 21
    bemused says:

    It’s very painful, increasingly too painful, to know this much about the inner workings of Sullivan’s mind.

  22. 22

    So Sully agrees that Ryan’s plan is “the dumbest form of budget balancing” but also thinks it represents a brave, principled attempt to Be Serious about the Looming Fiscal Crisis. So, um, does that mean Ryan’s plan is seriously dumb? Bravely idiotic? Stupidly serious? This bullshit makes about as much sense as Ryan’s “we’re gutting Medicare and putting those savings back into Medicare!” bullshit.

  23. 23
    cleek says:

    i like how he acts as if people weren’t talking about this stuff before Ryan. as if, for the last 2 years the GOP has been ignoring the deficit.

  24. 24
    Jay in Oregon says:

    John,

    You can’t help Andrew. He has to want to change.

    Let him go.

  25. 25
    les says:

    @Steven:

    This too–the notion that there will be a political response to a proudly ideological manifesto has raised Andy’s very hackles.

    And this is allegedly the responsible face of conservatism. I ask ya.

  26. 26
    Jeff says:

    The double standard, as nearly everyone has been pointing out, is excruciating. Something that has literally no chance of becoming law is not a serious proposal. Bernie Sanders could go home tonight and scribble something on a napkin that calls for cutting the defense budget to $150B and enacting a carbon tax. It would have as much chance of becoming law as this does, but would have the virtue of actually being good policy.

    Sullivan would dismiss it off the bat as an unserious proposal.

  27. 27
    PurpleGirl says:

    Sullivan is British, isn’t he? He could think that if we go to complete hell and he loses his health care here, he always has NHS as a backup. (Of course, he’s not watching what his Thatcherite buddies back home have on tap.)

  28. 28
    GregB says:

    I’m very disappointed in you John. I came here because I thought you were serious./

  29. 29
    JeffH says:

    he looks like a complete innumerate clown?

    Um, “looks like” is the wrong choice of words. He is completely innumerate and it’s been obvious all the way back to the Bell Curve fiasco.

  30. 30
    Breezeblock says:

    I approve of this post. But next time, more ‘fuck’, ‘shit’ and ‘goddammed fucking criminal republicans and their capos in the media’, please.

    Oh, and more “caps lock” please. Not being sarcastic either.

  31. 31
    Hesiod says:

    Sullivan still identifies with the Thatcherite conservative movement and Tory party in Great Britain. But, its obvious he’s slowly moving further and further away from all things Conservative.

    He long ago disowned their social policy. And, more recently, he’s disowned and become downright an enemy toward neocon foreign policy and defense spending hypocrisy.

    He’s also become an enemy toward their civil liberties positions.

    Despite all of that, he still clinged to the idea that, at least on economics and bdget policy, that he could still be a conservative. But, frankly, we have known all along that conservative economic and fiscal policy is no less fucked up or destructive than their foreign, civil liberties or social policies.

    The Paul Ryan budget — along with the massive stupidity of David Cameron’s austerity budget — are proving that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    I think we should cut Sully a little bit of slack here because I think he’s slowly evoling into a full-fledged liberal, and he’s very resistant to it. It’s a hard journey to make for some people. Realizing that your entire identity and ideology are 100% grade A bullshit is a hard pill to swallow.

    Baby steps.

  32. 32
    seabe says:

    I wrote him an email, but he didn’t publish it:

    Not sure if you’ll read this one, or post it, but here’s my response as someone who is center to center-left in the Swedish context, but “hard-left” in the American sense:

    The Bowles-Simpson recommendations are a non-starter for me — unlike the Democratic party, I do not start a compromise around what I’ll be willing to accept — and even though some of them are great recommendations, they’re setting it up on conservative terms. It’s negotiation between the center-right, and far-right.

    I see no liberal ideas for raising revenue, and they don’t even recommend something as simple as a VAT, which isn’t liberal by any means. There’s no carbon tax recommendation; no speculation tax to reign in Wall Street’s greed and recklessness. And that’s just on what they didn’t include. The revenue side is completely favored towards the wealthy, given that deductions are so easy to put back. I would like to see the homeowner deduction phased out, though. That was a good recommendation. It will never happen. Then again, I favor a tax code with zero deductions.

    For income taxes, the exemption threshold should be set to the second quintile income for the previous year. That would mean that the 20% of families with the lowest incomes would be excluded from income tax liability. And the EITC should kick in on the lowest quintile as well and support that income. In addition, the alternative minimum tax threshold should be set to the boundary value of the top 1 percentile of family incomes. So instead of setting it to, say $250K, it would float from year to year. The tax liability for the alternative minimum tax should be a flat tax on income (without deductions) at the rate for that boundary value. And overall tax brackets should be indexed to percentile boundaries as well, the lowest twenty being 0%.Once the brackets are set, they float with the incomes of the previous year.

    And the rates should be progressive, the rates determined by 50% of the amount required for balancing the previous year’s federal budget including debt service (corporate taxes calculated to provide the other 50%).

    The defense cuts are breathtakingly small, and a large chunk of them fall on veteran’s benefits and health care, and civilian pay. What about the corporate welfare? Again, this is totally framed on terms between the center-right and the far-right.

    On SS, the simplest and easiest way to make it pay full benefits forever, as it can pay full benefits for another 27 years using conservative estimates, is to index the highest threshold that can be taxed.

    That’s just Simpson-Bowles. You’re asking for the “hard-left’s response” to Ryan and his Medicare gambit? Do you not even listen to our criticisms of Obama and the Democrats? We didn’t want “Obamacare,” we wanted single-payer; we wanted reimportation of drugs; we wanted to get rid of the necessity of private insurance (although if you want to purchase supplemental, as they do in France, be my guest). Ryan’s plan does NOTHING to slow down the cost of health care, it just shifts the debt from the government onto private citizens. Have you not seen the amount of debt citizens already shoulder, especially when compared with Europe? Kids like me — I am 22 — are straddled with debt right out of college. I went to an in-state school that’s very affordable, and even still I am in $50,000 worth of debt (just in principle, when you factor in interest I could be up to $90,000 when it’s all paid off). My comrades in Europe, from Germany to Sweden, do not shoulder this amount of debt right after their education. They also don’t have to shoulder immense health care costs. It’s beyond ridiculous to accept Ryan’s solution of pushing more debt onto private citizens when we’re already barely treading water as it is.

    Moreover, you want a “shared sacrifice” when the poor and most of the middle class had nothing to do with these problems in the first place — other than elect miserable politicians who spent their money on wars and tax cuts. The poor should shoulder NONE of the sacrifice. This economy is in the shape that it’s in because of the rich; they should take on the responsibility alone. Ending their corporate welfare isn’t even beginning to make them sacrifice, and Ryan’s budget does nothing but increase taxes on poor people and give the rich more of a break. That’s not “seriousness,” that’s ideological religion — another word for describing our Randian Overlords.

    Lastly, Jan Schakowsky gave a plan, and there are plenty of other plans out there already; who gives a damn if none of them will be passed? Ryan’s plan isn’t serious, and it’s nothing new: all it’s designed to do is to strike a compromise between the extreme far-right, and the middle of the GOP. Now if Obama offers a far-left agenda — and my proposals are not “far-left” — and if there’s a compromise between that far-left agenda and Ryan’s extreme-far-right agenda…fine.

  33. 33
    piratedan says:

    bravery? Bravery would be proposing this debacle of a “cause” out in the street in front of a VA Hospital without body armor. If Ryan wants to be brave, he can go run through the streets of Compton shouting “Nigger, Nigger, Nigger!”. Just a note to the definition, bravery doesn’t exclude stupidity.

  34. 34
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    So Sully likes the plan, except for everything in it. Does he not see how silly that makes him? Why am I not shocked to know that the answer is no.

  35. 35
    kindness says:

    I’ve stopped reading Sully. I get enough of him by reading the mocking here and a few other sites. Sadly, Sully went off the rails after his return from his illness and hasn’t found his way back to reason & logic. No, now he’s just another fanboi.

  36. 36
    Sly says:

    Is he really this easily fooled into what constitutes “courage” and “bravery?”

    There is a reason why some policy proposals are called “political suicide.” Sullivan and Co. simply don’t know what that reason is, so they’ll label anything that upsets people and risks political ruination to the proponent as “courageous.”

    Basically, Ryan has the balls to go public with the policies that the reptilian parts of their brains long for, but which their intelligence tells them would rightly invite scorn and contempt. That’s why he’s brave. And by that same token, the first politician who openly suggests we can hold down health care costs by euthanizing people with cancer upon positive biopsy results will be the bravest person to ever hold and/or seek public office, but only to people who secretly think thats a good idea and rightly resist the urge to say it publicly.

    @Steven:

    Andrew also seems very concerned that Democrats not exploit the badness of Ryan’s plan for, you know, politics.

    Heaven forbid politicians engage in political calculus.

    Forget everything else I said: Sullivan is just dumb.

  37. 37
    Sloegin says:

    Going back to Clinton tax rates would only be a first step, we still have 3 wars/occupations/kinetic diplomacies/ wotevahthefuck you want to call em to pay for that we didn’t have during the Clinton era.

    Gimme some greatest generation tax rates to go along with all that greatest generation adulation.

  38. 38
    kdaug says:

    On the upside, you had two non-Sully posts in a row.

    One time, a couple years ago, Sully wrote that class is to the English what race is to Americans.

    Sully is an upper-class Brit: first-class Oxford, lives in DC, takes a month’s vacation in Provincetown each August, et al.

    I suspect he has as much difficulty empathizing with middle-income Americans as most Americans do empathizing with illegal farm workers.

    I think it’s a cultural mindset.

  39. 39
    Zifnab says:

    Letting the so-called Bush tax cuts lapse for the high earners would barely dent the deficit (about $700 Billion over the decade)

    I don’t know if I’d poo-poo $70 billion / year. That’s the amount Republicans are trying to cut as we speak, after all.

  40. 40
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    I Can’t Help Myself

    Uh oh. You’ve gone brokeback Sully.

  41. 41
    Hesiod says:

    A serious response to our budget and economic problems would involve the following:

    1. Get fuck out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and dramatically cut defense spending.

    2. Restore the same tax rates that were in existence during Clinton’s 8 years in office.

    3. Pass a serious federal gasoline tax to help pay for infrastructure repairs and to spur alternative fuel vehicle sales.

    4. Get rid of medicare and medicaid — and pass a single payer health insurance system, and then pummel Doctors, hospitals, Big Pharma, etc with demands to slash health care costs.

    5. Increase the income cutoff subject to social security taxation to $200,000.

    6. Eliminate and defund the Department of homeland security.

    7. Pass a law that automatically resets all outstanding mortgages to their current fair market value on single family principle residences purchased prior to January 1, 2006 where there are no delinquent or missed payments for the past 24 months.

    8. Allow bankruptcy courts to reset mortgages as part of the bankruptcy procedure.

    9. Change the law to allow people to wipe out credit card debt in bankruptcy.

    10. Make all business tax cuts contingent — over the next 2 years — on any business claiming the deduction or credit certifying that they have increased their number of employees by at least 5% over the past year.

  42. 42
    cleek says:

    @Steven:

    Andrew also seems very concerned that Democrats not exploit the badness of Ryan’s plan for, you know, politics.

    yup.

    note to Sully: politics is what politicians do. if you want to live in a country where things are soberly decided by people who do not have to worry about messy and ugly electoral concerns, there are a number of monarchies out there which might suit you better.

  43. 43
    dadanarchist says:

    I wrote Sully more than 2 hours ago with the congressional progressive caucus’ alternative, and he has yet to acknowledge it as an alternative.

    Of course, the Progressives’ plan soaks the rich but their plan is less unrealistic than Ryan’s.

    So far crickets from Sully.

  44. 44
    Sly says:

    @kdaug:

    I think it’s a cultural mindset.

    It certainly is pathological, but what’s so galling about it is that he is so utterly obtuse about his own pathology.

    I know its easy for a person to become a captive to their experience. But Jesus Christ…. Sullivan and Brooks have elevated the complete lack of self-examination to a high art.

  45. 45
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Of course, the actual solution to any “defict” problem we have is to:

    1. Raise taxes on parasite shitstains like Paul Ryan, Andrew Sullivan, and most especially, David Brooks

    2. Stop pissing away treasure on killing brown people in Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

    These are of course the two things that Ryan refuses to even entertain, which is why his proposal is bullshit.

  46. 46
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Of course, the actual solution to any “defict” problem we have is to:

    1. Raise taxes on parasite shitstains like Paul Ryan, Andrew Sullivan, and most especially, David Brooks

    2. Stop pissing away treasure on killing brown people in Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

    These are of course the two things that Ryan refuses to even entertain, which is why his proposal is bullshit.

  47. 47
    eemom says:

    I can’t help myself
    I want Sully and nobody else
    Sugar pie honey bunch…

    I do believe it has reached the level of pathology at this point.

  48. 48
    RSR says:

    The only reason to support this plan is if you want medicare to end. There is absolutely no other effect of the plan other than that–and it’s plainly obvious. Any concept of deficit reduction is magical unicorns.

    Now if someone wants to argue whether or not to end medicare, replace it with something else, or just let people get vouchers, they should just step up and argue the merits of their plan, not hide behind pretend deficit reduction that no one really cares about anyway.

    And of course this horrible pretend plan will be the gateway to some slightly less-horrible catfood commission compromise.

  49. 49
    sixers says:

    Sullivans increasing amount of caveats and explanations for his initial support for Ryans plan looks to me like he realized he stepped in it before really looking into what he was championing.

    Cole despite being an idiot steelers fan is right to point out that putting out a dumb plan that will never ever work is not the same thing as putting a serious offer on the table that demands a plan in response from the democrats.

  50. 50
    James Hare says:

    He’s got a soft spot for GOP daddies who talk big about making other people hurt. Don’t know why. Hell, he was advocating for “cruelty” as a policy outcome yesterday. I thought we even protected criminals from cruelty at the hands of government.

  51. 51
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Hesiod:

    Every one of those proposals is shrill socia1ism.

    You must hate America.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    Guster says:

    @Hesiod: I need a cigarette.

  54. 54
    danimal says:

    @cleek: “I like how he acts as if people weren’t talking about this stuff before Ryan. as if, for the last 210 years the GOP has been ignoring the deficit.

    FTFY.

    Assclowns like Sully got us in this mess by supporting the Bush tax theft. He wasn’t serious then about debts and deficits then, that’s for sure.

    ETA: FYWP

  55. 55
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @kdaug:

    Sully imagines himself an “upper class” Brit, but there’s a reason why he’s on this side of the pond, not on the other side.

    He’s an orthogonian in that he aspired to upper class status in Britain but there’s no way he’d ever be allowed to join. It’s not because he’s gay, but because he’s Irish, and Catholic. There are some lower life forms that the Oxbridge types simply will not tolerate. A slumdog millionaire has a better chance of breaking into the circle of the upper class twits than the vile likes of Andrew Sullivan.

  56. 56
    MoZeu says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: I was contemplating going there, but you already did, so now I don’t have to.

  57. 57
    HyperIon says:

    JC wrote:

    My god, this is painful to watch.

    Quite a bit more painful to live.

  58. 58
    "Serious" Superluminar says:

    John Cole, you should stop encouraging this mass debate over Sully.

  59. 59
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    HERE IS WHAT REALLY MATTERS, OF COURSE:

    Sully has landed himself another gig on tomorrow night’s edition of Bill Maher’s REAL TIME.

    My current theory being that Sully knows exactly what he is doing with all this moronic bloviating: Maneuvering himself into media gigs. He is, after all, a completely self absorbed asshole; I doubt he writes anything without considering its implications for the Dish “brand.”

    P.S. Maher: another complete sellout. Look at a rundown of his past guest list sometime. He has invited and tossed softballs with the worst media whores and government monsters and called it all good.

  60. 60
    Jennifer says:

    I opined on this topic yesterday over at my joint (and here as well)…remember the talking point: FDR gave us the New Deal; the Republicans want to replace it with a Raw Deal.

  61. 61
    Thomas says:

    Sullivan simply dismisses Krugman with the wave of a hand… referring to him as Kthug without actually addressing the content of Krugman’s point.

    Sullivan is a bottom bitch, and he loves it when somebody takes control and acts “bold”, even if it’s totally stupid policy. He wants a daddy to take control and make him feel safe.

    Then he worships the magical “center” where all great politics is supposed to live. Whether something is true or not, or good policy or not, doesn’t matter to Sullivan as long as it exists in his perceived ideal of “centrism”.

    I miss sullywatch.

  62. 62
    Chris says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    He’s an orthogonian in that he aspired to upper class status in Britain but there’s no way he’d ever be allowed to join. It’s not because he’s gay, but because he’s Irish, and Catholic. There are some lower life forms that the Oxbridge types simply will not tolerate. A slumdog millionaire has a better chance of breaking into the circle of the upper class twits than the vile likes of Andrew Sullivan.

    As I’ve said a day or two ago, I know next to nothing of British politics. But is being Irish-Catholic still such a social killer in the upper classes? I would’ve thought that prejudice would get pushed aside in favor of those against Muslims, Indians and other folks from the ex-colonies… same way the Irish, Italian and Jewish bashing here in America’s mostly been replaced by black and Hispanic bashing.

    Just wondering.

  63. 63
    Oliver says:

    With Mr. Cole’s clarification ( comment #20) that he supports letting ALL Bush-era tax cuts lapse, I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with him.

  64. 64

    […] to the Ryan plan to demonstrate our fiscal seriousity. Well, I have one! It’s the same as Cole’s: The Ryan/GOP Plan, as has been pointed out to Sullivan a hundred times now with little to no […]

  65. 65
    kdaug says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    And rejected outright by the Catholic Church as a gay man.

    He’s a fascinating amalgam, but when he’s wrong, he tends to be really, really wrong.

  66. 66
    Jennifer says:

    Oh, and to add to the suggestions above: Let’s set up some more tax brackets. This “same rate for everyone making over $250K” bullshit is just that…bullshit. We need graduated rates that kick in at $1 million, $5 million, $10 million, or whatever…there’s a vast gulf of difference between a two-earner family in say NYC making $250K and the Koch brothers, who I’m sure don’t take their income as “wages”.

    Which brings me to my next point: stop taxing passive income gained at leisure less than income gained through labor. If we did just that ONE thing, in fact, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have a deficit…might even have enough left over to pay for “socialized” government single-payer health care for all of us.

  67. 67

    One more post in which Sullivan obsesses about Paul Ryan is one fewer post in which Sullivan obsesses about Trig Palin.

    Sully has landed himself another gig on tomorrow night’s edition of Bill Maher’s REAL TIME.

    Hopefully the other guests won’t allow him to shout them down. Naomi Klein did. It was very disappointing.

  68. 68
    Tractarian says:

    Out of today’s Sully nonsense, this is my favorite:

    The key thing is that we’re finally having a real conversation based on the real but nasty choices we have to make sooner rather than later. No more fictions that we can just cut pork or foreign aid and be fine. No more nonsense from the right that no taxes can ever be raised; no more claptrap on the left that we do not face a crippling problem, and that middle class entitlements are sacrosanct. I want some sort of compromise that retains fiscal responsibility. For that to happen one side has to first own their solution. Ryan has now done that – for good or ill.

    Got that? A GOP plan that slashes taxes shows that there will be “no more nonsense from the right that no taxes can ever be raised.” A GOP plan that tiptoes around cutting the benefits of its most potent voting bloc is facing up to “nasty choices.”

    Part of this is the GOP benefitting from the bigotry of low expectations. I mean, before this, Republicans couldn’t produce anything that even looked like a balanced budget – now, they have done so, so who cares if the numbers are completely phony!

    A bigger part of this is, as John suggests, general innumeracy and ignorance as to the level of uncertainty we’re talking about when discussing long-range budget projections. Ryan’s debt-reduction doesn’t occur until decades in the future, and by time, there’s just no way to say where the economy will be. The effect of 30 years of economic booms and crashes will overwhelm whatever Ryan assumes to be the case in his plan. People like Sully don’t realize this; they assume that you can lock in debt-reduction now, even though it’s not scheduled to occur until the George P. Bush administration. You can’t. It’s all dependent on how the economy fares (and, hint hint, laying off thousands of government employees and taking health insurance away from millions isn’t gonna do the economy any favors).

    Bottom line, Sully is a creature of intuition. He intuits that, in order to eliminate the public debt, poor, elderly, and sick people must suffer. Ryan’s plan gives him confirmation. But it’s just not true.

  69. 69
    lllphd says:

    john. dear man. do get a grip.

    if it is so painful to watch, don’t.

    in fact, i think it would do the world a great service to ignore sully. i – and several others here – have taken this route, and so far, all the reports i’m getting are quite positive.

    there is no loss in ignoring sully. it actually brings great relief and sanity, a breath of fresh air, like the spring that comes in the window today, or that first deep breath you’re safely able to take after passing by a dead skunk.

    it is actually just as – if not more – painful to watch you get so agitated about him; he’s clearly clueless, move on. i doubt that i’m speaking alone here in suggesting we could all do without even the slightest reference to sully at all. there truly are more important things to get exercised about.

  70. 70
    chopper says:

    @danimal:

    this. i understand the need to watch sully work; it’s like watching a never-ending film loop of a kid riding his bike into a telephone pole.

    but seriously, there’s no need to listen to the pro-austerity opinions of a guy who supported massive tax cuts and starting two wars.

    just walk away.

  71. 71
    lllphd says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    ooh; tantalizing insight.

  72. 72
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Sullivan really doesn’t do economics. Never has. It just whooshes over his head. But to his minimal credit, he doesn’t pretend to know this stuff, unlike some other bloggers elsewhere. Or Paul Ryan. Or Heritage.

  73. 73
    lllphd says:

    @dadanarchist:

    sully never – NEVER – acknowledged shakowski’s plan. NEVER.

    he can’t, because it requires that he place his moral obligations first, before these damn “math demands it” fiscal responsibilities.

    i swear, these people just get so anal-thrilled at the very thought of a perfect math solution to every damn thing, their pencils veritably sharpen themselves.

  74. 74
    sukabi says:

    Jeezus John, Sully’s been beating the same horse, the exact same way for the last decade or so… to expect him to FINALLY “see the light” is asking a bit much. His bread and butter, ie, being accepted in his self-identified group, as one of the Villagers, is what this man LIVES FOR. He’s demonstrated numerous times that he’ll willingly swallow the “turd of the day”, promote it as caviar and come back the next day for seconds.

    For your own mental health, I suggest you take a step back, take a deep breath, and FINALLY cut Sully out of your life… a man only needs one asshole, and you’ve already got one… you sure don’t need another.

  75. 75
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chris:

    It’s still a requirement, by law, that you can’t rise to the purely ceremonial throne of the United Kingdom if you’ve got a Catholic as a parent.

    Just doesn’t work.

    I think most Brits have moved beyond a lot of the old prejudices. But the crowd Sully wanted to be a part of bear grudges, and attitudes, from the 17th Century.

    So he had to get out of there to be able to social climb.

    He still resents having to do so, of course.

  76. 76
    Judas Escargot says:

    @cathyx:

    Obviously Sullivan likes the tax cuts and doesn’t want to stop them.

    Wasn’t he of the ‘let the Bush tax cuts expire’ camp only a few months ago?

  77. 77
    lllphd says:

    @kindness:

    hm, yeah, that illness thing. i noticed that too, but had kinda forgotten it. i remember writing to him that it seemed to have scared him, and not in a good way. there is something almost panicked about his thinking now, throwing him right in with the rightwingnuts who are so motivated by fear (as per polling, actually).

    not a good motivator, fear; one tends to dig holes for the sake of digging, and then – even if you realize the one you’re in is a shit hole – you just keep digging cuz, well, there you are.

  78. 78
    Binky says:

    I would have no idea who “Andrew Sullivan” is, but for this blog.

  79. 79
    Silver Owl says:

    White conservatives can never ever ever be wrong on anything. They exist therefore everything they do and say is absolutely correct always and forevah. lol

  80. 80
    Paul in KY says:

    @kdaug: I say old bean, that characterization wasn’t exactly cricket. What?

  81. 81
    Sasha says:

    Sullivan correctly realizes that the offering of any radical idea is bold (especially one that addresses his personal bête noir, deficits). What he doesn’t seem to realize is that bold doesn’t necessarily translate into “courageous” — let alone “a good idea”, “worth embracing”, or “serious”.

    Embracing torture as a weapon in the GWOT was a radical and bold idea. Does Sullivan also believe that doing so was a courageous and good decision, that arguments in favor of it should be embraced with only token criticism, or that torture’s champions should be considered serious about fighting terror?

  82. 82
    lllphd says:

    @seabe:

    this is actually quite excellent, and he may eventually publish it. but my suspicion is, he’s just digging himself in deeper, so this would be too much cognitive dissonance. pretty sad.

    thanks for bringing up shakowsky’s plan; needs to get attention. interestingly, it never really saw the light of day, and this piece of ryan crap gets a birthday party. sheez.

    just one request: i’ve taken to referencing the Bowles-Simpson plan, mainly because the initials are so firmly defining: B-S.

  83. 83
    Carnacki says:

    @PurpleGirl: Also Sullivan is also certifiably mad like other Englishmen so he’s not expected to behave rationally. Sully really should be standing on a crate in Hyde Park.

  84. 84
    john b says:

    i’m the sully reader who called the plan “childish drivel” because it is. and then that email gets referred to by sully as “nasty” even though he appears to agree with me on my reasons for calling it crap. it’s almost a point of pride.

  85. 85
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chris: Irish Catholic , yes. There are, however, frightfully aristocratic Catholic families in Britain (think of the Flytes in Brideshead Revisited), but someone named Sullivan is not one of them.

  86. 86
    lllphd says:

    @Hesiod:

    i’ve been speculating this for years, and have fully agreed. but as kindness pointed out here, he seems to have gone off a deep end of sorts since his illness.

    the only hope is that one day he’ll be forced to confront the complete disconnect between his ideological conservative intellect and his christian morals, and either he’ll actually make a deeply sincere mea culpa (i stuck with him for a long time believing this was possible), or his head will explode.

    i honestly don’t know which to predict anymore.

  87. 87
    Juicetard (FKA Liberty60) says:

    @John Cole:

    @Pancake: I think you meant 3 trillion, but I want the tax cuts for EVERYONE to expire.

    If we could do one thing, just one thing to improve America it would be to put forward the idea that sacrifice for our country means PAYING FOR WHAT WE GET.

    I WANT TO PAY MORE MONEY OUT OF MY POCKET TO HELP AMERICA.

    A simple idea, but one that involves actual shared sacrifice, not tossing old sick people into the street.

  88. 88
    AAA Bonds says:

    What the hell sort of endorsement is that? He likes the plan, except for all the tax cuts because he thinks taxes should go up?

    Which does he think Paul Ryan actually gives a shit about? Medicare cuts or tax cuts? Which does he think Ryan wants to see make it into the final bill?

    “Conversation starter” my ass. The only people talking about slashing Medicaid and Medicare are people who would rather see revenues slashed more than anything else, and they will sacrifice EVERYTHING ELSE to drain more revenue from the federal government.

    Medicare and Medicaid cuts are a distraction, and it has worked beautifully on people with short attention spans such as Andrew Sullivan. He just got played.

  89. 89
    lllphd says:

    @Juicetard (FKA Liberty60):

    did you ever see lewis black interviewed on joy behar? he talked sincerely about how eager he was, when he finally made money, to actually pay his taxes. it was a thing of beauty.

    i wish i could recall who i heard the other day refer to what these jackoff ceo’s rakin’ in the dough are doing (expressly, sitting on it without creating jobs) as “economic treason.”

    if the dems ever needed to pick up a soundbite ball and run with it, that would be it.

  90. 90
    Comrade Luke says:

    @Tim, Interrupted:

    Sully has landed himself another gig on tomorrow night’s edition of Bill Maher’s REAL TIME.

    This is EXACTLY what I referred to yesterday.

    John may be right, and everyone here might be happy that he’s right, but Sullivan gets to go on TV and double down on the nonsense, hitting a far larger population in the process.

    I keep reading here that the other side is wrong, and that they’re heading off a cliff, I don’t see how our side is winning.

  91. 91
    Amir_Khalid says:

    @Carnacki: He has a blog — which is, after all, indeed the 21st century equivalent of that crate in Hyde Park.

  92. 92
    Michael says:

    Um, Sully is stupid and mean. So . . . yeah.

  93. 93

    Ah but Patient Less Than Zero LOVES being a clown. That’s part of his uh. . . .charm.

  94. 94
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jennifer:

    We need graduated rates that kick in at $1 million, $5 million, $10 million, or whatever

    Definitely. There’s no reason to have so few brackets… apart from the fact that it helps mega-rich people capitalize on a manufactured solidarity with the less-rich people behind them. We need like a logarithmic scale or something. There are people making ten and a hundred times what other rich people make. A small amount of people with a very large amount of money… wring some more out of those bastards, and if they don’t like it, fuck ’em.

  95. 95

    […] called Paul Ryan’s budget “courageous.”  John Cole at Balloon Juice has been eviscerating Sullivan’s embrace of Ryan’s proposal over the past few days.  Now Sullivan is in […]

  96. 96
    Mark S. says:

    So the goopers are going to shut down the govt because of family planning aid and the environment. Good to know.

  97. 97
    samsa says:

    Sullivan seems to be hung up on the idea of suffering to solve various crises, even if the suffering is inflicted on another group by the proponents of the policies that lead to it. Where does this worshiping of pain come from?

  98. 98
    Arclite says:

    I love Sully’s blog, but I hate it when he gets stuck in ruts like this.

  99. 99
    Joe Vecchio says:

    Apparently Sully is afraid we’ll turn into 70’s England if we don’t deal with “the deficit”. I’ll give him credit for allowing dissent on his site and for at least trying to act like a rational conservative, but he refuses to take that final leap and admit that conservative economics are, and have always been, total disasters.

    He keeps saying that Ryan has “courage” for forcing us to have the discussion in the first place, but I asked him how he would have responded if Nancy Pelosi had proposed a plan to cut the deficit by confiscating all the money from the wealthiest 1% and corporations that pay no taxes, would that be considered “courageous” for opening up a discussion?

  100. 100
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    @john b:

    i’m the sully reader who called the plan “childish drivel” because it is. and then that email gets referred to by sully as “nasty” even though he appears to agree with me on my reasons for calling it crap. it’s almost a point of pride.

    Kudos for you! I saw your email over there on my daily walk of shame to the Daily Douche. What is telling is how thin skinned Sullivan is whenever people react as strongly to him as he does to others. First he labeled your email “nasty,” then implied it was not sane.

    Truly a self absorbed delicate flower of a tiny souled man, he is.

  101. 101
    kc says:

    My god, this is painful to watch.

    Not as painful as watching your excruciatingly slow progression to realizing what a worthless twat he is.

  102. 102
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    @David Ehrenstein:

    Ah but Patient Less Than Zero LOVES being a clown. That’s part of his uh. . . .charm.

    Hi David! LOVE your blog, my man. You make me think and laugh; kind of like cole, but different. :D

    I hate to admit it, but Sullivan was cute back in his early post-twink days. Which is probably what got him the gig at New Republic under Marty Peretz.

  103. 103
    Sanka says:

    Is he simply incapable of absorbing anything that Krugman, Chait, and others point out?

    Laughing. Out. Loud.

    Please Cole. Go back to your loose tea.

  104. 104
    Quiddity says:

    That Sullivan would put more faith in the Heritage Foundation numbers instead of Krugman’s, tells you all you need to know.

    If you’ve read all of his posts on Ryan’s plan, you will see that his first priority is: “Does it cut spending?” If it does, then he’s enthusiastic and pushes off for later any other concerns.

  105. 105

    You are a unintelligent Marxist- if you do nothing other than raise taxes, our nation will continue to drop into debt at a devestating pace and our institutions that we hold so dear will collapse. Even if you tax the top 20% of people in our nation at 100% of their income, the government would still run up over a trillion dollars in debt each year if we do nothing else, meanwhile our social security and medicare funds crash before millions of citizens will ever get a chance to see the money that they earned.

    You and anyone who listens to you are stupid, foolish, ignorant, bad citizens. Wake up! Do some research! Run the numbers! Spending has to be cut, by a lot, and then a lot more after that, or else our nation collapses.

  106. 106
    Tom65 says:

    Sullivan won’t let it go because he’s too vested in the journalistic status quo – namely, “let’s you and him fight”. Admitting that Ryan is anything other than a complete assclown means that he’ll have nothing to talk about on the weekend shows.

  107. 107
    Tractarian says:

    @A Conservative Teacher:

    Um, everything you just said is blatantly, demonstratively wrong.

    I’m sure glad you’re not my kid’s teacher.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @A Conservative Teacher:

    I really, really, really hope you don’t teach math to unsuspecting children, because I don’t even know where to begin with your teeming mass of Fail.

  109. 109
    Arclite says:

    @A Conservative Teacher:

    Even if you tax the top 20% of people in our nation at 100% of their income, the government would still run up over a trillion dollars in debt each year if we do nothing else, meanwhile our social security and medicare funds crash before millions of citizens will ever get a chance to see the money that they earned.

    Source? The income of all US citizens is about $5 trillion, and taxing the top 20% of all their income would bring in $4 trillion (top 20% earn 80% of the income). That easily covers the $3.4 trillion budget from 2010, not even including corporate taxes or anything else.

    I’m not sure where I read this, but I read that letting the Bush tax cuts expire, and adding a modest 3% tax increase to the top 1% of earners, plus removing the $100,000 payroll tax cap fixed 90% of the problem. And this wasn’t some opinion, but backed up with stats and graphs, etc. Prolly saw that on Sully’s blog 6m ago or something. There are revenue changes that need to be factored in well before any talk of cuts occur. And when talks of cuts DO occur, defense cuts need to come first. There’s no reason why we need to be the goddamn world police men, have soldiers in Germany, or 10 functioning carrier battle groups. It is not necessary for the defense of the USA.

  110. 110
    Zen Koan says:

    @Tractarian:

    I think you meant DEMONSTRABLY wrong, as in easily demonstrated to be incorrect.

    But it was also demonstratively wrong, as in wrong and very loud in drawing attention to its wrongness.

  111. 111
    Tractarian says:

    @Zen Koan:

    My use of the word “demonstratively” was demonstrably wrong.

  112. 112
    David says:

    Conservative Teacher is one of my favorite new trolls, I’ve seen that handle spouting obvious conservative gibberish several places now. It’s fun to laugh at how wrong “ConservativeClueless Teacher” can be in such a short amount of time.

  113. 113
    rebopine says:

    You’re missing something here. I disagree with Andrew on a lot of things, especially his reax to the Ryan plan, but I respect his opinion and have read everything he’s posted on the subject, here’s what you missed by (it appears) reading selectively:

    He’s looking for a “serious” rebuttal from the leading Democrats (both in congress and media) and he’s got nothing. Even this very blog is using space to trash his opinion vs. providing real options.

    Look, I’m disgusted by this plan, nearly every part is despicable and frankly, un-American. So, show me what you’ve got instead of just bashing it. Because bashing the plan to score political points, as Andrew astutely points out, does NOT solve problems.

  114. 114

    Okay, just dismiss reality, I guess that’s why you vote Democrat. Look, I wave my hand and throw around insults, that way I don’t want have to actually balance a budget, protect life and liberty, and actually make tough decisions. Vote for Rainbows, sure, puppy dog tails will save us from a crashing system. China and Middle Eastern dictators will indefinitely loan us money without ever using it as leverage on us. Green energy will cause gas prices to go lower! One time stimulus won’t be permenant spending increases that keep unemployment always over 8%!

  115. 115
    cokane says:

    I think sullivan doesn’t even understand why we have revenue shortages right now.

    The Ryan plan claims that it will cut unemployment to 4% by 2015. That is insane. 4% is what you got at the height of the economic boom in the 90’s. To think that we’d be hitting the apex of a boom by 2015 only a few years after one of the worst banking crises in our history is just laughably insane. But what people like Sullivan fail to see is that this affects revenue. It’s not just tax rates, but also the number of taxpayers. Ryan’s plan is investing heavily in the idea of an economic boom, and if that boom fails to come, we will probably be more in debt than if we did nothing.

  116. 116
    Bill (aka 10amla) says:

    @ A Conservative Teacher

    Here’s a simple question: How did we get Here?

    Ten years ago we had a budget surpluss and projections showing that the debt would be paid off in a few years from now. BTW 9-11 isn’t the answer.

  117. 117
    LT says:

    I know it’s petty, but I cannot tell you how fucking much enjoyment I get from seeing you so thoroughly crush that way-too-smart-to-be-this-fucking-dumb prick. God.

    And the fucking “Moore Award.” Jesus. What unbelievably shortsighted, un-self-aware, embarrassing shit.

  118. 118
    LT says:

    I know it’s petty, but I cannot tell you how fucking much enjoyment I get from seeing you so thoroughly crush that way-too-smart-to-be-this-fucking-dumb prick. God.

    And the fucking “Moore Award.” Jesus. What unbelievably shortsighted, un-self-aware, embarrassing shit.

    And reading him since you’ve started this: It’s like he’s responding to you, with drooling defensiveness, without being able to acknowledge it. Hilarious.

  119. 119
    sherparick says:

    It is the same kind of pseudo-contrarianism that has worked for Andrew Sullivan and Joe Scarbrough. It has made both of them “made men,” individuals who are well taken care of by the American Oligarchy. Neither they or there families should have to worry about financial matters for the rest of their life. They practice careerism and call it courage.

  120. 120
    Quiddity says:

    In Sullivan’s rejoinder, please note that he does not engage in the math. As far as the “lower tax rates” that Sullivan applauds, he says that’s okay because it’s paired with “eliminating tax loopholes, shelters and gimmicks”. Hey, maybe those “tax loopholes, shelters and gimmicks” shouldn’t be there in the first place, with the current rates reflecting a fair tax schedule.

  121. 121
    leo says:

    Sorry if I’m late to the party but this is an excellent post.

  122. 122
    LosGatosCA says:

    Andrew Sullivan is an ass who randomly posts things that apparently sound coherent to others, why they sound coherent to others I have no idea.

    I have too many real problems to deal with – the conflicted gay Catholic authoritarian tax cutting zealot on the forefront of administering loyalty oaths to those of us without British accents shtick wore out sometime around Clinton’s impeachment.

    But if it amuses you John, keep tilting at that windmill.

  123. 123
    christian says:

    And when will anybody call Bill Maher out about Huffington’s flip-flop back to corporatist? Sullivan and Maher represent the oligarchy fer sure now.

    And yes, Sullivan clearly has a Daddy fixation, always looking for a hero to save him. Yet others must suffer.

  124. 124
    Kane says:

    Readers can share their comments on any of the offerings at the Daily Beast with exception of Sully’s Daily Dish. That in itself speaks volumes. Never trust a blogger who doesn’t allow a free flow of opinions.

  125. 125
    Kane says:

    Sully is a card-carrying member of the Ownership Society or what used to be called Social Darwinism. The notion that every man, woman and child is out for him or herself and that you’re simply on your own.

  126. 126
    Jay Schiavone says:

    It is particularly magical thinking to believe that loopholes can be removed. While the the notion of the budget plan proffered by Ryan has broad support among the “serious” members of the DC establishment, each loophole is represented by a well-funded special interest. That is to say, the establishment will push through a dreadful package of additional tax cuts for the most wealthy at the expense of the social safety net. But the loopholes will be fought for piecemeal by the individuals who stand to benefit from them. The closing of the loopholes is a fraudulent goal.

  127. 127

    […] he draws on John Cole (Balloon Juice) for a more developed version of the alternative plan. Here is my plan- I AM NOT CUTTING TAXES BY […]

  128. 128
    Ian Preston says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    It’s still a requirement, by law, that you can’t rise to the purely ceremonial throne of the United Kingdom if you’ve got a Catholic as a parent.

    That’s not quite right – you can’t rise to the throne if you convert to Catholicism or marry a Catholic but neither removes your children from the succession provided that they remain in communion with the Church of England. That nonsense is a somewhat embarrassing consequence of the 1701 Act of Settlement, rather like male primogeniture in the same context. Unfortunately it’s also a feature of the crowns of the other 15 Commonwealth realms – Australia, Canada, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, etc – and a consequence of the 1931 Statute of Westminster that it can’t be changed without either gaining the unanimous consent of them all or allowing the successions to diverge. Every few years the UK government suggests it’s looking into changing it and then realises the practicalities would be a huge distraction from things it thinks are more pressing. It doesn’t really have much to do with anti-Catholic prejudice any more.

  129. 129
    Haywood Jablomey says:

    Yep, why that Andrew Sullivan is such a rightwing ideologue that he voted for John Kerry and Barrack Obama!

    What a rightwing zealot – huh?

    8-)

  130. 130

    […] is similar to John’s do-nothing budget, or the do-nothing budgets of Annie Lowrey or David Leonhardt, or my budget. All these budgets have […]

  131. 131
    Dumbledore says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley:

    Hermione, how crushing was it for you to find out Ron’s gay?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] is similar to John’s do-nothing budget, or the do-nothing budgets of Annie Lowrey or David Leonhardt, or my budget. All these budgets have […]

  2. […] he draws on John Cole (Balloon Juice) for a more developed version of the alternative plan. Here is my plan- I AM NOT CUTTING TAXES BY […]

  3. […] called Paul Ryan’s budget “courageous.”  John Cole at Balloon Juice has been eviscerating Sullivan’s embrace of Ryan’s proposal over the past few days.  Now Sullivan is in […]

  4. […] to the Ryan plan to demonstrate our fiscal seriousity. Well, I have one! It’s the same as Cole’s: The Ryan/GOP Plan, as has been pointed out to Sullivan a hundred times now with little to no […]

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