David Stockman is Shrill

Via TPM:

“It doesn’t address in any serious or courageous way the issue of the near and medium-term deficit,” David Stockman told [Brian Beutler] in a Thursday phone interview. “I think the biggest problem is revenues. It is simply unrealistic to say that raising revenue isn’t part of the solution. It’s a measure of how far off the deep end Republicans have gone with this religious catechism about taxes.”

Stockman is still on the wrong side of critical issues — the architect of the Reagan deficits loves him some entitlement pain…


…but, as Beutler reports, he

…breaks faith over taxes and the GOP’s unwillingness to slash defense spending. And he laughs off the notion that the plan will do anything about unemployment, let alone dramatically reduce it, which Ryan and his plan claim it will. “This isn’t 1980. It’s not morning again in America. it’s late afternoon, or possibly even sunset.”

Oh noes! Someone dares to suggest that America may be exceptional only in the self-inflicted wounds that mark its decline.


As soon as I recover from my attack of neurasthenia, I’ll be sure to bestow some appropriately framed certificate of Moore-ishness upon this miscreant’s head.


Image: Alejo Fernández, The Scourging of Christ, before 1543

18 replies
  1. 1
    Sad Iron says:

    This would be a “Sullivan Award” winner for sure.

  2. 2

    This is deeper than Moore Award territory. Stockman is challenging the Grover.

  3. 3
    patrick II says:

    As right wing assholes go, Stockman was always the one who could count.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    dr. bloor says:

    @patrick II: Pfft. Meyer Lanksy to Reagan’s Ben Siegel.

  6. 6
    geg6 says:

    @patrick II:

    Yup. Gotta agree. Remember when Reagan had to take him out to the woodshed?

    Stockman’s power within the Reagan Administration waned after the Atlantic Monthly magazine published the famous 18,246 word article, “The Education of David Stockman”,[4] in its December 1981 issue, based on lengthy interviews Stockman gave to reporter William Greider. It led to Stockman’s being “taken to the woodshed by Reagan” as the White House’s public relations team attempted to limit the article’s damage to Reagan’s perceived fiscal-leadership skills. Stockman was quoted as referring to the Reagan Revolution’s legacy tax act as: “I mean, Kemp-Roth [Reagan’s 1981 tax cut] was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate…. It’s kind of hard to sell ‘trickle down.’ So the supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really ‘trickle down.’ Supply-side is ‘trickle-down’ theory.” Of the budget process in his first year on the job, Mr. Stockman is quoted as saying: “None of us really understands what’s going on with all these numbers,” which was used as the subtitle of the article.


    Poor David. Always telling the truth behind the curtain.

  7. 7
    "Serious" Superluminar says:

    It is simply unrealistic to say that raising revenue isn’t part of the solution.

    Exactly. Everyone proposing drastically slashing spending should be asked why they don’t want taxes to go up too, in order to close the deficit. Force them to admit they don’t actually like popular programs, or accuse them of “unseriousness” on the deficit, best chance for a winner here.

    Good post, brilliant art as always.

  8. 8
    Elizabelle says:

    It will be interesting to see if Stockman’s views get a wide airing.

    If we had a functional media, that wasn’t mistaken for “partisans” right and left, but respected, we could expect to see this widely and factually reported.

  9. 9
    Ronc99 says:

    Why are we dissing Stockman about entitlement “pain” when it is Obama who is negotiating way the best thing the Democratic party has ever done for this nation: entitlements.

    Entitlements didn’t cause our debt or deficits. Never-ending, unfunded wars, an unaudited Federal Reserve, Pentagon and 1000s of intelligence agencies combined with massive tax cuts to the rich and corporations, has caused this disaster. To which, Obama has joined the Republicans in that awful direction. This nation needed a JOBS program to get Americans back to work with the funds to back it up, not some catfood commission full of corporatists out to destroy the middle class and poor for the benefit of the richest.

    So to complain about others, including Republicans, is hypocritical my friends. Obama is on their *same* page. The public record reflects as much!!!

  10. 10
    JGabriel says:


    It will be interesting to see if Stockman’s views get a wide airing.

    Probably not. I think Stockman is widely perceived as having “gone over to the other side” and is now too shrill to take seriously by the media.


  11. 11
    Elizabelle says:


    In a normal society, someone who had gone over to the other side would deserve an especially good, serious (!) look — more than someone who never, ever changes one’s tunes.

    The disappointed formerly loyal are often where you find a measure of truth. Ignore them at your peril.

    This applies to Obama.

    And to John Cole.

    And to Stockman, Bruce Bartlett, John Delulio (sp?) many others …

  12. 12
    Bruce S says:

    Stockman has been clear on this for quite a while – on the larger issue he wrote back in July of ’10 in the NYTs:

    “This debt explosion has resulted not from big spending by the Democrats, but instead the Republican Party’s embrace, about three decades ago, of the insidious doctrine that deficits don’t matter if they result from tax cuts.”

    It seems that “authentic” conservatives like Stockman and Bartlett are clearer on the concept than most Dems, who don’t kick this back in the rancid GOPers face every time the deficit hysterics are used as a club to kill or hold hostage one or another of our puppies.

  13. 13
    JGabriel says:


    In a normal society …

    Heh. A-heh. Bahahahaha!

    I mean, I agree with you 100%. But, obviously we no longer live in anything approaching a normal or sane society, to the point where even positing otherwise seems hilariously ironic. This is a country where Paul Ryan is taken seriously and Paul Krugman is called shrill.


  14. 14
    El Cid says:

    In today’s establishment discussions of budget deficits, there simply is no such thing as revenue when it’s time to talk of balancing.

    When revenue is momentarily brought in, something which is really distasteful and hateful and unsophisticated to do, it has to be immediately dismissed as (a) a silly notion that we can ‘tax our way out of debt’, which is by fiat impossible; (b) a personal need to hurt our poor, rich, economy-supporting rich people; and (c) a lack of realizing that it’s fundamentally evil to generate revenue for the government, because government is evil, and revenue is theft.

  15. 15
    Gian says:

    Strikes me that Logans Run, slightly modified to include a net worth test to live past 30 would be an ideal serious solution. It would fix unemployment if everyone not worth a couple million by age 30 was killed off. Would also eliminate social security and medicare.

  16. 16
    Mnemosyne says:


    Yes, why blame the drunk driver who ran head-on into your brother’s car when you can blame your brother for not driving more carefully?

  17. 17
    gnomedad says:


    Poor David. Always telling the truth behind the curtain.

    There will always be those who think they can get away with hanging on to just a little integrity. But it’s a cancer.

  18. 18
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    Tom, I love your use of Renaissance art from the edges of Europe.

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