The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Obama Cut Your Taxes, and Other Lies Frank Rich Wants You to Believe In

Posted on | October 24, 2010 | 26 Comments

You’ve got to marvel at the effrontery of the man:

President Obama, the Rodney Dangerfield of 2010, gets no respect for averting another Great Depression, for saving 3.3 million jobs with stimulus spending, or for salvaging GM and Chrysler from the junkyard. And none of these good deeds, no matter how substantial, will go unpunished if the projected Democratic bloodbath materializes on Election Day. Some are even going unremembered. For Obama, the ultimate indignity is the Times/CBS News poll in September showing that only 8 percent of Americans know that he gave 95 percent of American taxpayers a tax cut.

This is, evidently, the Great Democrat Myth of 2010, a sequel to “We Didn’t Get Our Message Out” (2004) and “Bush Stole the Election” (2000). Whenever Democrats lose an election, their craving for self-esteem requires that they manufacture a myth to explain it to themselves and to the world. This year, they’re planning ahead!

What was included in the February 2009 stimulus package was not a “tax cut.” No one’s tax rates were reduced. Instead, there was a temporary two-year tax credit that reduced payroll witholding by — brace yourself — a whopping $8 a week:

A refundable tax credit of up to $400 for working individuals and up to $800 for married taxpayers filing joint returns. This tax credit will be calculated at a rate of 6.2 percent of earned income and will phase out for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income in excess of $75,000, or $150,000 for married couples filing jointly.

And this $8 a week (a temporary credit, which is not the same as a “tax cut”) is the benevolence for which Frank Rich says you should be so grateful to President Obama.

Oh, yeah: And also “averting another Great Depression,” which is a pretty neat trick with $8 a week.

The problem is that Frank Rich doesn’t understand economics any better than the president does. Neither being a film critic nor attending Harvard Law requires any knowledge of economics. For reasons of pure partisan politics, Democrats have spent nearly a decade screaming “tax cuts for the rich” as an indictment of the Bush policy, without once bothering to ask themselves whether “tax cuts for the rich” was actually a bad idea, in macroeconomic terms.

What matters to Frank Rich and Obama is not whether the policies they advocate lead to economic growth, but rather whether their rhetoric helps convince people to vote Democrat. And in this they share the bias expressed by Stanley Greenberg and James Carville, who have issued a strategic memo for the Democratic Party via the New York Times declaring that in their polling “a Democratic message focused on the middle class and American jobs won out over a Republican message of deficit reduction and wasteful spending.”

See? It’s just a matter of having the right “message.” And never mind whether the policies actually work, or whether your “message” is actually true.

Update (Smitty): Welcome, Instapundit readers!

Comments

  • Diggs

    But you have to understand, people like Frank Rich, and pretty much the entire MSM, have been genuflecting to Obama for much less than $8/wk. Going on two years straight.

  • dennymack

    Well, if we all get to play “it could have been so much worse” then Bush was a super-duper, Lincoln meets JFK level of awesome.

    The dot.com bubble burst, the evil-doers attacked. So, using Frankly Rich Analysis (FRA to the wonks) I have tallied up what Bush did for us:
    He kept the internet from ending, and kept Google alive.
    He prevented an Al Queda invasion of the U.S. (A nuclear invasion!)
    And it is highly likely he prevented a black hole from swallowing our sun.
    So, yeah, I am going to leave my Bush/Cheney bumper sticker on my car.

  • Imperialana

    Frank Rich wasn’t a film critic. He was the theater critic. You know, Broadway live-on-stage productions.

    As such, his expertise in all things is obvious.

  • Wtlf555

    Hmmm . . . unemployment 10% people who have given up looking 10% that leaves 80%. Even if you went for the balony “tax cut” how did 95% of people get a payroll credit when at most 80% were working. Rich is poor on math

  • RES

    Funny, I recall back in the Eighties the Dems were deriding one of Reagan’s proposed tax cuts as “enough to take a family of four out for a pizza once a week.”

    Can’t say as I care to feed four on an $8 pizza, even if delivery is so much better than it was back in Reagan’s day.

  • tommy651

    i’m retired living on a pension of less than $50,000.00 and my federal income tax increased by $10.00 a month. am i in the top 5% of income earners in the country. hell this recession must be a lot worse than we thought.

  • John B

    The unemployed pay no taxes. See? Instant tax cut.

  • uncledip

    I can’t forget Obama’s comment during the debates of 2008 that, despite the fact that tax cuts bring in MORE revenue overall, he just didn’t think tax cuts were FAIR.