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Monday, April 16, 2007

Screwing America and not calling her back

Its affirmative action month or something at the Financial Times. Last week it was John Bolton, and now here's Rudy Giuliani to lay out a 4-pillar formula for fucking things up, which I assume hasn't been used on a country before. Wait, nevermind. Its the same thing president Bush has been doing for the past 7 years, minus the Christian fundamentalism. This is somehow supposed to augment his only national claim to fame--giving the appearance of having actually been doing something on 9/11.

Oh goddamnit, free hookers for everyone somehow did not make the list. Lost my vote.

My four pillars of American prosperity...

1. Reduce Spending Growth. Fiscal conservatives understand the value of controlling the size and cost of government.
Oh my yes, Rudy, they sure do. If only these "fiscal conservatives", whoever they are, had had an extended period of time to show us how well they'd handle things. Seriously, can we retire this bullshit caricature of Republicans as champions of responsible government and Democrats who throw benjamins at homeless people for fun. Its never been true, and never more clearly so than in this (thankfully) past period of Republican domination.

Giuliani is at least pretty honest about his intentions, mapping out a plan to further ignore big problems, solve non-existent ones, and thereby create more problems so he can ignore them.
He points out that 42% of the federal civilian workforce is due to retire in the next 8 years, and this is the perfect time to not hire anyone else, shrinking the government by "war of attrition." (And you always thought Paul Krugman was being shrill.) This isn't fucking Egypt, Rudy. Our government employees actually do stuff. Of course there's nothing wrong with shrinking the government per se, but the Republican idea of shrinking the government is in essence cutting or scaling back programs people like in order to finance things people don't.
2. Lower Tax Rates. Americans face a monster tax increase because of "bracket creep", the alternative minimum tax [AMT] and the expiry of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. This means cutting taxes just to keep even.
Uh, not even sure what this means. "Cutting taxes just to keep even"? Wtf? Tax cuts are forgone revenue, which means that without spending cuts, its only higher taxes in the future, plus interest on the debt you need to finance the cuts in the first place, which as he outlines below, he and his friends aren't going to help pay. Asshole.
[U]nder current law, the "death tax" will disappear for a year, in 2010, and then roar back to oppressive levels. This is unfair. Only Washington could create a tax incentive for death. If you have worked hard and played by the rules, your children should not have to sell the family farm or small business just to pay another round of punitive taxes.
Oh god, fuck you. Of course by "Washington" he means "Republicans", so uh, thats interesting? From rightly citing the AMT as an actual problem, which will start hammering middle and upper-middle class households in the coming years, he moves on to lobbying for further tax breaks for the super rich, then masks it with pseudo-populist bullshit about "family farms" and "small businesses". Farms make up a tiny fraction of the share of estates subject to the federal estate tax. Despite their best efforts, Republicans have never found an instance where a family farm was lost because of it. The bulk of the revenue comes from huge piles of inherited wealth, and anyone who argues otherwise is a lying sack. You want to argue whether its fair or not, at least keep the parameters on Earth.
3. Regulatory Reform. The US currently has a regulatory black eye. We are being hurt by heavy-handed regulators, laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley and an environment of hyper-litigation and shareholder lawsuits that can be poisonous to the private sector.
Yeah, didn't see that coming. There is a case to be made for scrapping reporting requirements of Sec. 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley for small businesses, which bear a regressive burden in relation to large companies, but there already is a movement to do that. Still always nice to know someone wants less regulation in the wake of the subprime meltdown.

Giuliani rounds off #4 with a pledge for, uh, sound monetary policy. A staple of campaign promises is apparently to promise things you have no control over, so well done there:
It is essential that its appointees are highly qualified individuals who understand that stable, low inflation is an input - not an impediment - to durable economic expansion and stronger economic growth.
Oh god, you're serious. As opposed to who? Greenspan? Bernanke? Virtually the entire economic community? Was the Fed Board of Governors infiltrated by hippies when we weren't looking? He could have switched sound monetary policy with free hookers and I'd have totally been sold.

Matthew Yglesias has more on Giuliani's plan to piss off everyone before primaries. Perhaps someone could tell him how elections work.