September’s Esquire magazine has an article for anyone trying to understand Republican taxation policy. It is entitled “A B.S. in B.S.”
“B.S.” is odoriferous bovine effluvia or ordure. It gives its name to any statement or action made without regard for truth, usually with bogus claims, especially with deception intended. Sharper Focus delicately calls it “bullspit,” another bovine deposit. Here are seven examples from Esquire (“Great Moments in Bullspit”) and eight from me (in parentheses):
982: Erik the Red discovers an ice-covered island and names it “Greenland” to induce Vikings to settle there.
1787: The Tsar wants to see how well Russia is doing, so Potemkin sets up fake villages along the way to show how “prosperous” it is.
(1787: Before ratifying the Constitution, based on ideals of freedom and equality, Virginians demand that slaves be counted as free men, compromising at three-fifths.)
1920: Charles Ponzi promises 50-percent returns to investors in 45 days.
(1925: Hitler’s Big Lie: “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”)
1973: President Richard Nixon: “I am not a crook.”
(1979: TV program Real People establishes fake “reality” shows.)
(1981: President Ronald Reagan cuts taxes on the wealthy, supposedly to create economic growth and benefit everyone without increasing national debt. Note: Exact opposite happens in reality.)
1998: President Bill Clinton: “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”
2003: “Mission Accomplished”: President George W. Bush Junior lands on an aircraft carrier to proclaim the “success” of the Iraq war concerning weapons of mass destruction that he knew never existed.
(2003: Bush cuts taxes on the wealthy supposedly to create economic growth and benefit everyone without increasing national debt. Note: Exact opposite happens in reality.)
(2004: Serial bankrupt Donald Trump poses as a successful businessman on The Apprentice “reality show,” earning hundreds of millions.)
(2013: Republicans shut down government in protest against minor increases in debt. Cost of stunt is $24 billion. Note: Republican policies had already added trillions to national debt.)
2016: Trump: “You’re going to get tired of winning. You’re going to say, ‘Please, Mr. President, I have a headache. Please don’t win so much!’ ”
(2016: Rip-off artist Trump, appearing at airport rallies in front of personal airliner, poses as economic expert graciously wanting to help poor Americans.)
It is little wonder that Prof. Harry Frankfurt stated in his book, On Bullspit, “One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullspit.” Americans are suckers for it, especially in politics.
Republicans used to scream bloody murder about deficits. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, once said that national debt was “America’s most serious long-term problem.” That is, until he recently called the Senate to ordure. The Senate’s tax proposals “might add over $2 trilllion” to national debt within 10 years. (The Economist, “Fiscal Conservatism, R.I.P.”). In a sudden U-turn, Republicans now claim that debt does not matter!
President Trump claims that the proposed tax cuts favor the middle class and would not benefit the rich. Surprise, surprise: Trump and his billionaire-packed Cabinet would make out like bandits. By the end of the decade, 80 percent of the tax cuts would go to the top 1 percent (Tax Policy Center). Middle-class taxpayers earning between $50,000 and $150,000 would see tax increases. Medicare and Medicaid would be cut by $1.5 trillion. Other booby-traps for ordinary Americans could well be sprung when the actual legislation is passed.
All this affirms economist Joseph Stiglitz’s statement that America’s economic policy, driven by Republicans, is “Of the 1 percent, by the 1 percent, for the 1 percent.”
Bernie Sanders said claims of “big league” benefits for Joe Blow are entirely false: “Nothing could be further from the truth.” Worse still: “The Republican budget is the Robin Hood principle in reverse. It takes from those in need and gives to those who are already living in incredible opulence.” He is America’s most trusted politician.
Finally, here is The Great Steaming Pile of Bullspit. Republicans claim that tax cuts for the wealthy pay for themselves by increasing economic output and thus tax revenues. But there is not the slightest evidence for this claim, even after 35 years. Economist Thomas Piketty looked at copious official data (book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century) and found absolutely nothing in support. In fact, as Republicans discovered after wrecking the economy of Kansas … the exact opposite happens in reality.
But it all makes perfect sense once we realize we are a nation addicted to B.S. Americans lap it up. This is why Republicans enjoy spouting it so much.