They Got Tweety: raising taxes doesn't count

They Got Tweety

by digby

On Hardball this afternoon Matthews was talking about "cut-go" with Todd Harris and Steve McMahon, the Tweedledum and Tweedledummer of the Village and he ranted and raved about how both parties promise spending cuts to bring down the deficit but refuse to give any big specific items that would really make a difference. The Republican Harris went on about how "it's going to be tough, it's going to be painful and like I said, I hope entitlements are on the table." (Now keep in mind, they were talking about "cut-go" in the context of raising the debt ceiling, which means Harris is advocating for immediate cuts to "entitlements".)

After Harris babbled for a while about "entitlements" destroying the country, Matthews again said how frustrated he was that Republicans always refuse to say what they will cut --- "give me a couple hundred billion at least, give me somethin' big, they give me nothing. Democrats too, by the way."

McMahon piped up at that and said:

I'll give it to you right now. Democrats are going to come with a bill to take away the tax cuts for people making 250 thousand dollars a year. That's 700 billion dollars that we borrowed ...

Matthews: I hate to break it to you, but that's not a spending cut it's a tax increase.

McMahon: no it's not a spending cut, but it results in revenue that will...

Harris: It's a tax increase!

Matthews: Just remember the difference, it's a tax increase. You ask Americans whether they want that tax increase and a majority will tell you they don't want that tax increase.

The debate has officially shifted from "deficit reduction" to "cutting spending to reduce the deficit." This has to be one of the fastest internalization of GOP propaganda in history and that's saying something. Matthews may be an outlier, but from what I saw today among the gasbags, they are all coming on board very quickly. If I had to guess, it was the lame duck deal that finally took taxes off the table for the Villagers. It's dead as far as they are concerned, so "cut-go" is the only way to reduce the deficit.

Naturally, they all agree that pain and sacrifice are necessary. They will not personally feel it,of course, but they will feel a slight bit of guilt and shame when they have to step over sick people and little children in the gutter, so it will be almost as bad.

I shouldn't be flippant about this. We are seeing a full embrace of "austerity" by the ruling elite happen before our eyes. It's not necessarily inevitable that these things will pass --- gridlock is probably our best case scenario at this point --- but something significant has shifted.

Update: I understand that the Democrats are going to combat all this by accusing the Republicans of being hypocrites and playing games with ... what? Oh sorry, I fell asleep before I finished typing that sentence.