Fiddling While It Burns

The now-complete reality disconnect of the American right | 23/03/2009

Today, I want to display for your edification this article in the extreme right-wing publication The National Review. An extract:

Taking advantage of the populist revolt against Wall Street and AIG bailouts, the House Democrats have passed a vengeance tax on TARPed financial firms that amounts to a 90 percent marginal tax rate on bonuses.

This is being done in the name of AIG outrage, and nobody wants to defend the insurance company — including me. The financial-products division helped blow up the global credit system, and it shouldn’t be rewarded. Yet one wonders about this 90 percent tax rate. If it passes the Senate, will it ever be repealed? This could be the ultimate class-warfare spread-the-wealth redistribution scheme, aimed squarely at punishing success and penalizing the so-called rich.

I particularly love the “so-called rich” comment, as though a stocks trader receiving annual bonuses in the order of millions of dollars is actually a struggling middle-class battler who happens to be a victim of some sort of wild and localised bracket creep. Perhaps these guys need to come up with some PC term for rich, like “the poverty impaired”.

The article goes on to espouse a magnificently impaired view of history, most notably stating that FDR’s WW2 tax rates were responsible for the Depression that started a decade prior.

The relevance to national security and terrorism? Well, today’s convenient fiscal conservative is yesterday’s neoconservative, and an insight into these people’s fast-and-loose attitude to reality is an important insight into how we found ourselves in this situation; why briefings about Al-Qaeda were ignored; how a refusal to make insignificant efforts to cut off Osama Bin Laden’s escape in Afghanistan allowed him to stay at large to this day; how we wound up in Iraq with too few troops, underequipped, with grossly inadequate planning; how torture and warrantless spying came to be used as techniques to defend liberal democracy; and finally how the fundamental weaknesses in the financial system so comprehensively exposed by Enron in 2002 came to destroy the world economy in 2008.

Thanks to Alex Koppelman at the War Room for the tipoff. And finally, here’s a nice comic that perfectly encapsulates The National Review’s world view, courtesy of Ruben Bolling at


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