As have others, I’ve been meaning to link to the Jon Stewart’s segment on class warfare, taxation on the rich, and more. Simply put, this is pure genius, and I don’t use the word lightly. I spend much of my waking hours trying to make this kind of information go down easily, with punch and accuracy and I was in awe of this segment.
A touch of inside baseball here. I’m not taking anything away from Stewart’s genius here, but he also must have a kick-ass staff. The segment producers, writers, editors, the folks finding all those clips he weaves together—it takes a lot of work to make it look that easy and smooth.
Besides the masterful presentation, what was striking about these points was how blatantly obvious they are yet how rarely they seem to enter the debate. Conservatives have successfully cordoned off arguments about inequality, poverty, progressive taxation as class warfare while passing budgets (see the House Republicans budget, e.g.) that slash trillions from spending on low-income programs while preserving and extending tax cuts to the wealthiest households.
You can’t talk about class warfare, but apparently you can put it in your budget.
One other media observation: While running the other day, I stumbled on C-Span radio’s version of this press conference with CBO director Doug Elmendorf (you can imagine how quickly I attacked those hills with this in my ears). I was really pretty impressed with the questions from the reporters, and this is weedy stuff.
What caught my ears were the questions about premature fiscal tightening and its negative impact on growth. Typically, upon the release of a CBO update like this, the questions are all about deficits and debt reduction and when will we finally balance the budget. So it was good to hear journalists asking about the self-inflected wounds politicians around here have been busy administering to an already ailing economy.