Crass Warfare

August 30th, 2011 at 11:29 pm

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.


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7 comments in reply to "Crass Warfare"

  1. foosion says:

    Speaking of class warfare, have you seen Dean Baker’s The End of Loser Liberalism? His main message is the the right has engaged in class warfare while claiming the mantle of free market. They’re using government to redistribute towards the rich and powerful at the expense of the rest of the country, but pretending this is just the natural working of the market.

    He wants, among other things, looser monetary policy (benefits employment and debtors), a weaker dollar (benefits employment, especially manufacturing), a free market for doctors, lawyers, etc. (more competition through immigration, use of non-US healthcare, etc.) and less protection for intellectual property, particularly pharma.

    Your thoughts?

  2. Jon White says:

    It’s tangential, but: Especially here on the NoVA side (where the Vernon Trail offers zero hills), policy-debate podcasts are a godsend for running. Realizing that Brian Lamb’s interviews don’t really *require* visual stimulus was a big revelation. (Just yesterday, Taibbi-and-Lopate-on-alleged-SEC-corruption nixed a good 5 seconds off my clip.)

  3. rjs says:

    here’s what you’re up against:

    those same people who stewart lampoomed are syndicated on the air 24/7 on a dozen stations everywhere in the US…

  4. Nadia_H says:

    Speaking of Baker, his work sharing proposal is a good idea. I think the President should propose aid to states and more infrastructure spending. I’d go for some deep middle and low-income oriented tax cuts. Yes, the Rs would pan it, and it has no shot, but the popular support could give the President leverage against the GOP in budget negotiations.

  5. general c. san desist says:

    There is an annual contest at Duke University for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term.

    This year’s term was, “Political Correctness”.

    The winner wrote:

    “Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end.”

  6. perplexed says:

    Stuart & Colbert (& their incredible staff’s!) continue to do an outstanding job of attempting to focus attention (primarily through well deserved ridicule) on our under performing news show empires. Those familiar with Neil Postman’s book “Amusing Ourselves to Death” will especially enjoy the irony of this coming from a station called “Comedy Central.”