The Moment of Truth — January 19, 2008

Really? Tax Cuts Again? Can’t You… I Mean, Tax Cuts? Again?

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: that exhilarating rush of wasabi into your sinuses.

A $150 billion tax cut. That is what our sorry excuse for a President calls an “economic stimulus package.”

A tax cut is a single item. What makes it a “package” exactly? That it’s wrapped up, maybe? What’s it wrapped in besides the garbled speech in the midst of which it was announced?

It’s like giving someone a spoon wrapped in a libertarian’s used handkerchief and calling it a wilderness survival kit.

Wasn’t there a $3 trillion dollar tax cut at the beginning of this fiasco of an administration? What did that accomplish, exactly, besides impoverishing the government to the extent that its emergency services are incapable of aiding in emergencies, and its military is incapable of providing equipment to its soldiers or figuring out which nation it should destroy in the process of freeing it from its dictator?

So a $150 billion tax cut—that’s this idiot’s plan to rescue the economy? Oh, and don’t criticize me for calling him an idiot, that’s what he is, let’s be honest for once, it’s time to call things by their names. A tax cut. Can there be anything lazier? “Eh, I guess we’ll just do another tax cut, I don’t feel like thinking right now, too hard on my brain bone.” Jesus! If you’ve got $150 billion dollars to burn, how about thinking up something clever to do with it, instead of just distributing it among the corporate and financial geniuses whose incompetence let our economy down in the first place? “Here, do some more of your magic.”

Lazy, that’s what it is. Bush and what’s left of his advisory posse of the ideologically deformed just don’t feel like bothering to think of anything effective to do. Did they consider, Hey, let’s spark some industry development, encourage investment in something American ingenuity and work ethic and entrepreneurship can really sink their teeth into. Like maybe get in on the ground floor of this whole hydrogen economy thing. Whoever positions themselves to profit from that will be riding the crest as the economic powerhouse of the future. Think of all the money that would change hands as researchers came up with better ways of generating and storing hydrogen, think of all the contractors and laborers and tradesmen and engineers busy as beavers converting gas stations to hydrogen stations, and the auto industry and the advertising—good lord, a few billion judiciously channeled and matching-funded and dangled like carrots in front of the right noses, and this economy would be blazing on all cylinders—to use a one-day-to-be-outmoded mechanical metaphor. How about we redirect our resources and young men and women out of destroying the Middle East and channel them toward poising the U.S. economy to be the dominant force behind the hydrogen revolution that will end petroleum’s reign of terror forever?

Did any of those bums think of anything remotely like that? No, it was: “Just throw the money out the window. Someone will probably pick it up and buy some stuff with it. That’ll jumpstart the economy or whatever.”

I had a friend whose father was a drunk jerk. Actually, I’ve had several friends whose fathers were drunk jerks, but this one stood out as drunker and jerkier than the rest. His TV wouldn’t get any color but green. So he said, “I’ll fix this,” and hit it with a brick until it was a pile of dangerously jagged rubble.

About a week later, his niece cut herself on some of that rubble. So he said, “I’ll fix that,” and hit the rubble with the brick some more.

That’s our leadership in a nutshell. God, I wish they were really in a nutshell. Because that would hurt them and maybe lead them to think upon their sins. Some of us tried to warn the populace that this would happen. I remember personally telling people, “That Bush guy is as dumb as lard, please don’t vote for him. If there’s a problem, he’s just going to hit it with a brick. He’s that kind of guy, I can tell, I’ve seen people like that, I had a friend whose father was like that.”

I hope we’ve all learned our lesson now. I hope we’ve all learned that trying to invigorate a declining industrial economy, in a nation whose farmland is being turned into existentially horrific strip mall zombie communities or bought up by global cyborgs programmed to drain the nutrition and flavor out of all life on Earth and turn the planet into a devastated arid greenhouse blast furnace desert, the stark barren horizons of which are only broken by the occasional nuclear waste-filled mountain, wreckage of a ghost town, or gibbering tribe of post-apocalyptic mutant nomads herding their mutated goats whose viscera developed on the outsides of their bodies so that their living, pulsing entrails drag behind them in the dust—I hope we’ve all learned now that trying to invigorate such an economy by farting out tax cuts is like trying to fix a television with a brick.

Okay? So we’ve settled that.

Although, I guess I shouldn’t have used the shift to a hydrogen economy as my example of an industry of broad potential growth, huge huge potential, since Bush’s policies foreign and domestic reinforce petroleum as the opium of our economy, because he and his advisory posse of deformed ideologues are heavily invested in oil. But then, maybe it isn’t such a bad example, specifically because the Bush administration is such an oily-garchy. Maybe their laziness isn’t pure laziness but a kind of calculated laziness. A kind of self-serving laziness, which, along with all the other self-serving machinations of this administration, could be considered a betrayal of duties and oaths, if not a betrayal of the country itself.

But at least we agree that tax cuts are lazy economic policy, especially now. Let’s just consider that settled. And let’s also consider it settled that Bush is the worst President ever, and when he dies his likeness, rather than on a postage stamp, should appear a on building condemnation notices, parking tickets, government-issue roach motels, and be carved into a nuclear waste-filled mountain, lest we forget to revile the man and everything he stood for or stood by and let happen.

And while we’re at it, let’s also consider it settled that the strategy of trying to run the world ourselves by abusing our allies and massacring our enemies has also been discredited.

And if we can’t prosecute the architects of the War for Profit in Iraq as traitors who pillaged our nation’s treasury, institutionalized war atrocities and mocked our Constitution and the values of freedom and human dignity our pagan forefathers attempted to enshrine therein—if we can’t try them for treason and execute them in the public square—now I know we can’t agree that if one of us is driving along and we see Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld or Douglas Feith—let’s keep it to guys who we know really hate American values—if one of them should run out into the street after a stray bar of gold or other such plaything, if the driver finds his or her reflexes a little too slow to spare that august statesman’s kneecaps, we all shrug and say, “Hey, what are you gonna do? Stuff happens”—I know we can’t agree on that. It wouldn’t be right. Even if the legal authorities are derelict in allowing these monsters to roam free.

But if we could all agree to call things by their names, agree that these officials have knowingly betrayed us and the rest of the world solely for their own vanity and profit, if we could all just join hands and banish them into a wilderness beyond our hearts, outside our love forever, because although we forgive we can never forget, not with the wounds still open and festering—if we could, each of us, spare just a few seconds to whisper a silent, bitter curse upon them, I think that would be beautiful. I really do. I think there’s real beauty in that.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!