Pennies From Heaven

What’s gotten into Tom Friedman? He’s written good columns two Sundays in a row.

Here’s last week’s, in case you missed it. Now, on to this week’s.

Every so often a quote comes out of the Bush administration that leaves you asking: Am I crazy or are they? I had one of those moments last week when Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, was asked about a proposal by some Congressional Democrats to levy a surtax to pay for the Iraq war, and she responded, “We’ve always known that Democrats seem to revert to type, and they are willing to raise taxes on just about anything.”

Yes, those silly Democrats. They’ll raise taxes for anything, even — get this — to pay for a war!

And if we did raise taxes to pay for our war to bring a measure of democracy to the Arab world, “does anyone seriously believe that the Democrats are going to end these new taxes that they’re asking the American people to pay at a time when it’s not necessary to pay them?” added Ms. Perino. “I just think it’s completely fiscally irresponsible.”

Friends, we are through the looking glass. It is now “fiscally irresponsible” to want to pay for a war with a tax. These democrats just don’t understand: the tooth fairy pays for wars. Of course she does — the tooth fairy leaves the money at the end of every month under Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s pillow. And what a big pillow it is! My God, what will the Democrats come up with next? Taxes to rebuild bridges or schools or high-speed rail or our lagging broadband networks? No, no, the tooth fairy covers all that. She borrows the money from China and leaves it under Paulson’s pillow.

Is it me, or is Friedman sounding a tad shrill?

Of course, we can pay for the Iraq war without a tax increase. The question is, can we pay for it and be making the investments in infrastructure, science and education needed to propel our country into the 21st century? Visit Singapore, Japan, Korea, China or parts of Europe today and you’ll discover that the infrastructure in our country is not keeping pace with our peers’.

We can pay for anything today if we want to stop investing in tomorrow. The president has already slashed the National Institutes of Health research funding the past two years. His 2008 budget wants us to cut money for vocational training, infrastructure and many student aid programs.

Not to mention providing health insurance for children.

Of course, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, the Democrat David Obey, in proposing an Iraq war tax to help balance the budget was expressing his displeasure with the war. But he was also making a very important point when he said, “If this war is important enough to fight, then it ought to be important enough to pay for.”

Our bridges are falling down, too many of our children go without health care, we’re in debt up to our eyeballs to Japan and China, and the Right wants perpetual war in the Middle East, but by gawd we won’t raise taxes!

And why not? Because then we’d be going down the same road as sick ol’ socialist Europe, and we all know how badly they’ve …. wait a minute … um, actually Europe is doing pretty well these days. See also Ezra.

11 thoughts on “Pennies From Heaven

  1. See The Good($) Life in our town’s September edition of Whole Life Times for other ways that Europe is passing us up. Be sure to see the sidebar to the right of the article entitled “We’re Not Number One”. Excerpt from the main article:

    “…It seems a Princeton University study has discovered that Americans are getting shorter. Shorter? Well, not in absolute terms, but compared to Europeans. Half a century ago, we Americans were the world’s tallest people. Now we’re shorter than most Europeans, more than two inches shorter than the Dutch or the Danes. In every European country, people have been growing faster than we are, and the study controls for the effects of immigration or racial diversity.

    “…the article explains that average height is a powerful indicator of the social health of a society. It tells you how well infants are provided for. So it figures that the Dutch and the Danes also rank on top in a study of child welfare in industrial countries released last February by UNICEF. The U.S., by contrast, ranks 20th of 21 nations studied. Whoa!

    “America the Short? Next to last in child welfare? Are we talking trends here? What’s going on?

    “Remember that big sign that James Carville posted in Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign war room: “It’s the economy, stupid!?”

    “He should have said, “It’s a stupid economy.” “

  2. Golly, I might have to start reading Friedman again. It’s almost like he’s finally gotten around to reading what progressives have been saying for the last 3 or 4 years now.

    There’s a certain endearing charm to reading someone who has an air of fresh outrage at the nonsense from the White House. Imagine, the spokesperson spouts nonsense! Mind-boggling, how they really think they can pay for a war while cutting taxes! It’s crazy! The country will go to hell in a handbasket!

    Yes, Tom. Exactly. So glad you were finally able to join us. Were you stuck in traffic?

    Would it be too catty for me to suggest that Tom should look for the Administration to have a sensible tax policy in, say, ‘about six months’?

  3. Off topic: For those in a different time zone, be sure and catch the 60-minute interview of Bruce Springsteen. It’ really good.

  4. Why raise taxes when we have our children and grandchildren to pick up the tab?

    Or better yet..Why worry about what the war in Iraq costs when your daddy owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

  5. Where were you for the last 6 + year;s, Tom?
    OK, I am now truly speachless;
    All I can say is this: ARRRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!

  6. Now as the Bush tenure is winding down, it’s time for fiscal responsibility. Just like when the Republicans lost control of the House and Senate, it was time to do something about those earmarks.

    To be fair, maybe the last 6 years has been a result of a pandemic viral infection. Too bad for the 1 million Iraqi dead and 4 million displaced, but it’s not our fault, we were just sick and did not know any better. Friedman may have recovered, showing those infected can be cured, hopefully others will as well. Maybe we can name the virus after Baghdad Bob. Tom is a BBV survivor.

    The cynic in me thinks that Friedman has just taken leave of his participation in the mass media madness that made even Baghdad Bob sound credible, and has chosen to return to humanity and credibility for a while to remember what it was like. Maybe he knows what is to come (Iran +) will be the death of humanity and the truth as we know it. Kind of like saying good bye to an old friend whose time has come. Tom saying Good Bye America.

    The conspiracist in me hopes that there has been a regime change in the shadow government that dictates policy to the corporate media and public government puppets. Maybe they had a touch of the virus and recovered as well. Tom is now off his leash, and a recovered Baghdad Bobber to boot. .

  7. This is true.
    A dear friend of mine is a yard-sale stopper. Also: If she has read about a wood-tool auction she tells me. Once I went to a auction with her (rare, I don’t hoard ‘junk’ that may be someone else’s gold treasure) and bid on old wood-chisels.
    Michele is as rare and as precious of a gold-jewel. One is blessed to find a valuable friend. One can find One on Earth without digging and panning in a creek for gold-nuggets.
    *She has old-gold-teeth in a brown card-board box she once got at a auction of grab-bag miscellaneous ‘stuff’ considered junk by most human’s standards.
    You know- the card-board box has old-rubber hair-curlers in it?
    Who rolls the hair-up at night anymore? Not Michele. She gathers clumps of Burdock root for tea.
    You’ll even have to help Michel get thistle-burrs out of her hair some days.
    I’ll have her read you. However, I always tell her to remain apolitical and today I’ll tell her to never bid on a crate of Beech Tree Root shampoo.
    No I won’t.
    I ask her to never listen to the news. I’ll ask this rare-find of a precious garden-partner to put her gold teeth under the purple-wand herb pillow because maha wants to believe in a wonderful tooth-fairy.
    Thanks maha.
    I hope Michele never ever-ever begins to read Glenn Greenwald. That would be the end of the world for me. She’s been as angry as a beautiful gal can get. A “Glenn-the-Blogger”? A-humph. Huff. She no even know GG.
    Oh-Angry. Poor Glenn.
    I guess Michele has a few Burdock burrs under the long red-ear mule saddle?
    Probably so…

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