Friday, October 1, 2010

Extreme Words about Smug Moderates

I hate smug moderates.

Scott Lehigh of the Boston Globe recently ended a column on taming the deficit by saying, "But even if you’re a left-winger insistent that it all be solved with taxes or a right-winger adamant that spending cuts are the only acceptable remedy, the Pew report is still well worth your while."

Has Lehigh ever met a real left-winger? If he had, he might know that we do want spending cuts: on wars of choice, and military hardware we don't need that mainly fattens the wallets of military contractors. We also want to end tax giveaways, like the ones that let many millionaires and multi-nationals avoid paying a nickel for the common good. If you want those things, maybe you're a left-winger too. Welcome to the club!

We also want taxes, on the right things, for the right purposes. A war surtax on the people with the highest incomes would be reasonable and fair--and it might also prevent future wars. A small wealth tax could go a long way toward closing the deficit that has middle-of-the-roaders so worried.

But the fact of the matter is that when millions of people are out of work, or working part-time, or doing two or three jobs that don't pay enough individually to support a family, this is not the time to be worrying about deficits. Franklin Roosevelt listened to people like that, and it extended the Depression for years after it could have been over. People like that: good, sensible, cautious people who thought they knew what left-wingers stood for and opposed it.

Moderates. Pfui. As a real left-winger, Jim Hightower, says, "There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos."

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