2020/03/20

Congressional Lemmings

Graham Crenshaw Lemmings

The coronavirus pandemic has turned into something of a Voight-Kampff test. Instead of androids, it detects Suicide Cultists, which are really the next best thing.

We can debate the government's wisdom in locking down travel and commerce. In fact, Mister Metokur debated comedian Dick Masterson on Ethan Ralph's #Killstream last night. You can watch the milestone episode here, including the 156:53 mark, when someone you may know consults the Prophet Jim about which sector of the entertainment industry will survive Corona-chan.


Judging by the amateur analysis that flooded the Web in the stream's wake, the debate made a handy litmus test, as well. Jim walked away with it. He wasted no time in soaring over Dick's hedonist position to seize and hold the moral level. That's game, set, match.

It doesn't take a professional ethicist to discern that taking rational steps so hundreds of thousands of people don't die of plague is a legitimate use of government power. Anyone swayed by Dick's invocation of his rights to go boozing, smoke drugs, bang hookers, and murder his grandma is not a serious person. In light of the current crisis, we'd probably better lock down the pro-Dick side for their safety and ours.

But that's just the Suicide Cult yeomanry. Meanwhile, their high priests in Washington are busy fumbling the ball Trump passed them. Instead of scoring a layup, fiscal Conservatives in Congress have painstakingly drawn up a play to throw the ball into the stands.

Let's untangle the thought process that led these Congressional lemmings to screw this up. First, the government orders travel and commerce restrictions that grind the economy to a halt. Small and medium-sized business like mom & pop stores, movie theaters, and restaurants take the hardest hit. As a result, poor and middle-class people have less cash in their wallets.

Trump correctly responded with a call for direct cash payments of $1000 to each American. He considered some kind of tax credit but rejected the idea. That's because this proposal isn't a form of welfare. The point is to give everyone some discretionary income so they start spending again and keep the economy going.

Leave it to the bow ties in the GOP to botch the execution of this simple concept. To be fair, it was Nancy Pelosi who first demanded means testing--to her base's dismay. But Suicide Cultists like Graham and Crenshaw dutifully took instruction from their supposed enemy.

Instead of just cutting every American a check for $1000, the market worshipers have turned Trumpbux into a nebbishy tax credit.

How it breaks down now is that people who reported taxable income between $75k and $23k on their 2018 tax returns get $1200 plus $500 per child. Between $75k and $99k, the credit scales down. People who earned $100k or more in 2018 get nothing.

That alone goes to show that our rulers have no concept of what life outside the Beltway is like. It's not 1988. $100,000 doesn't go as far as it used to. Suddenly, the GOP has joined Occupy in denouncing the 1%.

But wait, the stupidity gets even worse. Because the current GOP plan is a tax credit, not a direct payment, the poorest Americans also get shafted, since they pay less in taxes. Before you scoff, keep in mind that about 40% of American citizens have no taxable income. Who in their right mind shoulders 40% of the country out of a stimulus package?

Admittedly, that's a bit of an overstatement, since those with less than $23k in taxable 2018 income get a $600 credit--half of what people who outearn them fourfold get. But the pants-on-head retardation doesn't stop there.

Say you run a small business that made less than $23k in profits in 2018. You made to little to pay income tax, but you had no escape from paying the 15.3% self-employment tax.

This means that small businessmen who are most vulnerable to the recession will only get $600 instead of $1000 to offset their potential $3500 tax bill.

Here's the kicker: The self-employment tax goes straight to pay for Social Security and Medicare. That means small business owners under 50 will never see a dime of their money back. The IRS is robbing them to fund the retirements of the wealthiest generation in human history.

And supposedly small government Republicans are using the state to crush them while throwing a pittance at their feet. Lindsey Graham is doing his best Sonny Corleone impression.

So far, we could chalk up the GOP's failure to address a national emergency to stupidity. But now Republican Senators Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler have taken the stage to show what they really think of us.
Two US Republican Senators are facing calls to resign over allegations they used insider knowledge to sell shares before prices fell due to coronavirus fears.
Richard Burr reportedly dumped up to $1.7m (£1.45m) of stocks last month.
Kelly Loeffler is reported to have sold holdings worth up to $3m in a series of transactions beginning the same day as a Senate briefing on the virus.
Both Senators have denied any impropriety.
Under US law, it is illegal for members of Congress to trade based on non-public information gathered during their official duties.
Mr Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has also come under fire after US outlet NPR obtained a recording of him warning a group of wealthy constituents last month about the dire economic impact of the coronavirus, at a time when the Trump administration was publicly downplaying the threat. He also told the group to curtail their travel.
In response, Mr Burr has accused NPR of “misrepresenting” his speech.

They really do think we're dumb cattle. That's the only explanation short of genuine suicidal urges that are driving our elites over the precipice.

It turns out that smugly declaring yourself to be perched comfortably at the end of history inclines one to forget the lessons of the past. Our rulers' monstrous dereliction of duty may well doom us. But they forget the fate of parasites who kill the host.

Ironically, Corona-chan herself may prove less deadly than the Suicide Cult. She also seems like a lot more fun in comparison. Even if you're on lockdown, you can safely help spread Corona-chan's love with your free copy of David Stewart's new SFF anthology, which includes entertaining tales by the likes of David himself, Jon Del Arroz, and yours truly.

Corona-chan: Spreading the Love

19 comments:

  1. Ah, yes, a Tax Credit. Wonderful! Lowering the tax rate puts my money back in my pocket right now. A stimulus check, while we would be borrowing against future earnings would also put money in my pocket right now. And how are we supposed to get that tax credit if filing our taxes, which was never painless, has just become very difficult.

    Lindsey Grahamnesty can go back to sitting on tacks. And Crenshaw can go sit on his trident.

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    1. Time for Trump to use the pictures he has to have of Graham and those Mar a Lago cabana boys.

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  2. Add these guys to the pile of suicidal libertarians who think any crisis can be solved by repealing regulations and that any curtailing of personal liberty amounts to a permanent adoption of Communism.
    Is there a variation of the witch test to prevent me wasting time arguing with people who think enforcing quarantine is somehow a greater moral evil than letting people spread a plague?

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    1. Masterson actually argued that letting the virus spread would kill more Boomers, and that it would be a good thing. He chided people who were repelled by that thought, "simps for their grandmas."

      Jim could've been a no-show, and he'd still have won the debate.

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    2. How broken must one's moral compass be to consider "I don't want my grandma to die of coronavirus" to be an invalid response to genocidal ideations?

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  3. OT, but in one of my recent poetry discussions I mentioned Mr. Niemeier and a topic of interest to those who follow his blog, FemPub, a.k.a. the Dead Egg Brigade. If you'd like to hear me and my friends talking about Robert E. Howard's poem "To Moderns," come check it out.

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  4. And the Party of Failure once again reclaims their title! Snatching defeat from the jaws of stupidity!

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    1. In a just (Minecraft) world the flayed (Minecraft) corpses of these senators would be swinging from (Minecraft) street lamps already. They are shadowed not by the Sword of Damocles so much as the Foam Finger of Damocles, which evidently is not as effective an incentive for just and wise rule as it’s bladed counterpart

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  5. Is it too late to add a poetic foreward to Corona-Chan? If not . . .

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  6. The right to positive bleeding, AKA the right to kill yourself, is such a strange thing to fight for. Why should you have the right to suicide? Your death is a burden on everyone around you, related or not. It affects everyone.

    But it's about total freedom over all.

    Until someone decides to get the bigger gun, and then it's kneeling time.

    Jim hit a lot of right marks in his slippery slope video. We don't have the time for boomer posturing and fighting for a utopia that's never coming. We've given the boomers over four decades to enact their revolution, and it's led to the entire world on the brink.

    Screw that. I'm not fighting for your right to hang yourself when it has almost hanged me.

    "Freedom" is what caused this. Fuck you if you think it'll fix it.

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    1. The concept of a right to do evil is an oxymoron.

      Dick missed the irony in his tongue-in-cheek support for Boomercide. The right to die is just another Boomer conceit so they can check out on their own terms after the final orgy of spending their kids' inheritance.

      Jim scored a head shot when he pointed out that Dick only gets the Boomers' stuff if they wrote him into the will.

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    2. And their grandkids' inheritance, and their great-grandkids' inheritance . . .

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  7. So, take a simple flat payment, turn it into a complex shemozzle, and claim to be classical liberal? These people are absolutely addicted to technocratic finger-poking in all of its worst and most counterproductive forms.

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    1. They're sexually attracted to quibbling over tax codes. That's what we get from rule by lawyers.

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    2. Brian

      I'm unsurprised. I lived in Singapore for many years. The political elites utter animus towards its own population is quite brazen.
      They publically articulate what our thought in private and legislated in public.

      Case in point the Singapore govt was able to find accommodations for 10 000 Mayalsian workers stuck in Singapore but can't do the same for Singapirean single/divorced parents with kids.

      xavier

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  8. If Corona chan puts someone out of work, they don't get the tax break. A check would help them a lot more.

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    1. Which is exactly why the GOP wants to do a tax break.

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