“Pay Yo’ Damn Taxes!”
posted at 6:34 pm on February 20, 2013 by Guy Benson
In no time at all, moderator Mike Allen was interrupted by a middle-aged black man walking close to the stage and yelling, passionately and on-message, “Pay yo’ damn taxes!” he said, as security politely corralled him. “Pay yo’ damn taxes!” “We’ll bring you into the conversation,” said Allen diplomatically. Allen tried to continue, letting Bowles introduce the new-old plan, when another middle-aged black man started yelling more slogans: “Some cuts don’t heal!” Another ejection, another promise to bring him into the conversation.
According to ABC News, four leftists got the boot over the course of the event. Dave Weigel reports that the organic and productive outbursts were orchestrated by — surprise! — an offshoot of the SEIU called “Our DC.” As for Simpson-Bowles 2.0 itself, there’s certainly a conservative case to be built against various particulars of the proposal. Ultimately, though, I think the updated bipartisan framework is a useful repudiation of the debt denialists:
[The proposal] has zero chance of becoming policy reality, chiefly because Democrats would never allow it to see the light of day. Still, it offers several relevant openings for conservatives:(1) It again highlights the serious and systemic crisis of long-term government debt. (2) It correctly identifies overspending as the prime culprit and driver of this problem, powerfully refuting the denialists. (3) It tilts the solution towards spending reductions and de-emphasizes the revenue component, perhaps because the president just enacted a $600 billion tax increase. (4) It does all of these things through a pristine prism of bipartisanship, as established by the president himself. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles cannot be dismissed as right-wing cranks or knee-jerk partisans. Their reputational heft and credibility can therefore be leveraged by conservatives to demonstrate that their policy solutions are based on fiscal realities that undergird the bipartisan consensus — which Democrats have taken to flatly denying. In short, Simpson-Bowles 2.0’s underlying assumptions and broad remedies can be wielded as an effective cudgel against the denialists’ obfuscations and fantasies — even if conservatives have substantive quibbles over some of its elements.
Oh, but some cuts don’t heal!