Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Novak the Economist Answers All Questions

Robert Novak, the very embodiment of oleaginous evil, had a chat with WaPo readers yesterday. His responses are predictably smug, self-serving, and nasty, and I'm sure someone else has the stomach to give them their due.

There is, however, a series of exchanges that neatly exemplifies up the poverty of Republican economic policy. First:

Toronto: Good afternoon. Why is there such an aversion to paying taxes among conservatives -- how else can a country maintain the infrastructure and services necessary for long-term prosperity?

Robert D. Novak: If you enjoy paying taxes so much, you're more than welcome to pick up mine as well. I think the Treasury would take a check from a Canadian.
Ooh, snap! I never, ever heard anything that witty on a grade school playground.

But not witty enough; someone else isn't willing to let him off the hook yet:
Maryland: Actually the fellow from Toronto had a good question, which you didn't really answer. Why do you think that we can cut taxes and run a real war against terrorism at the same time? At some point, someone has to pay for the several trillion that we have spent on the war and will be spending in the future. Isn't it selfish and short-sighted to put that burden on our children and grandchildren when we can afford to pay the taxes to cover the war now, but just don't want to do so? You certainly can afford the taxes, but don't want to pay. It is just that simple.

Robert D. Novak: Let's be candid. People like you a) always want to raise taxes and b) want to use taxes to redistribute income.
No, he doesn't have to answer the question because he knows it wasn't asked in good faith. Taxes are a binary function, you see: if you aren't against all taxes, ever, you're in favor of every tax, always (at an infinite tax rate).

And still, one last questioner gives it a try:
Re: Toronto and Maryland: You still aren't answering the question. How can the United States pay for the war on terror, as it is currently being fought, without raising taxes?

Robert D. Novak: By cutting all government spending.
Gosh, why didn't I think of that?

Throw in the Free Pony Laffer Curve, and that's all the Republicans have to justify their unexamined ideological opposition to taxes. It's an article of faith for them, so it can't be justified in any rational terms; in fact, it's so obvious an article of faith that they don't feel the need to justify it. Hence Novak, with his neener-neener-neener responses--probably the most articulate defense of an absurd ideology that we'll see in our lifetimes.