April 15 has come and gone and the right-wing whackos have had their little teabag parties. Right now they’re congratulating themselves on their cleverness, apparently too clueless to realize that all they’ve done is highlight how out of touch they are with reality. America is bleeding and what do they propose to do about it? Lower taxes. The same tired old mantra we’ve been hearing since the 1980s when the right snookered the public into believing tax cuts saved the U.S. economy.
Just when I thought the political right couldn’t get any more ridiculous they proved me wrong. Our latter-day tax rebels have invoked the Boston Tea Party, but the term they appropriated is actually exceedingly vulgar sexual slang. (Teabagging is an urban term for when a man places his scrotum in someone’s mouth.) But then again, maybe teabagging’s implications of dominance and submission is what it’s all about after all.
Only the greedy and the willfully ahistorical still believe in trickle-down economics. Its success was a myth when Ronald Reagan touted it and we’ve three decades-worth of laboratory-tested proof since then that massive tax cuts only serve one clear purpose: they further enrich those who need it the least. (Look it up; for most of Reagan’s two terms unemployment was higher than it was under Jimmy Carter. If you want to see low unemployment look at the mid-1960s when the war on poverty pushed it under 5%.)
Reagan at least was warm enough to make some Americans believe in fairy tales, but who believes the embittered wingnuts out there pushing the latest load of trickle-down hogwash? The same crew that bankrupted the country now wants us to weep with them over taxes!? Is there anything more lame than opposing taxes? In the abstract nobody likes to pay them. Saying you hate taxes involves roughly the same amount of political courage as saying that you’ve decided to take a bold stance in favor of warm fuzzy puppies.
We pay taxes because we need to, not because we want to. And we need to now more than ever. The America that actually exists is not one in which hardworking folks are being ruined by taxes; it’s one in which hard workers can’t get a job at all. It’s one where the average American family is carrying over ten grand in credit card debt owed to the same usurious speculators who gambled with their futures and now want to steal their pensions. It’s one where one of six Americans can’t afford to get sick and nearly a million are homeless. It’s a place where the infrastructure is crumbling, housing values are plummeting, and college costs are soaring. It’s one where my former students are losing hope and my current ones see little reason to have any in the first place. The same damn bandits who squeezed political mileage out of praising cops, fire fighters, and soldiers are now content to see them lose their jobs and benefits. In the name of what? Lower taxes? How about raising them to solve some social problems. That would be an act of courage.
Shut up and pay your taxes. Be thankful you have the resources to do so. Get back to me when every American has shelter, healthcare, a pension, and a job. Maybe then we can talk about tax rates. Until then, the next time you open your mouth to cry about taxes I hope someone teabags you.