Flat tax watch: Drum versus Matthews!


The actual shape of the problem: Kevin Drum offers his initial take on the Perry tax plan. He pities the fools who have to score it. But please note the shape of the problem as he diagnoses it:
DRUM (10/25/11): But can we please spare a moment for the people who are really going to suffer because of this? Yes, I'm talking about whichever poor schlubs at the Tax Policy Center draw the short straw and have to go through the dreary motions of scoring this. We all know the basic answer, of course: Perry's plan represents a massive tax cut for the rich and a huge loss of revenue for the federal government. But we want numbers, dammit! Not that they really matter, since once they're produced we'll merely be told that they represent old-fashioned static thinking. What we need is a shiny new dynamic scoring of Perry's plan that takes into account the fact that it would, as James Pethokoukis puts it, "supercharge growth." I assume he tweeted that with a straight face, but on the internet you never know, do you?
We assume Drum’s assessment will be borne out by the poor shlubs who score Perry’s plan. But please note: According to Drum, the main problem is the fact that the plan will create a huge loss of revenue, principally by lowering taxes on the rich.

That’s not what you heard if you watched last night's simpering segment on Hardball. On that program, you were told that the problem with a flat tax proposal is that it forces middle-income people to pay the same tax rates as the rich. That isn’t true, and that isn’t the problem with what Perry has proposed.

As noted, Hardball’s Chris Matthews never knows what he’s talking about. Nor does this fact seem to bother him. This is the remarkable way he closed last night’s program, To watch the full statement, click this:
MATTHEWS (10/24/11): Let me finish tonight with this: Deceit.

It’s one of those human behaviors everyone can get their arms around. You know when you see it—when a guy sells you a car with serious problems but makes a point not to share them with you. You know, when some guy claims not to be married but is. When someone you trust shows you they know just how to take advantage of your trust.


I know a great deal about politics, practically nothing about high finance. All this talk of derivatives and credit default swaps leaves me hanging. I still don’t get what a hedge fund guy does or what “arbitrage” means.

So when I saw Margin Call, a powerful, clear-cut movie about good, evil and the people that get caught having to choose and people who get lured into doing what they’re paid off to do or threatened with losing if they don’t do, I loved it. Finally, I could see the basic fact of what happened at Lehman Brothers and all the rest. I could see the choices people were led to take, or decided to take.
Matthews complaining about deceit is like monkeys complaining about smelly poo. But we were especially struck by the highlighted passage.

Matthews has been paid in seven figures at least since 1999. According to press reports, he was paid roughly $1 million back then; he’s paid $5 million now. It’s fairly clear that he has been paid for doing the bidding of his powerful owners—especially his original owner, conservative GE chairman Jack Welch. In 1999 and 2000, Matthews sold his soul to the Noston-accented devil, working to send George Bush to the White House and leaving Al Gore for dead.

No one lied and deceived the public the way this vile person did.

Matthews has been paid massive sums for more than a decade now. In all that time, he hasn’t bothered getting himself up to speed on the topics that drive our modern political culture. He doesn’t know how high finance works—nor has he bothered to find out. He knows it when he sees, though, in a good, simple-minded movie.

Matthews is one of the giant confidence men in American history. In the person of Walsh and Maddow and Corn, the liberal world has been kissing his ass for many years now, and will never cease to do so. They will never tell you what this man did.

This horrible man puts bucks in their pockets. Isn’t it great to be a part of our high-minded “liberal” world?


  1. Hey, someone discussed revenues when it came to a discussion of massively overhauling the federal tax system! How novel. It's almost like someone remembered the point of taxation.

    Related story: I debated in high school and college. I remember a lot of high school students showing up with policy proposals that involved revamping the tax system. I also remember them having no clue whether their new tax system would provide enough money for the country to operate. I assume teachers and coaches and parents helped them form the initial proposal even if these students had to defend it themselves, and you'd think proving that it provides enough money would be the first thing on their minds. Oh well.

    In college, we were smarter and never discussed policy proposals that involved money (really! We found a way to do that several times a week). I guess avoiding that discussion is better than doing it badly, but we did like to pretend we were there for the educational value of debate.