Saturday, 13 October 2012

Matt Taibbi Says Biden “Absolutely Right” to Laugh at Ryan

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In the inimitable Taibbi’s latest blog-post for Rolling Stone, he turns his excellent attention and cutting wit onto the VP debate, and supports Vice President Joe Biden’s less-than-serious tone and demeanour:

I’ve never thought much of Joe Biden. But man, did he get it right in last night’s debate, and not just because he walloped sniveling little Paul Ryan on the facts. What he got absolutely right, despite what you might read this morning (many outlets are criticizing Biden's dramatic excesses), was his tone. Biden did absolutely roll his eyes, snort, laugh derisively and throw his hands up in the air whenever Ryan trotted out his little beady-eyed BS-isms.

But he should have! He was absolutely right to be doing it. We all should be doing it. That includes all of us in the media, and not just paid obnoxious-opinion-merchants like me, but so-called “objective” news reporters as well. We should all be rolling our eyes, and scoffing and saying, “Come back when you’re serious.”

Taibbi’s piece is, as always, highly quotable, and riddled with quotations and analysis and deconstructions of Ryan’s tax “plan” side-stepping and distortions. Here’s a bit from Ryan’s answer I thought didn’t get enough attention. It came after Raddatz asked for specifics on the obviously-non-existant Romney-Ryan tax plan:

Lower tax rates 20 percent – we raise about $1.2 trillion through income taxes. We forgo about 1.1 trillion [dollars] in loopholes and deductions. And so what we're saying is deny those loopholes and deductions to higher-income taxpayers so that more of their income is taxed, which has a broader base of taxation…” [emphasis mine]

There are $1.1 trillion worth of deductions out there? This is an interesting notion, seeing as before this nobody’s been able to mention any specific deduction that they are going to cut, and I can’t see them actually cutting the largest ones, because they are directly responsible for keeping Romney’s “income” taxes so damned low. At the same time, Romney has promised to explode Defense spending (graph, below, from The Rachel Maddow Show):

2012 - Romney Defence Spending.png

That’s about $350 billion in additional spending, on top of the vast defence budget that the US maintains (same as the rest of the world combined, if you didn’t already know that fact). Where’s that money going to come from? Oh, that’s right. “Deficits don’t matter…” (Dick Cheney) Also, bear in mind that the DoD hasn’t even asked for that raise. It has asked for pretty much what President Obama is prepared and willing to accept and sign into the budget.

Taibbi also takes a moment to discuss the much-discussed idea of media objectivity and how it is, perhaps going too far:

“Sometimes in journalism I think we take the objectivity thing too far. We think being fair means giving equal weight to both sides of every argument. But sometimes in the zeal to be objective, reporters get confused. You can't report the Obama tax plan and the Romney tax plan in the same way, because only one of them is really a plan, while the other is actually not a plan at all, but an electoral gambit.”

While you’re there, be sure to check out Taibbi’s response to the Presidential Debate and also why the 2012 Presidential Election should never be as close as it seems to be.

My favourite tweet from the VP Debate goes to Chris Rock:

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