Interesting questions have been raised about whether Mitt "retrocatively retired" from Bain so he could keep his wife's health insurance coverage while she underwent treatment for MS. The Romney campaign won't respond, which gives us a license to speculate. Of course, Romney is one of the few people who could actually afford to pay for MS treatment out-of-pocket. But given his aggressive efforts at tax avoidance, one suspects that he doesn't like to part with money if he can help it. Unless he's buying a car elevator for a ridiculous beach house.
This one was informed by this recent NYT article about a lovely new bipartisan plan to reduce the deficit. As though we're going to make up for the Bush tax cuts and trillion-dollar wars by selling off post offices. It's a market absolutist's dream come true.
The attack plan shown on the computer screen in the third panel is taken directly from the war room in "Dr. Strangelove." At least one reader thought I was depicting a military strike on Canada. It does look a bit like Canada, I have to admit. But fear not, northerly neighbors! That general is still fighting the Cold War. You're safe.
I drew this cartoon at the home of "Troubletown" cartoonist Lloyd Dangle while on a recent trip to the Bay Area for a comic convention. Lloyd, who recently retired his strip, did not seem to envy me one bit as I burned the candle at both ends to make my deadline.
There's this persistent idea that government spending is akin to decadent and frivolous consumer spending. People speak of "greedy government bureaucrats" lusting after tax dollars as though they were hedonists seeking their next shopper's high. As though the mundane work of keeping the streetlights on or preventing sewage treatment tanks from overflowing was like buying a Roomba.
I'm not saying there's no government waste. The fact that Medicare can't negotiate with pharmaceutical companies over the price of drugs is a big stupid waste of taxpayer money. So is outsourcing the work of the U.S. military to highly-paid mercenaries. And yet we don't hear the self-proclaimed deficit hawks screeching about these hardworking-taxpayer-dollar-suckers. Somebody's buying expensive toys, all right.
I realize I say this a lot, but I'm more frightened by the state of the nation than ever before. American politics have always been brutish and ugly, but the bottom has completely fallen out. Republican extremists are running the country like a James Bond villain threatening nuclear war if he doesn't get his ransom, but there's no 007 to save the day. Obama throws up his hands. Beltway pundits blame "Washington." The hypocritcal lack of concern about deficits under Bush goes unmentioned.
This is not politics-as-usual. As Joe Nocera described it in the NYT: "Our enemies could not have designed a better plan to weaken the American economy than this debt-ceiling deal." And now they're onto the FAA. I don't see how this situation gets any better.
I don't have as much time to write about this under-the-radar issue as I'd like, but you can bone up over at the Wonk Room. For further reading, there's also this WaPo article and Sunlight Foundation piece.
To its credit, the Obama administration opposes the tax holiday, which was tried under the Bush administration with unimpressive job-creation results (let's just say it ain't the WPA). And it is a holiday, with rates dropping from 35% to around 5%. Would that we self-employed mortals had lobbyists fighting for such a sweet deal. TAX HOLIDAY FOR CARTOONISTS: BRING THE MONEY BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD!