Maddow at Most Absurd: Describes Tax Cuts in New Jersey as New Spending

Somewhere the ghost of George Orwell cringes in recognition.

In her eagerness to please, Rachel Maddow occasionally collides headlong into immutable facts of economic reality. To wit, cutting taxes does not constitute new government spending, at least outside of doctrinaire Marxist analysis.

Here's MSNBC's Little Miss Sunshine giving her two-cents' worth on this Tuesday night (video below page break) --

Anybody who reports that Republican governors and legislatures are taking drastic measures to close their states' budget gaps is not reporting this truthfully. In New Jersey, where the governor's cuts to education from last year were just ruled unconstitutional today, in New Jersey the justification for those cuts was of course that New Jersey's broke, right? What does Gov. Christie want to do to fix that problem of New Jersey being broke? He wants the state to spend $200 million a year that it is not spending already to cut taxes on estates and corporations.

Maddow criticizes unspecified reporting in the media as not being done "truthfully" -- followed by her engaging in the same practice she condemns. Operative sentence here -- "He wants the state to spend $200 million a year that it is not spending already to cut taxes on estates and corporations."

I'm reminded of Orwell's observation in his essay "Politics and the English Language," written in 1946, that "in our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. ... Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness."

Maddow achieves an Orwellian trifecta here - euphemism (tax cuts as new spending), question-begging ("that it is not spending already ..."?) and sheer cloudy vagueness (as evident by Maddow stumbling over the gratuitous "that it is not spending already").

Maddow's claim, streamlined to its dishonest essence -- He wants the state to spend $200 million a year to cut taxes on estates and corporations. Absent its intentionally vague qualifier, the sentence collapses under its own contradiction. More accurately, Christie wants to prevent the state from spending $200 million a year by keeping the money from being collected as taxes to begin with.

The only way Maddow's claim makes sense would be if Christie wanted to cut $200 million in taxes annually while maintaining the same level of state spending. But this clearly isn't the case, as shown by Maddow pointing out that Christie cut education spending last year. By doing this, and other measures as well, Christie deprives liberals like Maddow of criticizing him for tax cuts that aren't "paid for." What do they do in response? Label tax cuts as new spending, since the notion of shrinking bloated government programs or eliminating them altogether is unthinkable to left wingers.

In fact, the source cited here by Maddow, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, states this in the same excerpt cited by Maddow --

At the same time, the governor has proposed substantial pay decreases for state employees, applied for a waiver from federal Medicaid rules that would likely reduce significantly the number of people with access to the program, and other spending cuts.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts