Rich Lowry is a lying asshole. It shouldn’t be surprising—he’s been a lying asshole for years—but I bring it up again because this man, this small, small man, had the gall to lie about the single greatest problem facing American society today. Indeed, it is a problem so well documented, so palpably real and true, that I’m still amazed he did it.
Last week, Lowry wrote a column called “Obama’s War on Inequality,” in which he claimed not only that the President was lying about wealth inequality in our country, but that it’s not that even big of a deal.
REALLY? Any number of prominent sociologists and economists have demonstrated through myriad sets of data that wealth inequality certainly exists, and moreover, that it’s a BIG PROBLEM. Most notable are Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, Raj Chetty, Janet Gornick, Michael Norton and Dan Ariely, and Robert Reich, but they’re joined by legions of others, almost all from highly respected universities, as opposed to the private think tanks the right relies on to lie to people using statistics.
I’ve written at length about wealth inequality and the statistics that show how it is impacting our country, but two good resources come to mind if you still have any doubts:
1) American Inequality in Six Charts—a great overview and explanation of six different charts that show wealth inequality in different ways;
2) Wealth Inequality in America—this video lays out the shocking truth of just how unequal things are—a great visual piece that is clear and easy to understand.
Of course, if you’re still not sure, just type in “wealth inequality in US” into Google, and you can find any number of other resources that confirm, discuss, and analyze wealth distribution and inequality in our country.
Yet, despite the mountains of evidence that back Obama’s recent speech on inequality, Lowry claims the President is relying on “dubious research and tendentious analysis.” He goes on to criticize Obama for using only “one study” as the foundation for his speech (a lie), and then proceeds to make his case that income inequality isn’t really a big deal by vaguely referencing studies by “a Harvard economist” who he fails to name or hyperlink to, and “a University of Arizona professor”, who’s also not named, nor cited. In fact, the only person Lowry does actually cite for evidence (without hyperlinking, of course), is Scott Winship, a paid hack for the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a right wing think tank. How right wing? Well, the top story on one of their website: “E21—Economic Policies for the 21st Century” was “Many Women Don’t Want to be CEO—and That’s OK.” Most of the rest of their articles were either attacking Obamacare or Paul Krugman.
But to be fair, I went ahead and read Winship’s criticism of wealth inequality studies, and what I found there was extremely telling. His main bitch was that people studying inequality weren’t taking into account “unemployment insurance, Social Security, and welfare,” or “food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid.” Huh? But why would that make such a difference? Is it possibly because, Scott and Rich, so many people in the America have jobs that pay such shitty wages that they qualify for all manner of assistance via the social safety net?
The takeaway then, is that Winship (assuming he’s telling the truth, which, as you’ll see, is questionable), and consequently Lowry, want to argue that wealth inequality isn’t really that bad, because at the lower end of the income spectrum, people can just rely on the government to subsidize their salaries. The irony’s as thick as their skulls. After all, aren’t all of those social programs supposed to be “evil, nanny-state crutches that have lulled the bla—I mean the poor into lives of dependency?”
Frankly, it’s absurd. And what’s even more frightening to consider is that, as Winship makes painfully clear, the poor NEED those programs to survive; those social programs make up a huge portion of the wealth of the bottom 20-40% of all Americans, because they work at jobs that don’t pay a living wage. Remove programs such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, and Social Security, as many in the GOP would have us do, and there would be people literally starving and dying in the streets—even people that worked 40 hours a week at full time jobs.
Oh, and I should also point out that it’s hard to know whether to even trust Winship’s data, because he just flat out lies in the op-ed I hyperlinked to earlier, claiming that income taxes “have become much more progressive since 1979.” What an absolute fucking horrible lie! In 1979, the top tax income tax bracket was 70 percent. Since then it’s gone down substantially—it’s currently 39.6%—nearly half of what it was in 1979. So quite honestly, if he’s biased enough to make a claim that is that bad of a lie, it calls into question the validity and veracity of the rest of his argument.
Now granted, Winship and Lowry are both paid to do this—to advocate policies that either serve or protect the rich in some way—but if you look at right wing hackery in total, it’s come to a pretty dismal and sad state.
I mean, just look at their positions on nearly every issue: against raising the minimum wage—wrong, for many reasons, as Krugman points out. Repeal Obamacare and replace it with… who knows? Give us a better policy and go for it, but for now: wrong. Against cutting greenhouse gas emissions and investing in renewable energy in the face of growing evidence that climate change is happening, and it’s going to fuck us if we don’t do anything about it—wrong. Against universal background checks for gun buyers, or any other reasonable law that restricts the wild west type of society we live in—wrong. Against investing in education or infrastructure, even though both are in bad need of repair, restructuring, and expansion. Wrong.
And then, there are the things they say they’re for, but only because it sounds good during campaigns—they’re not really serious about actually doing them. Take for example, cutting tax loopholes, exemptions, and subsidies and lowering the corporate and personal income tax rates, which was one of the main policy proposals Mitt Romney ran on in 2012. But then, shortly after being re-elected, Obama said OK, let’s do it, and… nothing happened. They also said they wanted immigration reform after they got their asses kicked in 2012 (because the only people that voted for them were white), but then when the Senate passed a very good and comprehensive immigration bill, they couldn’t get the Elephants in the House to back it, because their base is tacitly racist in two ways: 1) they hate Obama in a way that goes well beyond anything political—he’s the antichrist, a Marxist, moaist, socialist, fascist—anything he’s for, their against, even if it was their idea in the first place (like the tax thing), and 2) they believe in a world view where our country is going into debt because we’re paying all kinds of money into welfare and social programs to support mostly black and brown people. Of course, this has nothing to do with the truth (we’re in debt because our military budget is astronomical and we don’t collect enough taxes from the top 1%), or reality, but then, there are lots of people like Lowry and Winship and Limbaugh and Hannity and O’Reilly, etc., that are paid quite handsomely to make sure all those rural, southern, ignorant whites stay that way.
Come to think of it, is there ANY policy Republicans are actually in favor of—and really mean it? Oh, that’s right, anything that has to do with abortion/rape, and restricting voting rights in any way possible for crass political gain.
OK, we’ve come a long way from income inequality, but I guess the point I wanted to make was that whatever legitimate criticisms people have about Obamacare, and to whatever extent the Democrats are beholden to the corrupt system of bribery (lobbying) that exists in Washington, at least that party recognizes the real problems we face as a nation, income and wealth inequality chief among them. The Republicans, on the other hand, are an absolute fucking dumpster fire of a political party. They’re against nearly every sort of policy that would actually help ordinary people to the point where they employ thousands of liars to deny, through paid, dickless shills like Lowry in every medium available, that there’s even a problem.
Look, it’s one thing to make an invalid argument in a passionate and honest way, but once one realizes the truth of the matter, there is no more pretense—no more pretending. At that point, it’s just deceitful, callous, and to put not so fine a point on it: evil. And that’s what these right wing guys like Lowry are—they’re evil. They’re lying assholes who obfuscate the truth in such a way that problems—real and dangerous problems like income inequality—aren’t acknowledged by one of our two main political parties.
So I’ll end with this: Karma’s a HUGE FUCKING BITCH, Rich Lowry. If there’s an afterlife, you’re going straight to hell, along with Limbaugh, all the other right wing hacks, and all your little lapdog trolls too. Because you are bad people. Evil people.
That’s all I have to say about that.