Michele Bachmann, billed as a “Tea Party star,” appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America this morning and said some amazing things. But before I get to those amazing things, I want to show how George Stephanopoulos set up the interview.
It began with these revealing graphics created from the newest ABC News/Washington Post poll:
“Let’s talk about these poll numbers,” Stephanopoulos began, “that seems to be very strong support for President Obama’s position in this budget fight and a rebuke of the House Republican position.”
I think if you look at those numbers that would be accurate, but I don’t think that totally reflects where the American people are coming from. First of all, if we tax 100% of what everyone made who make $250,000 or more—everything they made—that would get us about 6 months worth of revenue—
STEPHANOPOULOS: Every bit helps, doesn’t it?
BACHMANN: Well, but it wouldn’t be enough. I think that’s what’s shocking. We could take 100% of all the profits of every Fortune 500 company and that would give us 40 days worth of revenue. We could also take 100% of everything that the billionaires in this country own and that wouldn’t be enough to solve the problem. So it’s really a matter of having everyone involved. Part of the problem, George, is that 47% of all Americans pay virtually no federal income tax. So, we need to broaden the base.
Let’s stop here and analyze what she has said so far:
♦ The ABC/Post poll numbers aren’t accurate because they don’t fit her view of what the American people believe.
♦ She dodges the issue of the wealthy paying more taxes by turning the conversation to an absurd idea of confiscating all profits and all wealth (no matter how accurate her numbers), a typical Rush Limbaugh trick.
♦ She argues for a tax increase on all Americans. Yes, she did, my teapartying friends. She just sat there in front of God and George Stephanopolous and said,
“We need to broaden the base.”
What base? The income tax base. Those deadbeat Americans who aren’t paying any federal income tax need to cough it up. How else do you “broaden” the income tax base without making people who aren’t paying income taxes pay them?
Let’s be clear: In response to a question about widespread support among Americans for raising taxes on the wealthy, a popular Tea Party Republican (potential) candidate for president insisted that instead of the wealthy, the non-wealthy ought to pay more taxes!
Nevermind that most of those who don’t pay federal income taxes are among those with low or moderate incomes, who nevertheless pay Social Security and Medicare and sales and property taxes.
But she wasn’t done:
STEPHANOPOULOS: You say that everyone has to be involved and I think that’s reflected also in those numbers. A lot of Americans look at those numbers and say it’s wrong for seniors who rely on Medicare to get cuts when wealthy people get tax cuts extended.
BACHMANN: Well, and I think that again President Obama was the one who was behind the tax cut extension bill in December. That was his position. And I would agree with senior citizens. We’re very concerned. And I think that’s why a better name maybe for the Paul Ryan budget would be the “55 and under plan.” Because no one 55 years of age or older will see any change whatsoever to Medicare. That’s an extremely crucial piece of information.
So, we don’t want any senior citizen to feel, or near senior citizen—I’m 55 years old, and so it wouldn’t apply to me either—and so there are no changes to people who are 55 years or older…
Besides the disgusting chutzpah of blaming Obama for the tax cut extension for the wealthy—when Bachmann and her Republican friends were holding hostage the unemployed and the economy last December—here we see, as Bachmann laid it out, the strategy for attacking Obama during the 2012 campaign season and defending the Republican “kill-Medicare and maim-Medicaid” budget plan:
♦ Claim Obama agrees that cutting taxes for the wealthy helps the economy since he signed off on those tax cuts.
♦ Claim that the Republican Party is really the party looking out for seniors since the GOP plan would leave a relatively generous Medicare benefit package in place until those seniors die, no matter how much hurt it places on those under 55. Thus, Bachmann labels this “an extremely crucial piece of information.”
It’s “crucial” because those 55 and older show up and vote in droves both in mid-term elections (around 60%) and presidential elections (around 70%). And those who show up tend to vote for Republicans (in 2010, 59% of them). In fact, in 2010, even though voters 65 and older make up only 13% of the population at large, they accounted for a staggering 21% of the 2010 electorate.
And the wealthy, of course, are part of the mix, too. A Project Vote study reported that in 2010:
The number of ballots cast by Americans from households making over $200,000 a year increased by 68 percent compared to 2006.
It’s not hard to understand how Republicans are planning their path to victory in 2012.
But despite Bachmann’s extremely crucial piece of information, Democrats have their own, which they need to broadcast night and day:
Republicans will stop at nothing to defend their rich constituents and they want to solve all of our budget problems on the backs of the poor, the disabled, and the working class.
Just think about this: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that those unfortunate folks under 55 today, if the GOP has its way with its budget plan, would be expected to fork over more than two-thirds of the cost for their health care by the year 2030, even while paying current Medicare benefits for those currently 55 and over.
If that crucial piece of information doesn’t get the young and non-wealthy out to vote next year, then nothing will.