Peggy Noonan isn't even trying any more


As her latest Wall Street Journal column attests, Peggy Noonan, the loyal GOP writer, cannot be bothered with facts or common sense when arguing her points. In this case it's being in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts for the very rich. Noonan also cannot be bothered with polling. Apparently she just knows the way Americans feel; and doesn't need silly surveys to tell her that:

Here is a reading on the psychology of higher national taxes at this particular moment. The American people know, and have made clear they know, that the great issue is spending.

According to Noonan, spending, and indirectly the deficit, represent "the great issue." The American people know that, says Noonan.

Except that, apparently they don't actually think that.

Fact: A handful of recent polls (CBS, CNN, Pew Research Center) indicate that in terms of the top priority facing the country today, managing the deficit averages a response rate of about 10 percent. It's certainly not a top priority and it's not "the great issue." But Noonan wants to pretend it is, so she ignores the polling and makes her own grand pronouncements.

And that's what she does here, arguing Obama should extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone, including the very rich:

He should confound everyone, and give a headache to his foes, by bowing to the spirit of 2010 and accepting the Bush tax cuts, top to bottom. It would be electrifying. It would seem responsive, and impress the center.

How that would impress "the center" if the American center is opposed to the GOP plan to extend Bush tax cuts for the very rich, Noonan never explains. Again, she just knows.

Meanwhile, behold the other argument Noonan makes for continuing deep tax cuts for the nation's most wealthy:

If we instead refuse to raise taxes right now, we will be setting a stage in which cuts in federal spending are the only path. Cutting spending will seem inevitable, like something that will actually happen. This will give rise to hope. There's a way out! We can do it!

Let's just take a moment to marvel at Noonan's loopy logic and ponder what it means for a political and media movement when one of its supposedly serious thinkers traffics in nonsense like this.

Noonan claims that if the tax cuts are extended, tax cuts that will add $500 billion to the deficit, it will force the government to make cuts in federal spending. Indeed, "cutting spending will seem inevitable," Noonan writes hopefully.

Remember, these tax cuts have been in place for eight years. But if Noonan thinks extending them will suddenly make federal spending cuts inevitable, then why weren't cuts made over the last eight years?

Earth to Noonan: The Bush tax cuts were enacted in 2002. Between 2002 and 2010 there were no significant spending "cuts." In fact, federal spending during those eight years, most of which were overseen by Republicans, exploded and helped createtoday's crippling debt.

So, if the Bush tax cuts didn't prompt spending cuts between 2002 and 2010, what logic is Nooan using to suggest that extending them will magically spark spending cuts in the near future?

Like I said, she's not even trying anymore.

Wall Street Journal
Peggy Noonan
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