Stephen Colbert had an incredible segment last night, where he basically destroyed the deficit hawks' argument, and even showed how unrealistic the very concept of Reaganomics and the "trickle down theory" is, as he used delicious satire to blast the Republicans for blocking unemployment benefits for millions of Americans, claiming they're concerned about adding to the deficit, while not caring about adding MUCH more to the deficit by keeping the Bush tax cuts for only the wealthiest of Americans.
Video and transcript below the fold.
To read his Wørd segment properly, the words that appear next to Stephen are shown here in parentheses, bolded and italicized.
Brace yourselves, because I have some terrible news. At the end of this year, President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest 3% of Americans are set to expire. I know, I know. Stay brave, stay brave. And what will happen if these tax cuts expire?
FOX NEWS HOST (7/24/2010): It's being called a ticking tax bomb.
LARRY KUDLOW (7/26/2010): Let's zero in on the upcoming tax bomb.
STEVE MOORE (7/22/2010): It's economically insane to be dropping this tax bomb...
A tax bomb!! Quick, rich people, to your tax shelters! It's why we have them. Thankfully, there may be a way to cut the right wire and disarm the tax bomb, and it's the subject of tonight's Wørd.
Folks, Republicans are in a bit of a pickle here, because these tax cuts will add $1 trillion to the federal deficit. Now, back in the Bush administration when these tax cuts were originally passed, Vice President Cheney famously said, "deficits don't matter". (Evidently deficits covered by Geneva Convention)
But these days, the GOP has changed its tune. (To theme from "Shaft")
JOE HECK (GOP candidate for NV-03, 7/27/2010): We can no longer afford the unsustainable deficits of this administration.
SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD, 7/28/2010): ...reduce the deficit...
SEN. MIKE CRAPO (R-ID, 6/30/2010): ...reduce the deficit...
REP. JEB HENSARLING (R-TX, 7/3/2010): ...reduce the deficit...
REP. CHARLES DJOU (R-HI, 7/27/2010): We're spending too much money. Deficits do matter.
Yes. Deficits do matter. And that is as true today as the last time a Democrat was in office. (Back then we called them surpluses) In fact, Republicans have put their deficit nuts on the table. By repeatedly filibustering benefits to 15 million unemployed Americans, because that would add $33 billion to the deficit. And that would just be passing that bill onto future generations. (Of Chinese)
So, arguing to add $1 trillion to the deficit to give these tax cuts to the wealthy makes it look hypocritical and heartless. (Instead of just hypocritical) Well, here's why they're not. Economists know tax cuts for wealthy Americans benefit everyone. It's even got a name. ("Self-serving rationalization")
It's called the "trickle down theory". Here's how it works. Let's say I'm in the top 3% of wage earners. Because I am. And this Bud Light Lime is a refreshing tax cut. With lime. (Tastes great, less filing) Now, the bigger my tax cut is, the more money I can pour into the system.
Then, very soon, the benefits will work their way through the system, and trickle down. I mean, like a racehorse. Then, the other 97% of poorer Americans are welcome to have as much of that as they can collect. (Let them eat urinal cake)
Now, Stephen, you're saying, wouldn't giving your bottle to the unemployed stimulate the economy better? No. Just ask Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (UT).
HATCH (6/16/2010): You know, we should not be giving cash to people who basically are just going to go blow it on drugs.
Right you are, sir. Those unemployed people should have to give urine samples, and I think I know where they can get one. (With lime) The point is, trickle down is eventually good for everyone. (According to R. Kelly) But, in the meantime, here's how we help the unemployed. Give the tax cuts to the wealthy on the condition that they use that money to purchase the unemployed. (Family packs available) Now, I'm not sure what we do with them, because a lot of those people seem to sit around all day. Maybe we'll race them for sport. (Chasing mechanical sandwich) Or, we could selectively breed them until they're small enough to fit into our Louis Vuitton bags. (Poor-Meranians)
So, Mr. Obama, you must not let the Bush tax cuts expire, because this economy has to change. And the best way to do that is to leave things exactly the way they are.
There you go. Stephen dares to go where few mainstream journalists dare tread, mocking the very idea of Reaganomics. Wish more people would do that. It builds upon a point Paul Krugman has made before on the show, that it doesn't really "trickle down", because the wealthy tend to hoard their money, or invest it, instead of spending it to boost the economy.
Also from yesterday, Stephen did break character when he tried to look at the Tennessee gubernatorial Republican primary. Two words: Basil Marceaux.
And the Daily Show had a segment featuring homophobic sociopath Scott Lively, who claims Hitler and the Nazis were all gay, and that's why gays cannot be allowed to serve in the military. Jason Jones had the honor of doing the nailing.