Friday, August 19, 2011

Stewart exposes Rightists’ hateful hypocrisy towards the poor

| »
Jon Stewart (host, Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show’)
Jon Stewart

Last night, the consistently (and possibly even increasingly) brilliant Jon Stewart of The Daily Show spent a segment exposing the naked contempt exuded by the Right towards the poor and disenfranchised, first by pointing out their hypocrisy in condemning revenue increases whilst cheerleading for slashing entitlement funding, and following that up by simply showing as many examples of hate-filled anti-poor rhetoric as can be fitted into a television segment without going into overtime. The two parts, below.

Part 1 (4:48):

Part 2 (6:32):

My transcript: (click the [+/-] to expand/collapse →) []

Part 1:

JON STEWART: There is an ongoing argument in this very country about how best to close the enormous deficit that we have incurred. Republicans have proposed doing it entirely through spending cuts, whereas the Democrats have bravely fought back, insisting we do it almost entirely in spending cuts.

Well, this week, bizarrely uneccentric billionaire Warren Buffett entered the fray.


REPORTER: The billionaire says, “While most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. […] My friends and I have been coddled long enough.

WARREN BUFFET: I pay a lower tax rate on much of my income than my cleaning lady does.


STEWART: Though, to be fair, Warren Buffet’s cleaning lady is also a billionaire.

Warren Buffet’s op-ed was a thoughtful treatise on the advantages the super-wealthy currently enjoy at the hands of the tax codes, or – to put that another way …


FOX HOST 1: Up next tonight: Warren Buffet, class warfare.

NEIL CAVUTO: More class warfare from an affable billionaire who should stop assuming the rich are all billionaires.

FOX HOST 2: Warren Buffet wrote an op-ed. […] Is he completely a socialist?


STEWART: [incensed] Is Warren Buffet a socialist? You really have no [fucking] clue what socialism is, do you? “Hey, that George Clooney, always banging different broads. What a queer!”

So, closing a few corporate tax loopholes and returning the top marginal tax rate to the 90s’ economic boom time levels is class warfare. And if there’s one thing the rich have learned, it’s that class warfare is hell.


LAURA INGRAHAM: He invoked the corporate-jet class, so that’s a whole new category of people to demonize, right?

FOX HOST 3: [?] the rich, it’s their fault.

FOX GUEST 1: Barack Obama’s tax on these evil, disgusting, corporate-jet owners.

ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Demonizing the rich as evil, as lazy, as inheritors of their wealth.

FOX HOST 3: He say, “They’re fat cats.”

SEN. RUBIO: It’s disappointing. It’s class warfare and it’s the kind of language that you would expect from a leader of a third-world country, not the President of the United States.


STEWART: It’s true, because the United States of America is not a third-world country by any measure … except perhaps income inequality, where we rank … worse than the Ivory Coast, worse than Cameroon – 64! Ah! In your face, Uruguay and Jamaica and Uganda! … Uganda? Yeah. Uganda. Keep trying, Rwanda.

And by the way, not only is closing corporate loopholes […] and raising the marginal tax rate class warfare, it totally wouldn’t even work.


CNN GUEST 2: You can tax rich people all you want, and you’re not gonna solve our problem.

SEN. RUBIO: The idea that if we raise taxes – as the President said, on millionaires and billionaires, raise taxes on oil companies, raise taxes on owners of private jets – that that, somehow, is gonna make a difference.

CHRIS EDWARDS: The President wants to raise the top two income tax rates, which would raise about $700 billion over 10 years. You know what? That’s only a tiny fraction of the federal government’s deficit.


STEWART: $700 billion over ten years? [obscene dismissive gesture] That’s less money than Warren Buffet’s cleaning lady pulls out of his shower drain every week.

Part 2:

STEWART: So, $700 billion of raised revenues over 10 years ain’t even worth the effort. I assume these folks have the same “why bother?” attitude towards lower-level spending cuts.


SARAH PALIN: National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, all those kind of frivolous things […] those should all be on the chopping block.

FOX GUEST 3: Federal employees don’t pay for parking, so […] that’d give them $140 million.

SEAN HANNITY: He doesn’t have to waste your tax dollars and travel around in a $1.1 million luxury liner.

FOX HOST 1: Why are we spending $6 million – why are spending $1 million on the first lady?

FOX GUEST 4: You gotta start somewhere, even when we talk about NPR, a million dollars here, that’s a million dollars.


STEWART: Oh, so when you cut it, it’s a million dollars! But when you tax it, it’s, eh, $700 billion. I mean, all we’d have to do to raise $700 billion dollars is cut 700,000 NPRs. It’s almost too easy.

But if it’s revenue you want, there does happen to be another place, instead of the rich, that you can look for it.


CAVUTO: Warren Buffet, writing how the rich could pay more taxes, but saying not a word about how half of American households pay no income taxes at all.

FOX HOST 3: Is that fair, when half the population pays absolutely nothing?

SEN. CORNYN: 51% – that’s a majority of American households – paid no income tax in 2009. Zero. Zip. Nada.

NEAL BOORTZ: Many of them get so much money in tax credits that it wipes out any social security taxes or Medicare taxes they’re paying. They are absolutely on a free ride.


STEWART: Ya year that, poors? The free ride esta over. So it looks like you’ll be walking to work … assuming you have a job. Chances are, you probably don’t have a job. So, why are you asking us for a ride?

So, the solution to our economic problem isn’t taxing the rich. It’s …



MICHELE BACHMANN: Everyone needs to pay something.

CAVUTO: Before you start demanding one group pay more, maybe get everyone to get skin in the game?


STEWART: That’s the problem with poor people. They still have some of their skin.

But you know what? Maybe they’re right. Maybe Fox is right. Maybe the bottom %50 of Americans, while they already pay [?] and payroll and Medicare taxes, do need to pay more. I mean, they can spare it. After all, they control 2.5% of our nation’s wealth.

Oh, you know what? This is a pretty easy calculation. We can do this. The bottom 50% is just simple math. In dollar figures, the bottom 50% of this country have $1.45 trillion dollars in everything they own on this Earth. So, let’s see. They have $1.45 trillion. What do you say we take, I dunno, half of that. That’d be … well, look at this: $700 billion.

… Why does that figure sound so familiar to me?


CHRIS EDWARDS: The President wants to raise the top two income tax rates, which would raise about $700 billion over 10 years. You know what? That’s only a tiny fraction of the federal government’s deficit.


STEWART: So, raising the income tax rate on the top 2% of Americans would raise $700 billion, but taking half of everything the bottom 50% have in this country would do the same. I see the problem. We need to take all of what the bottom 50% have. All of it! It’s the only way to make a significant dent. Now, we’re up to $1.4 trillion, and if you’re worried about the poors, don’t! Because they’re defined by the Census as a family of four making $22,350 a year. Four! $22,350 a year! They’ll be fine.


FOX HOST 3: Poor families in the United States are not what they used to be.

ROBERT RECTOR: When you look at the actual living conditions of the 43 million people that this Census says are poor, you see that, in fact, they have all these modern conveniences.

FOX HOST 3: 99.6% of them have a refrigerator.


STEWART: 99% have refrigerators! You food-chilling mother[fuckers]! How dare you! That’s why it makes complete sense that the word ‘poor’ in that graphic is in quotations. These people aren’t poor, they’re “poor”.

I’m sure the other 1% of those people who don’t have refrigerators don’t have them, not because they don’t have food, but because they’re always ordering room service. These “poor” people are living like they just won a showcase showdown!


FOX HOST 3: 81% have a microwave. 78% have air conditioning. 63% have cable TV. 54% have cell-phones. 48% have a coffee maker. 25% have a dishwasher.


STEWART: 25% have a dishwasher?! Although, to be fair, after a 12-hour shift of washing dishes, the last thing you want is to bring your work home with you.

So, you see, the problem with increasing the marginal tax rate on the rich and closing some corporate tax loopholes isn’t that it engages in class warfare. It’s that it’s fighting on the wrong side of the war.


FOX GUEST 5: It is all-out war on the productive class in our society for the benefit of the moocher class.

JOHN STOSSEL: The makers and the takers.

BILL O’REILLY: They wanna take it from somebody else.

INGRAHAM: Everyone’s jumping on the wagon, no-one wants to pull.

FOX GUEST 6: Parasites we have out there, depending on government.

NE AG JON BRUNING: The raccoons. They’re not stupid, they’re gonna do the easy way if we make it easy for ’em, just like welfare recipients all across America.

ANN COULTER: Welfare will create generations of utterly irresponsible animals.


STEWART: Yeah! [Fuck] those people … the poor.

Heh heh heh … it’s funny ’cause they compare hard-working, disenfranchised people who rely on government funds to stay alive to scum-sucking animals. Oh, how ever apropos.

Edit (11/16/11 3:18 PM) – Added “Poverty” label and italicized “apropos”.