Dummy of the Day

Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.), the first Dummy of the Day for 2010.

Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.), the first Dummy of the Day for 2010.

Our first Dummy of the Day for 2010 comes to us courtesy of The New York Times, in a report on the millions of Americans whose sole “income” consists of food stamps.

The NYT reported collecting income data on food-stamp recipients in 31 states, accounting for about 60 percent of the national caseload. “On average,” the NYT said, “18 percent listed cash income of zero in their most recent monthly filings. Projected over the entire caseload, that suggests six million people in households with no income. About 1.2 million are children.”

And what, pray tell, would Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.) do to solve the problem? Why, repeal all corporate and individual income taxes, payroll taxes, self-employment taxes, capital-gains taxes, estate taxes and gift taxes — and replace it with a revenue-neutral personal consumption tax, the “FairTax.”

Quoth Linder: “We’re at risk of creating an entire class of people, a subset of people, just comfortable getting by living off the government. You don’t improve the economy by paying people to sit around and not work. You improve the economy by lowering taxes so small businesses will create more jobs.”

Yeah, that’s just what Isabel Bermudez is doing. When she’s not just comfortable getting by living off the government, sitting around and not working, this victim of the housing bubble distributes résumés by the ream and supports two daughters on no cash and food stamps.

“I went from making $180,000 to relying on food stamps,” she told the NYT. “Without that government program, I wouldn’t be able to feed my children.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Dummy of the Day: John Linder. I hope he was better at pulling teeth out of rednecks’ jawbones than he has been at pulling his own head out of his ass.

14 Responses to “Dummy of the Day”

  1. Larry T. Says:

    Linder’s not alone out there in Dummyland, our own congressional bozo Steve King is a big proponent of the so-called “fair tax” which seems to shield most of the rich folk’s revenue from taxation while taking a big share of the yearly income of the average Joe Sixpack. This same bozo’s aide in the SUX office explained to me once that taxpayer monies should not be wasted on healthcare for those who “burn out their brains with dope”. But Rush Windbag was recently treated in Hawaii just the same! US voters did some good things at the end of 2008, who knows what they’ll do in 2010? With just 20% of Americans willing to admit being Republicans I’m hoping for a bigger-than-ever majority for the other party in Congress — but I’m not getting my hopes up– these tea party nutjobs are making a lot of noise, my hope is despite all their histrionics, showing up at the polls to actually vote is too much trouble for them.

  2. Charley Auer Says:

    A friend of mine from Montrose, CO has a bumper sticker that reads: MY BORDER COLLIE IS SMARTER THAN YOUR HONOR STUDENT I think that sums up too much of Congress.

  3. James Says:

    Inquiring minds want to know what a “subset of people” is?

  4. Jeff Cozad Says:

    Yeah… Steve King is a nut job that makes me sad about living in Iowa. I find this statement in his biography from his web site to be telling – “The Fifth District ranks first in the nation for hogs and pigs and is one of the most productive areas in the nation for renewable fuels.”. I’m think that Mr. King is certainly spreading the “renewable fuel”.

  5. Jeff in PetroMetro Says:

    I have a friend who spends some time each year in some really dangerous parts of Africa. These places don’t have much in the way of formal tax structures, don’t provide any kind of social safety net, and everyone carries multiple weapons at all times. There is no formal healthcare. Religious beliefs are strong. There may be some rules on the books, but enforcement is random, so one could say that there is a great deal of personal freedom. Natural resources are taken without regard to impact on the nearby communities or environment. Every man truly is for himself. Every moment is shaped by market forces (mostly bartering). Paternalism is the only real micro social structure. If enough people end up at the same place at the same time with the same goals, something like feudalism takes shape (kind of like current corporate America?).

    My friend describes these places as 14th century. The only differences are that horses have been replaced by small four-wheel-drive Toyotas and most folks carry AK-47s instead of swords. But if one doesn’t have a gun, it’s still perfectly acceptable to hack one’s enemy with a machete.

    Sounds like the ideal Republican philosophy (heavy religion, light government, lots of personal responsibility, size matters) carried out to its ultimate result.

    Any current Republican chickenhawks want to try their ideals out somewhere? I’ve got a few places in mind. The only rule is you have to do it yourself, use your own resources. You can’t send the Marines in and spend my tax money.

  6. steve o Says:

    Linder’s going to have some stiff competition. Georgia does it’s best to put the looniest from both the extreme left and extreme right into office. The good news is, they can just pass the DOTD trophy around the hallway and save you a bunch in postage.

  7. steve o Says:

    Only 20% of Americans will claim to be Republicans … but don’t let that go to your head. If anyone can lose a battle of wits between unarmed opponents, it’s the Dems.

  8. WriterJoe Says:

    Don’t you love it when some lame-o who gets the best healthcare in the world, a salary close to $200K annually plus living expenses, travel, a staff and all the creature comforts tries to take off on someone “living comfortably” on food stamps? Problem is that those 20 percent mentioned above are the ones who consistently and reliably turn out to vote these dummies into office again and again and again.

    The other problem is too many people think the problem with Congress is that “my guy is pretty good, it’s all those other guys.” Nope, it’s your guy, too.

    Mencken was right: In a democracy the voters get the government they deserve, good and hard.

  9. khal spencer Says:

    I’ve watched the Donks pull defeat from the jaws of victory before (2000, 2004 come to mind), which is why I sweated the ’08 election until the deed was done. So I do worry about that, Steve.

    Esp. given the intelligence level of the increasingly clueless public (and not just the right wing wackos)–we generally get the government we deserve.

  10. swell Says:

    I nominate Representative F. James Sensenbrenner (R – WI). He’s carved up his district like a half completed crossword puzzle and keeps getting elected.

  11. Jon Paulos Says:

    Ever wonder where these people get these notions? I’ve got a theory about these kind of people. I just waded through the New Yorker’s profile of Mr. Mackey, co-founder and now chairman of the board of Whole Foods, and notable laissez-faire-ist. None of these people spouting the personal responsibility “let capitalism free” message has ever been on the wrong side of the dividing line between haves and have-nots, unless they were slumming when young. Not one of them has ever been foreclosed on,had to sell the house because they couldn’t afford the mortgage, had a significant health care problem they couldn’t pay for, had children they struggled to feed, had food insecurity, etc. None of them has ever needed food stamps. Not one. John Linder, Steve King, Charles Grassley, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachmann, Mitch McConnell, etc. Any thoughts?

  12. swell Says:

    Yep, Jon. Thoughts.
    Never had to go without is the defining factor of most of our legislators. Bar-hopping in college was their touch to the little people for the most part. Poor people can’t get elected, and “middle class” people can get elected only with sponsors, usually big money hiding behind free speech legislation. Fear, intimidation, and control of ‘le purse strings just about ties up the voting choices. Oh, their families get cancer once in a while too, but they won’t lose a home for their family, cars, and be denied medical procedures halfway in. Gotta stop here, too close to home.

  13. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    There’s a mile-wide streak of good old-fashioned Puritanism in this country (surprise, surprise). The haves consider themselves blessed by God, and should you have not, well — what does that say about your popularity with the Throne? If the Lord has declined to smile upon thee, why should we? Saves a guy a lot of skull sweat, doesn’t it? Otherwise one might be forced to consider the fundamental inequities of capitalism, if only to stay sane.

    It’s easy to see how this notion perpetuates itself. Ever notice how few of our noisiest “public servants” have ever held jobs in their much-beloved private sector? Most of ’em have been latched onto the public sugar tit since they were whelped; it’d take a mighty long lever to pry the sonsabitches off of it, too, because they lack any marketable skills and they know it. No wonder they think wealth comes from God. They think you dig potatoes out of gravy.

    I’m no better, being the product of honky middle-class privilege whose minimal suffering has been entirely self-inflicted. When I stepped in shit, it was because I was too stupid and/or stubborn to change direction. Damn the turd-pedoes, full speed ahead!

    But I try very hard to remember this and make little payments here and there against my massive karmic debt when I’m not otherwise occupied running my mouth. ’Cause some folks aren’t fucking up, they’re being fucked over.

  14. James Says:

    Amen Patrick! As a wise man once observed: “It is better to live on your feet than to die on your knees.”

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