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It came to my attention that Mr. Ed Martin, GOP House candidate for the 3rd district,  was all excited that folks 24th State were reading SMP:

RT @24thstate: ShowMeProgress Showing Lack Of Economic Education

I assumed that he was thrilled that 24th State wanted to participate in a  substantive discussion of economic issues that conservatives have so far reduced to slogans and generalities. (You don’t believe me? Take a look at Roy Bunt’s jobs plan – not much there to back up his ideas list of standard GOP talking points.) After following the link to the 24th State post, though, I changed my mind about the reason for Mr. Ed’s enthusiasm.

If Mr. Ed were interested in substance, he couldn’t have been that taken with the 24th stater’s smug response to a recent post by Sarah Jo in which she offers evidence that the the low tax, low regulation elixir that the GOP snake oil salesmen are peddling hasn’t racked up such a great record in the past when it comes to the welfare of anyone but billionaires and corporations. 24th State seems to think that Sarah Jo is claiming that “rich people cause depressions.”  Sheesh! Somebody needs to work on their reading comprehension skills.

Apart from demonstrating a common right-wing misunderstanding of JFF’s “supply-side” tax cuts, our 24th Stater mostly contents himself with several convoluted ad hominem assertions. No doubt it’s this exercise in deflection that has the slippery Mr. Ed so excited – evading real issues seems to be something of an art form among GOPers.

Progressives, if this post were to be believed, are academic types whom Mr. Ed’s blogging friend characterizes as economic failures too naive to understand the difference between the “rich,” who are the “producers,”  and the “super-rich” whom he insists are – wait for it – Democrats. Evidently our confrere on the right has never heard of the Koch brothers, Richard Mellon Scaife, Phillip Anschutz, Missouri’s own Rex Sinquefield, and a host of Republican billionaire donors who keep the struggle against us ineffectual, progressive failures perking along.

Of course, no one denies that there are Democratic “super-rich” too. You can tell them from the other kind because they’re usually willing to pay their fair share. Shucks, some Democratic billionaires actually campaign in favor of tax policies that work for everybody, not just their own financial class.  

While this crude stereotyping suggests the resentment of intellectual elites that pols like Mr. Ed encourage, fanciful speculation about Sarah Jo’s mental life and that of progressives in general does not refute the points she makes. It does, however, raise an interesting question that speaks to the point of the post. Who in this economically complicated world should be labeled a “producer”? If creating jobs is the criteria, then government at all levels qualifies, yet the very idea seems to horrify Tea Party conservatives.

As for academia, Mr. Ed, as a person who wants to represent Missourians in Congress, should know about the role of academic technology transfer in fueling the prosperity of many of those entrepreneurial “producers” with whom his 24th state surrogate wants to identify the Tea Party “leadership.” Academic technology transfer is the process whereby academic research is spun-off into the private sector, and which, in 2008 alone, was responsible for the creation of 595 new companies and the introduction of 648 new commercial products – and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. So, you tell me, are academics also producers?

I also wonder if Mr. Ed thinks that the folks who work in the jobs that he believes Tea Party “producers” produce are producers as well?  Certainly, if it weren’t for them, business men of all types would be up the creek. They’re one of the groups that Sarah Jo focused on, arguing persuasively that they’re also the individuals who lose in each iteration of the laissez-faire capitalism that Mr. Ed champions.

In a statement that I am sure leaves Mr. Ed all starry-eyed, the 24th Stater asserts, speaking of his cohort of choice, those Tea Party leaders who own or hope to own small businesses:

… none of us are the super rich.  Heck, none of us are the rich.  Some of us are downright poor, today, but we won’t be tomorrow.

Hate to be a downer here, but I’ve got some news for this aspiring Tea Party capo. If he gets his way in the next two elections, his future may not be as rosy as he hopes. Nothing more or less than the Bush economic policies of lower taxes and minimal regulation are on offer from the GOP and by extension, the Tea Party. And, in line with Sarah Jo’s post, during the Bush years, poverty levels increased in a steady trajectory from 11.7% to 12.5% in spite of the very modest economic growth his policies managed to create, prompting Ezra Klein to observe:

This was the first period since we began keeping records in which the economy expanded but poverty went up — usually, economic expansions bring the poverty rate down.It’s more evidence that the pre-crisis “normal” was an economy that wasn’t working very well for a lot of people, even when it was growing.

This is what rings Mr. Ed’s bells? Kinda make you wonder what type of rich he’s really cultivating, the wannabe rich or those “super-rich” GOPers who fork over all the lobbying money.