Huge Slant On The Young Turks

For a few years I have been a HUGE fan of The Young Turks, a progressive online news commentary program. However, in recent months my enthusiasm has abated significantly. The leading reason is a perceived one-sidedness in the show’s coverage of certain issues, most notably tax cuts for the wealthy. Now, as TYT points out, it is a progressive news commentary program. They are very clear about their perspective. Unlike Fox News, they don’t rigorously promote a political agenda while claiming to be neutral.

A big issue in the US right now is whether or not to continue the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. The arguments offered by proponents (e.g., Republican politicians and pundits)  for extending the tax cuts is that by keeping money in the hands of Americans – all Americans – jobs will be created by way of individuals spending more, and wealthy people and businesses investing and hiring more. Counterarguments to this are that 1)  tax cuts for the very wealthy stimulate the economy less than money in the hands of the lower and middle classes, 2) the level of job creation anticipated by proponents of such tax cuts has not been realized in previous attempts of this experiment, 3) of the jobs that have been created, a very large chunk of them have been created outside of America (e.g., China), and 4) such tax cuts would further expand the national debt.

When it comes to issues of balancing the budget, my impression is that the progressive course of action is the way to go. So, where is the slant? The slant is in portraying this issue exclusively in terms of 1) Republicans (and Blue Dog Democrats) thumbing their noses at the middle and lower classes in order to help their rich buddies get richer, and 2) macro-economic impact. I have not heard TYT give much time in a long time to the fundamental libertarian perspective that no one should be subjected to forced charitable donation; people should be able to choose what they do with their money and resources. When you look at it from this perspective, it’s no longer about screwing over non-elites to further escalate the power of those at the top. It’s about allowing all people, including the rich, to have more choice over what is done with what is theirs. Furthermore, even with the continuation of the Bush tax cuts the super-wealthy still pay WAY more in taxes than others.

Now, when it comes down to it, perhaps at the level of the actual politicians and policy drivers (e.g., lobby groups), it really is largely about doing the bidding of elites. Moreover, in considering everything presented in this post, keep in mind that I myself am progressive leaning. I understand and respect the libertarian point of view, and am probably more libertarian than most progressives, but at the end of the day I support such things as universal healthcare, a social safety net, and so on. But in the interest of being able to have an honest political conversation, can we at least dignify other reasonable perspectives that many Americans do genuinely hold?

This post was motivated by the video below, in which only a progressive/left-leaning perspective was given on tax cuts to the wealthy.


6 thoughts on “Huge Slant On The Young Turks

  1. The two political philosophies that have had the biggest draw for me in my life time are Libertarianism and hard-Left-Utilitarianism.

    In popular discourse, these two perspectives never seem to debate one another. Libertarians attack the Left all the time, but the Left basically ignores them because it has it’s sights focussed on larger right-wing forces, like Neoconservatives. It’s a political triangle of hate. One of the results of this is that the Progressive movement is susceptible to losing some of its more individualist-minded followers to Libertarianism on Rights and Freedoms arguments. I was nearly one such convert.

    I think it’s unfortunate that Progressive media doesn’t take the time to address Libertarian challenges, because there are good Lefty answers to the questions.

  2. So Randy, why didn’t you cross over to Libertarianism, what argument stopped you? Did, it have something to do with the greater good? The greater good, is a flawed concept as the masses are too uniformed to even realize the difference between left and right. Point being, the greater good is hard to fight for when the majority of people don’t deserve greater liberties.

    Personally, libertarianism is good in a practical sense, or at least more practical then my true choice of Anarchism.

    Last night the Daily show was on and they were talking about the Fed just printing money, I asked my mom if she understood, she said yes, then I said “If your’re not angry then you don’t understand”.

  3. Billy Bob,

    It was not the Greater Good, that swayed me, no. The greater good was not enough to overcome my concern for individual freedom. What changed my mind was re-thinking what property is, and the fact that Capitalism depends on the State to violently enforce its definition of property. This led me to a notion of anarchism that is compatible with my commitment to individual freedom but rejects the ridiculous inequality of capitalism.

    In practice, I support lefty social-democratic parties because they push us in the proper direction. When libertarians attack redistributive taxes as the unjust theft of individual property, I defend taxes as a slight correction to Capitalism’s unjust state-enforced property scheme.

  4. This 76 year old Agnostic Atheist Activist who lives on Social Security because he messed up states:

    The Catholic Church says: “Give me a child until the age of six and they are mine forever” And while most Programmed Religious Robots NEVER realize they were, and still are programmed, some do.

    And some religious people age, gaining in experience and thus, in knowledge, they realize the only reason they believe in the religion and the number of gods they do was because of who raised them.

    They also figure out all religions are a con job. And the only place any gods exist are in the minds of those who believe in them.
    The SAME type of progression happens to MANY, if not MOST Liberals.

    (Of course, some are so dumb they never learn and remain liberals until they die.)

    As they age, gaining in experience and knowledge, they realize that people & the world are not some make believe land which operates as liberals like to believe it does.

    They realize there are lazy jerks who thinks the world owes them and all their off spring a free ride. And who think the hard working people whose efforts have made them better off and/or rich have an obligation to pay for their miserable lives.

    (Anyone who thinks the rich are taxed fairly have their heads so far up their tails it is a wonder they can still breath!)

    This is why there are MANY FORMER Liberals over 40 and very FEW Former Conservatives.

    Yep, I find many blogs and books written by FORMER Liberals & very FEW written by Former Conservatives.

    SO, all you Liberals should be asking your selves if being a Liberal is so great, why are those who are more experienced, more knowledgeable and who have more wisdom, NO LONGER Liberals?

    Last, I submit: The “Young Turks” are more aptly described as the “Young Clueless”

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