-- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), in an interview with the Des Moines Register.
Sneaking in with only three weeks to go, this may even be Quote of the Year, amazingly having a chance to beat out Trump himself.
This is really just sort of incredibly stunning thing to say. Yes, those words actually came out of his mouth.
Ladies and gents of the Republican Party: meet your representatives and what they actually think of you. Yes, yes, I know it's just Chuck Grassley, not everyone. But -- it's Chuck Grassley. I disagree with him profoundly much of the time. But not all the time. And he's not a raving lunatic. Well, at least in public, usually, until now. And if Chuck Grassley believes this, it's hard to imagine that he's out there on a limb by himself -- but Chuck Grassley is not an "out there on a limb" kind of guy.
Now, in fairness to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), he says that his statement that is being quoted and making him look ghastly and thoughtless was taken out of context. And I have no doubt that the proper context he meant was silence and that he wished it wasn't quoted. But in fairness to him, I did listen to the audio tape to get the full context, just as he wanted. And bizarrely...it's worse. It's just crotchety and stupid, in which he creates two scenarios for comparison and...they're just idiotic. And even if you accept his two scenarios -- one, a man making $100,000 a year and spending all of it on himself (we'll call him the "Bad Mouse") and apparently doing this year after year after year, and the other (we'll call him the "Good Mouse") who makes $100,000 every year and saves it all up over many years to later invest and build a business. But don't take my word for it, here's the audio and his Grassley Fable. Move over Aesop --
The recording lasts a little over four minutes, but you can jump in around the 3-minute mark to get the context. Oddly, it seems to cut off in the middle of his now-infamous quote. But you know the quote already, and by then you'll have gotten the "context."
What's so stupid about this analogy he concocts is that -- even if you accept it -- that means you have to divide life into people who a) apparently all make $100,000 a year, and b) either year after year after many, many years spend it all on themselves, on just women and booze, every year, or c) they are noble creatures who deny themselves all the creature comforts of life, year after year after many, many years -- which apparently we are led to accept is what corporate leaders do, living their lives in the purity of self-abnegation.
This is just transcendental, foolish fantasy with no bearing on the real world.
But why the quote from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is so bad is that even IF you somehow accept this, it's still numbingly wrong-headed. Because even if you accept that the Bad Mouse is just spending his money on women and booze (or, let's be fair now, if it's a woman, then spending her money wantonly on hair-dos and daiquiris, I guess...), then this person has been putting money into the economy, a $100,000 every single year. Indeed, over the course of a decade putting a million dollars into the local economy, allowing others to build their business and provide jobs for their employees, who in turn spend. Meanwhile, that Good Mouse has been hoarding his money for that same decade, keeping it out of local businesses, and by the time he is ready to start up his company...all the local stores have gone bankrupt because he and the other Good Mice haven't spent anything, and all the businesses and all their neighbors have boarded up their windows and moved away, and so then his own carefully-planned company goes out of business and he -- and all the Good Mice -- lose their life savings. And go on unemployment and food stamps.
By the way, the Grassley Theorem at its foundation of course is idiotic because no one spends all their money on women and booze. Not even the most Profligate Son -- who, at the most basic, has to rent an apartment to live in, and pay for electricity and gas, and buy food and clothes and needs to buy a car to get around and fill it up with gasoline and...and...and...and...PAY TAXES!!!
And all those basic purchases, and even all his wasteful ones on women and booze (or hair-dos and daiquiris) are all putting money into the economy. And...yes...paying taxes that allows, among other things, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to have a job.
And ultimately what may be most stupid about it is that I'm guessing most of the people he's referring to who don't earn $100,000 a year and salt it away to build their corporation are...his base. And the base of the Republican Party. And pretty much any political party. (Other than perhaps the Donor Class Party.) And these are the very people he is trying to insult and lay waste to as irresponsible and undeserving. They may not think he's referring to them, just those bad-old liberals, but unless you are making $100,000 a year, every year, and running a corporation getting a tax break..."you" are exactly who Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is referring to.
And Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has to grasp this. He has to. He's not a stupid man. Just, apparently, a crotchety, selfish, disingenuous, cold-hearted one. Or to put it a simpler way, a Republican senator.