Justifiable public ‘investment’: Maher rips GOP for being anti-gang facial tattoo removal

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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While it’s no secret where HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher’s political loyalties lie, his idea of government’s role in society is a bit odd, at least when it comes to how public money should be spent.

In a appearance on Tuesday’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC, Maher criticized Republicans and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for being anti-tax and scaling back the role of government.

“Well, that’s their dream world of no taxes, because, as you know, the lower taxes are somehow magically the more revenue we have,” Maher said. “Isn’t that really what Paul Ryan’s plan is still based on, that fantasy that was discredited in the ’80s? But I think, even more, it shows that they are always trying to somehow screw — screw the present for the future. You know, cutting nutrition for premature babies, for example, is going to cost us so much more down the road in health-care costs. Everything in their budget seems very short-sighted this way.”

Maher’s best example for promoting a more active government role in society? Taxpayer-funded, gang-member facial tattoo removal. He called it an investment rather than just spending, and suggested it would eventually pay for itself.

“I’ll give you an example,” Maher said. “There was a program to get rid of — to pay to get rid of the tattoos that gang members sometimes have on their face— you know this, Rachel. You were in a gang. You had you a tattoo, OK? You couldn’t have that job — you couldn’t have this job if you had a tattoo on your face. It’s very hard to get a job with a tattoo on your face. So, of course, you can hear the right wingers say why should we pay to help a bunch of gang bangers? Because if you do, they can become productive members of society. See? This is the difference between just spending and investment. They think all of spending — all of investment, you know, you say investment, I hear spending. Well, sometimes, it is investment, and sometimes, you have to invest for the future. You know, if you buy a nice suit to get a job and you get a job, that suit pays for itself.”

According to the 2009 Citizens Against Government Waste “Pig Book,” Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Lois Capps, both of California, have had $200,000 and $50,000 respectively appropriated for tattoo removal procedures.