Brow Beat

Seth Meyers: You Can’t Tax the Sun Because Orange Balls of Gas Never Pay Their Taxes

When a network late-night show titles an entire segment “Trump’s Lies on Wiretapping, Health Care: A Closer Look,” your administration is losing control of the narrative. Generally networks go out of their way to not call the president a liar—Meyers’ network, NBC, in particular—but Monday night, Seth Meyers referred repeatedly to “Trump’s lies.” (For Trump’s paranoid wiretapping fantasy, he occasionally went with “outlandish claims,” perhaps because it’s pretty clear Trump has no idea what the truth was; but on health care, it’s all “lies.”) This is all to the good—particularly when people who should know better are still feigning wide-eyed innocence about the good faith of the Republicans looting our country:

Meyers runs down a murderers’ row of Republican lowlifes—Kellyanne Conway, Jason Chaffetz, Ted Cruz, Leonard Lance, Jason Smith, John Shimkus, and, of course, Trump himself—and gets into detail about exactly how they’re misleading, dissembling, and outright lying about the health care plan. Some of these are debate school tricks, like Cruz comparing “a new Lamborghini” with “medical treatment that keeps you alive;” some of them are distractions, like Kellyanne Conway’s lengthy discussion of cameras in microwaves; and some of them are just ludicrous, like Jason Smith’s suggestion that we “tax the sun,” which inspires Meyers’ best joke of the segment:

Yeah, why don’t we tax the sun? Is it because we already know that an orange ball of gas would never pay its taxes?

It doesn’t take too much time to point out the garbage flaws in their garbage arguments, but there are so many Republicans spewing garbage lies about their garbage plans for a garbage future that the segment ultimately feels as much like a shopping list (just garbage, over and over again, for pages) as it does a structured takedown. Republicans are pulling a Gish Gallop on a national scale, and it’s exhausting to even keep track of everything that needs refuting. Good for Meyers for keeping up and getting in a few good jokes in the process.

But with all the talk about how the Republicans are lying about health care, Meyers doesn’t have much time to get into the whys. Why are Republicans going all out to misrepresent their health care plan? Why are they making fools of themselves in public with transparently false claims? For more on this, let’s check in again with the crack investigative reporters at the New York Times, who have made an astonishing discovery:

Update, Mar. 13, 2017: This piece originally misspelled Meyers’ last name as “Meyer.”