On Tuesday morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell decried President Barack Obama’s continued refusal to address the “fiscal cliff” toward which their Republican and Democratic accomplices are currently driving us at terminal velocity. According to McConnell, Obama needs to get off “the campaign trail.”
For what it’s worth, McConnell is right. Obama ought to care a great deal more about the crushing debt with which he will burden future generations of Americans — especially considering they’re already going to be saddled with the hassle of learning English as a foreign language. But Obama won, so he doesn’t care about much beyond fixing his putting stroke and making sure Susan Rice wins the State Department’s annual “Miss Benghazi” pageant. Come to think of it, add Obamacare to the list and that’s nearly everything Obama ever cared about. Waiting for him to wise up about combining spending increases with tax hikes at a time when the national debt has increased under his reign from “humongous” to “broken calculator” is about as worthwhile as expecting the first lady to shop in the discount section.
Meanwhile, McConnell — who is supposed to be able to wrangle some sort of unity from the Republican minority — appears to be doing so with all the skill of a blind quadriplegic herding tigers. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) actually seems proud to have abandoned his post as one of the few Horatios at the American economic bridge.
With GOP resistance requiring a B12 injection to reach “token,” it looks like the rest of us ought to prepare ourselves for tax hikes across the board. Obama and the Democrats will claim the hikes will only affect the “rich.” But 401(k)s and mortgage deductions have hit the table, meaning the definition of “rich” is about to get a lot more expansive. On the plus side, the Senate may finally pass a budget for the first time since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was still rigging land deals.
With the Democrats planning to rifle through our sock drawers for loose change and the Republicans cowering like Rahm Emanuel at a tanning salon, to whom will fall the duty of protecting what little we are allowed to keep? The answer is the same as it has been since the days of the founding of our Republic: you (also, me). Upon being asked by a citizen what he and his fellow Framers had wrought, Benjamin Franklin reputedly responded: “A Republic, if you can keep it.” It was our job to preserve and protect ourselves then, and it remains so today.
When the Democrats claim that our fiscal crises are somehow the fault of some amorphous group of wealthy folks, they do so for the sole purpose of pitting the proverbial us against the proverbial them. As they roar their tired class-warfare clichés, the corporate media dutifully make idiotic “fair share” debates the focus. When Republicans concede ground on punitive tax rates and spending cuts (let’s get rid of the Marine Corps, but keep funding Greenandbankrupt.com — or whatever), the Democrats see that as a green light to roll heavy into our wallets.
If Obama’s trouncing of the only-slightly-more-conservative-than-Obama Mitt Romney should have taught the Republicans anything, it’s that Americans are seriously disinterested in replacing pathologically dishonest Democrats with mewling, moderate, milquetoast Republicans. Yet the GOP appears well on its way to flunking “What The Voters Want 101” — again.
And now, both parties are engaged in an attempt to keep the economy from falling off a cliff by yanking the wheel and stepping on the throttle at the same time — meaning we’re still going to take the plunge, but now we’ll be doing it backward. 401(k)s? Mortgage interest deductions? Why not go whole hog and bring back the Democrats’ infamous attempt to tax imputed income from potential room rentals? When the Beatles wrote a song about this in the late 1960s, they were only kidding. Yet I half expect some Internal Revenue Service suit to hand me a bill for sitting down.
A quick glance at the Federal budget reveals no shortage of programs which can and should be cut. The idea that the Feds would respond to a fiscal crisis by ignoring those programs and instead start drooling over our homes, our savings and our future is neither more nor less shameful than the idea that any of these clowns, Republican or Democrat, are allowed to manage a piggy bank, much less our national economic future.