The Republicans rally around Randian boy toy Paul Ryan’s make-believe budget that wishes away Medicare and balances the rest on the backs of the poor, Obama counters with a realistic plan that offers three dollars of spending cuts for every dollar of increased tax revenue, which is still a massive concession to rightwing Reaganomics theology that has been disproven over the past 30 years.
Well, what do you expect Republicans to say? It’s theology. There is no arguing. Mitch McConnell can get up there with a straight face, claim that it’s time to drop the politics and get serious, but OH BY THE WAY TAXES ARE OFF THE TABLE. Well, people who aren’t serious like to talk about how serious they are, what’s new?
Look, all there is to say is that Obama needs to keep holding the line at a somewhat sane, reasonable middle ground and let the Republicans keep punching themselves out. They apparently refuse to negotiate, or even take into account half of the budgeting process, revenue. So be it. If Obama has any real balls, he’ll let them keep fighting until the Bush tax cuts sunset in their entirety, ZOMG RETURNING US TO THE HORRIBLE NINETIES!!! (and taxes lower than those under Reagan), making implausible the whole idea that we have to make horrible cuts that throw seniors and the poor to the wolves without denting the increasingly tiny yet dense uber-elite rich who have nearly controlled the public debate.
Our incredibly genial yet blindly cynical friend Dana Pico likes to play with analogies about the government only having so much money left to borrow, and how do you act when you have bills to pay, etc. etc., but analogies are so often misleading. Yes, you pay your bills when they’re due. And guess who elects the people in office who spent that money? You. But Dana knows it’s easier to win elections preaching no taxes.
Yet it isn’t so easy, Dana, when those low taxes do turn into cuts that people don’t like. It’s a democracy. We tax, then we vote on what to spend the money on. Talking about the government like some separate entity is habit among rightwingers, but it’s, like pretty much everything else in their worldview, a fantasy built out of personal preference. The government is us.
Republicans are proposing draconian cuts because times are serious and the deficit of the highest priority…yet scratch the the surface and you see the real highest priority: more tax cuts for the wealthy. Don’t like it? Dana will call you greedy. Yet what we see are those who already have so much who can’t part with any of their largesse in order to do their civic duty, and for them greed is a virtue. One set of standards for the “good” people, and another for the “scumbags.” Except that’s most of America.
Obama has a winning plan here, and I think he knows it. Let’s hope he doesn’t forget, or rapidly start watering it down. 2012 is looming, he’s out of time to run away from fights. And this is a fight, make no mistake.