Thursday, March 14, 2013
LIke It Never Happened
It's as if there wasn't an election. It was pretty clear what Rs had in mind before the election: despite obfuscations and unfilled-in blanks, voters knew what would happen if Romney won and if Rs had enough seats in the two chambers to activate their agenda. Instead, voters chose Barack Obama; and they chose to increase the number of D senators and representatives. (Ds couldn't overcome the gerrymandering to retake the House, but they did get 1.5 million more votes in total for that body.)
So it's pretty interesting that Rs, in the name of the holy ghost known as Paul Ryan, have just put forth a budget that does everything they threatened to do and more: it'd be a huge tax break for the wealthy, wipe out funding for all things important except the military, and provide tax increases for many at the lower end of the economic spectrum. Promoting his budget, Ryan explicitly stated that the voice of the people doesn't matter. Smoking mirrors, along with other mischaracterizations of the problem, and some basic misunderstanding of government, it also assumes the highly unlikely repealing of Obamacare and, once again, promotes (the latest in the sine-wave of proposing and denying) voucherizing Medicare.
Golly. It's as if Ds were telling the truth!
Well, a right-wing economist, former McCain adviser, says it'd create jobs. Or, what he said was, a balanced budget would. He didn't really make specific claims about the Ryan slash/burn, nor compare it to other methods of balancing the budget.
Which is exactly the point: if it's desirable to balance the budget -- and I think it is, although there are many economists who suggest that as long as deficits are below a certain level relative to GDP it's okay (which I'm not smart enough to know whether to buy or not, but, long-term, it feels wrong) -- the question is how, and to what end? With what vision of the future in mind?
Rs, as usual, lay down their markers on the multiply-failed idea that if rich people are rich enough, richer even than now, and if corporations are allowed to run free, even freer than now, money will magically run down their legs like juice from a lemon, and find its way into the mouths of everyone else. They mark their territory in the thicket of less government spending on such frivolities as education and health care and the rest of the long list, called out again and again. They are wedded to that, intractably, despite the fact that voters rejected it; and despite the fact that it's failed, and failed again, to do what they claim it will. It's a vision, all right. A frightening one, to be sure, for anyone concerned about preservation of the country for the next generation; for the preservation of the so-called American dream, meaning opportunity. But a vision, nonetheless.
As radical as it is, it's no wonder that President Obama is saying there may be no way to find common ground. (Like the well-known definition of insanity, he's still trying.) There is no leadership among Rs that would allow any give whatsoever on the matter of taxes. To them, elections don't matter; nor does the central idea at the time of creation (of the country): compromise. So, where do we go from here? Nowhere, I'd guess, until the full impact of what Rs want is understood, even by those heretofore so unable to understand: the teabagging Foxified masses that send people like them to D.C.
Because otherwise, why even have elections?