Monday, December 13, 2010

The War Around Us


If you needed any more evidence of the increasing gap between the super-rich and everyone else in America, you just needed to be conscious and listening to the political news over the past few weeks. It has been an exercise in power and political control by those who will gain from the extension of the Bush tax cuts.

And for everyone else? To be told it's just a good thing that some compromise was achieved or else the stockings would be completely empty this Christmas - this is what we should be thankful for?

Let's recount. The latest exercise in power begins when, at the peak of an economic boom, a mostly illegitimate President and Congress decide to lower taxes on the rich to stimulate the economy. The bust arrives, and so does Bin Laden. Restoring hopes and dreams, the feds lower interest rates, and everyone offers mortgages to anyone who breathes.

The smart money bets it will implode. When it does, they take the banks. The banks get us to bail them out, and fight all efforts to prevent it from happening again. When we demand to limit some paychecks, they decide to just keep the cash in their reserves.

Loans dry up, businesses don't expand, jobs go away, and the Republicans get elected on a pledge to eliminate government and lower the debt. But first, they hold unemployment relief hostage to their desire to extend low taxes for the rich and raise the debt.

Once they take office in January, they'll claim the high debt is the reason why they have to eliminate most government benefit programs, cut state and local subsidies, and slash government employment.

And these Republican initiatives will be cheered on by those who think that less government means more jobs for them. If we just returned to the days when government was not on our backs, we'd all be rich and happy.

If ever there was a war that was won by getting the soldiers on the other side to turn against their leaders, believe that it was better to be governed by the opposition, and voluntarily lay down their arms, it is happening here and now. So thoroughly have the rich convinced Americans that, not only did the tax cuts stimulate lots of new jobs, but that Americans voted Obama into office with only two years to overcome a decade of Republican work. Failing to do so, government is the problem and it should be abolished.

I just can't wait to see what the rich have in store for us next.