To the wolf, the sound of a trap slamming shut is a terrible thing. A shaft of pain accompanies the noise. To the sheep and the farmer, it is a comforting sound. It signifies one more predator off the field.
So it was yesterday when the President promised to veto any debt-reduction bill that does not raise taxes on the wealthy.
The henchmen of the middle class’ assassins—Messrs Boehner and McConnell—apparently didn’t feel the pain. After all, they are not the wolves; they are the wolves’ shills. So blithely and dumbly they stuck to their script. Boehner went so far as to decry “this administration’s insistence on raising taxes on job creators[.]”
But people who are unemployed or worried about becoming unemployed are tired of hearing that refrain. If the rich who shun taxes are “job creators,” what jobs do they offer? And when will they start?
Their taxes are nearly the lowest they’ve ever been. Corporations have the largest collective cash hoard in memory, variously estimated as between $1.5 and $2 trillion dollars. And their costs to borrow more are next to zero, thanks to the Fed printing money.
This situation has pertained for more than a year. So where are the jobs?
There are only two possible answers. Either the “job creators” are waiting to remove the President from office and make their kleptocracy complete. Or, whatever happens in politics, they won’t create jobs until demand picks up. In the second case, our economy has to pick itself up by its bootstraps without their help. Some “job creators”!
Everyone who can read and reason now knows there is no other realistic possibility. Cutting taxes on the rich won’t produce jobs—not even if we cut them to zero—because their goals have nothing directly to do with jobs. They want to make money by selling things, which requires demand. You can’t sell things if you have no customers. Or maybe they think they can “run the table” by clearing all progressive or even centrist opposition if they just keep the myths and lies alive a little longer. How even that will create demand they don’t say.
As always, the President’s timing was impeccable. He waited for the news to sink in about the Republican debate in which every single GOP candidate rejected a hypothetical debt-reduction deal with ten parts spending cuts and one part tax increases. Now everyone who follows the news knows that the GOP is the American Taliban, following bearded imam Grover Norquist to martyrdom regardless of the consequences—the same Norquist who would turn our students into indentured servants.
The President’s proposal of yesterday is not too far from the hypothetical case that all Republican candidates rejected. It consists of $800 billion in tax increases for $3 trillion in debt reduction, or a ratio of spending cuts to tax increases of a bit less than three to one. If the GOP’s presidential candidates are serious about not accepting a ten-to-one deal, the party surely won’t take three to one.
Thus, you might say all this is political theater. But more to the point, it’s all part of teaching the retarded. Informed people who follow the news know what the GOP’s real goals are. The so-called independents—people who don’t know or care enough to focus for more than a few minutes a year—need to be taught.
So we are in a nationwide course in experiential learning, and the President is our teacher-in-chief.
For people like me, who’ve followed the President closely for four years now, none of this is a surprise. He is a master of timing. And as a former professor he can assess his “students’” abysmal state of ignorance and indoctrination.
With so many biased against him based (consciously or unconsciously) on nothing more than his dual race, he could not risk seeming intransigent himself. So he had to let the GOP drive itself into an extremist corner. And now it has. There’s nothing it can do. Like the Taliban, it has tied itself up in knots of orthodoxy. Imam Norquist will have his due.
This is just the first of many traps the President will spring as the campaign season gets under way. When the series is done, the wolves’ shills will be boxed, caged and hog tied, and the President will win. The more vital question is whether he can bring the House with him and enough of the Senate to overcome the automatic filibuster and get something done.
Yet there is one other question. How long will it take his fair-weather supporters—the perpetual carpers, whiners and lamenters—to see the game and wise up? The answer is largely of sociological, not political, importance because at the end of the day, they will have to support him. The alternative will just be too horrible, even if it’s not Perry. Those who didn’t learn to vote for the lesser of two evils in 2000 should have by now.