Well, we’ve finally done it. The party has presented some recommendations for a budget deal. It’s too bad it’s a copy and paste of Tom Daschle’s list from two years ago, but it’s something. There is almost no specificity, there’s quite a bit of “MathMichigas,” but at least we’re starting to see our hand laid bare.
It won’t look like that in the future deal, we will have to give up on raising the rates. We haven’t got any choice. All the President has to do is wait until we fall over the cliff and the deed is done. All tax rates go up. Then he will blithely float a bill to reduce tax rates on the the middle and lower classes and we’ll have no choice but to pass it. Anyone who doesn’t is on his own. Anyone who doesn’t can start looking for another job, maybe Grover Norquist is hiring.
No one in Washington is stupid, they know how this deal is going down. There will be plenty of outrage and shocked looks but that’s just part of the “Big Show.” The one designed to impress contributors and backers with how hard we tried. In the final analysis, we’re losing this one and it’s about time.
Four years of obstruction got us to this point. Had we been willing to put forward some ideas of our own we might have avoided this moment. Some carefully considered plans for capital injection and long term growth planning would have been great. Instead of building igloos on the capitol lawn and nattering on about the global warming “hoax,” we could have been talking about infrastructure jobs. That would have been a good thing, the right thing, during a time of immense pain. Instead we tried to use that pain to lock in our control, and failed.
We also lost the President, remember? He came wanting to work with us. He came with all sorts of concessions to appease our worries and instead of telling him “Buddy, you don’t get Washington just yet do you? Here, let’s see if we can work something out and get you up to speed,” we smacked him down. So, rather than setting us up to succeed as a valued partner, instead we now have a different role to play.
Politics is about time and we wasted four years and probably the next two election cycles. However, all things are fixable. There are three things we have to get straight. Three things we need to understand to get back to where we can effectively govern the country.
First, stop trying to undo the past. Social security and medicare are here to stay and trickle down economics didn’t work. What we ended up with is a shrinking middle class who are evermore in need of those services instead of a richer middle class who don’t as much. By the way, what kind of idiot suggests cutting back on retirement and medicare when the largest block of voters either has or is about to retire? Let’s focus on making those programs better instead. Anything can be refined, made more economical, more efficient. We’re the party of business where efficiency is paramount, why not carry that flag into battle instead of “We’re broke.” Let’s get to tuning instead of cutting.
Second, the war of the future is economic. Spending 10 times as much on defense than the next ten countries combined does not make economical sense. I know that’s a lot of jobs, but they are all effectively on the government payroll. Want to shrink government, or have more drones patrolling the skies of the US? A tiny fraction of that money could be invested in research which has always made a huge difference to our economic strength. Why are the Chinese way ahead in Solar panels? We let them get the jump on us. Close the door on defense budget growth and invest, invest, invest. Remember how the USSR lost the cold war, too many guns and not enough butter.
Third, stop all that crazy talk. We scared away most of the the voters we lost. The Elderly thought we were going to renege on our obligations, obligations they paid for. The word “Entitlements” should be banned. Shut up about abortion, gay marriage and “Christian America.” This is none of our purview. Let the states fight those battles, the federal government needs to stay the hell out of those discussions. Our standard answer needs to be “If it’s not in the constitution, by the decision of the supreme court, we can’t help you.” And please, let’s get it straight there is only one constitutional authority that counts. You know the guys and girls in black robes? By the way American’s can believe whatever they want, “legitimate Rape,” “Creationism,” even “Communists taking over the government,” they only get in trouble when they flap their big gums about it, so zip it! I won’t try to convince you otherwise but if you want to stroll about in your tinfoil hat, do it at home.
In the future, we also need to be much more suspicious of “Support.” The party has been dragged hither and yon all over the map by “supporters,” much to our detriment. Here’s a couple of things to try, if someone shows up at your office wearing an American flag pin, goes on and on about the sad sate of our country and uses the term “Real Americans,” refer them to your secretary. And then send her out for a well deserved day off. When big business strides up to you at the party, make sure you find out who the “Millions in economic benefits” are actually going to. If it’s not a large fraction of the people who vote for you, say “Absolutely right! Too bad the calendar is so busy this year.” And whatever we do, no more pledges!
Copyright Prentiss Gray 2012