Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Strategic Ignoring - The Republicans and the Voice of the People

I'm sorry.  Is there something about this
confuses you?
The Debt Ceiling fight was in the summer of 2011.  Since then, for eighteen months, the Obama Administration AND the Obama Re-Election Campaign have been relentlessly demanding higher taxes on the the wealthiest Americans.  Not crippling levels of taxation, but rather a combination of higher marginal rates on income taxes along with higher rates on investment income, and a reduction in the kinds of bizarre loopholes put in place by wealthy special interests, such as the Carried Interest Deduction.

Unlike the Romney Campaign, that was very careful to avoid making specific proposals, President Obama has been very clear, at every opportunity, and in every policy proposal.  One of the best approaches to begin to address the deficit and fund basic government services at the national and state level, they said, was nothing more than a simple roll-back of the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans.  All by itself it wouldn't solve the deficit problem, but it would begin to make the income tax code more progressive, and it would give the government some resources to begin to address desperate problems in local education, law enforcement and infrastructure.

The Republican party made it very clear, from the very beginning, that tax increases on millionaires and billionaires were a non-starter.  They would go to the mats, shut down government and take the US to the brink of default before they would allow the government to raise the highest marginal tax rate by four percent.  Four a year and a half, the two parties have stood nose to nose, fighting a desperate ideological struggle for a tiny portion of the wealth of America's richest citizens.  Interestingly, many of those wealthiest citizens stood up and agreed they should be taxed at a higher rate, but the elected Republicans weren't going to risk their standing with the investment bankers and hedge fund managers to allow that sort of discussion.  There was to be no compromise on this issue - it would be a fight to the death.

And a fight to the death it was.  The Republicans nominated Mitt Romney, a perfect standard bearer for the top 1%, a rich plutocrat so out of touch with the reality of life in America he couldn't identify a donut by name.  And in a long, agonizing contest of lies in the service of the rich, media complicity and angry denunciations of basic community responsibility, this was really the core argument of a political season gone out of control.  Month after month the campaign spending piled up as the Republicans sought to portray Obama as a a Socialist, crippling capitalism and job creation even as they themselves sought to cripple unions and send manufacturing jobs to lower wage nations.

And finally, thankfully, last night it ended.  Decisively.  It's not like people didn't understand what they were choosing.  Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest to close the deficit and give the American government some financial resources to fund the programs already approved by Congress.  Romney demanded that the American people give up their government services, and live or die on their own so that the richest Americans might be just a little bit richer.  It was a very clear argument, and a very clear outcome.  The American people chose the Obama vision of a nation that serves its entire population over the Romney vision of a nation that exists to serve only ten percent of it's population and does not care about the lives and families of the poor and middle class.

So if our political system was truly functional, the government would recognize that the people have chosen, and the two sides would sit down together to craft a new budget and tax policy based on the stated preference of the American people.  It is, after all, government of the people, by the people and for the people - is it not?  Well, sadly, it is not.  The Republicans in Congress have already doubled down on their resistance to any tax increases on the wealthy.  Of course, ALL the Bush tax cuts expire on January 1st, so Obama will come to work with a new Congress and a new reality, but that's not really the point here.  The point is once again to point out, to DEMAND people see with clear eyes, that the Republicans do NOT represent their populations - their constituency is ONLY the wealthy, and they protect those interests at the expense of what's best for our nation, and this can no longer be doubted.  We had an election.  They lost.  And yet, like good soldiers in a losing cause, they keep serving their masters...

1 comment:

  1. So if our political system was truly functional

    You got a snort out of me.