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Are you sick and tired of listening to the Beltway villagers frame our economic plight as the end of the year looms? Whenever a Democratic politician comes out and says that we should let things play out until after January 1, and then start bargaining, they freak out. They have completely surrendered to the disaster-capital Republicans and are trying to help them force major cuts in the social safety net for all working class Americans, all in the name of a greedy Wall Street along with much-needed backup from the Tea Party Birchers.
Michael Hoexter wrote a long letter to President Obama outlining the many pitfalls he's falling into and how tragically bad a Grand Bargain is for the working class of America. I'll just post some of his words, but please do read the entire piece. It's worth your time.
Dear Mr. Obama, the “Grand Bargain” is neither Grand…nor a Bargain
The Grand Bargain that you seek serves the interests of only a few special interests, the financial services industry, by enlarging the “market” for less stable and more speculative private-sourced retirement and health insurance products, sold now and in the future by Wall Street. Both political parties, including yourself, have being acting largely in the interests of Wall Street and not of Main Street, despite your calling Wall Street bigwigs at one point “fat cats”. A little extra taxation is not going to hurt the wealthy very much but cuts in social spending and overall cuts in government expenditure (as well as the lapse of the payroll tax cut) is going to hurt ordinary Americans a great deal as well as represent a significant drag on the overall economy (explained below). Again, the extra taxation on the wealthy is a distraction and a triviality compared to your apparent commitment to cutting Social Security and Medicare, a huge boon to the financial services industry and no one else.
Without an ennobling and constructive set of tasks and a reality-based discourse, the political goal of bipartisanship in Washington is not “grand” at all. A critical problem with the reflexive impulse to bipartisanship is that the two political parties currently are better representatives of two or more segments of economically-privileged opinion rather than of the American people as a whole. It is true that people pull the lever, for the most part, for one or the other major party but real, effective choice is very limited in a “first past the post” electoral system. And, you know as well as anyone, that once you and other lawmakers reach office, the relative power of the voter diminishes even further and the power of wealthy special interests increases exponentially.
The current Democratic and Republican Parties are able to compete with each other for attention and “stir up enough dust” to temporarily distract many voters from the essential distance between the concerns of official Washington and Main Street. The mainstream media outlets have been collaborating in creating the appearance of differences between the two Parties but as you have admitted on more than one occasion you share a lot of common positions with your now vanquished opponent, Mitt Romney.Also, apparently, you are very much attracted to the notion of sacrifice and “shared sacrifice” which also might be meaningfully linked to the notion of national grandeur and greatness: one sacrifices for others to make the nation, the group or the team greater and better. You know, you are probably right that in some areas more public-spiritedness and sacrifice of individual wants and needs may be desirable. Yet you have chosen to praise and seek to impose sacrifice on others in an area where, for ordinary people, for the most part, sacrifice is gratuitous and damaging.
The grandness of this bargain is in its destructive impact on the working class, while fat cats who raked up incredible profits over the financial meltdown stand to gain -- again -- at the expense of the people. Why is the business community demanding spending cuts to entitlements so vehemently as a balance for the right to tax the wealthy a little bit more, or at least bring them back to Clinton-era tax rates? It's unseemly.
Government spending is necessary for our economy and it always has been. And this fiscal cliff -- which is nothing more than a slope -- was created by the Tea Party House members because they destroyed our credit rating by refusing to raise the debt limit without insane cuts to federal spending, so now they're cornered with the sequestration process they cobbled together.
We're at round two of this ludicrous process and the Villagers treat it as a bipartisan problem. Sequestraion is a Republican-caused problem because of their obstructionism. They lost the election that they thought would give them a mandate to repeal Obamacare, lower taxes for the rich and introduce severe cuts to the government, all in the name of austerty. Well, austerity lost in November. Yet we're the ones that have to accept drastic cuts for the rest of our lives just so rich people aren't slightly inconvenienced.
It appears to me that the overarching political goal of the Democratic Party here, aside from delivering for their benefactors, is to break Grover Norquist's hold on the Republican Party. This is a worthy goal, but the price for doing that, especially right now, is going to be very steep. Too steep. Average Americans will be "sacrificing" for decades to get it done. Meanwhile, there's always another Grover out there and Republicans will always cut taxes the first chance they get. It's definitional. Making it possible to raise taxes in order to fix an illusory problem is an unworthy goal at a time like this. With an economy this weak, their first obligation is to do no harm. And making the American people suffer for the Democrats' failure to properly counter GOP propaganda is cowardly.
The obsession with "raising revenue" which is all they are talking about on the Sunday Morning shows, is folly. If it succeeds, history will judge it harshly. Possibly even "Neville Chamberlain" harshly.