Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Picking The Wrong Fight

I’m going to make this is several posts, because Obama’s sudden conversion is pissing me off in so many dimensions that I’m going to take them on individually rather than engage in one lengthy tirade, which would probably become incoherent in any case. I’ve never trusted “burning bush” conversions to “the right side,” and I don’t trust this one.

My first bone to pick is that he has picked the wrong battle. He’s not picking a battle over the Democratic issue of what we are going to do to help people who need it, and not really over the Republican issue of deficit reduction itself, he’s in agreement with them on that, his battle is merely about how we are going to do it.

And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share.

At this point I sort of became derailed, because the idea that it’s okay to reduce benefits for seniors and those in need, so long and you also impose higher taxes on the wealthy is indescribably disgusting to me.

We are told not to worry, that the Medicare cuts are all “on the provider side,” but that is false rhetoric. When do you ever get more of a service, or even the same service, by paying less for it? Providers are not cheerfully going to say, “Oh yes, you have been paying us too much,” and agree to lower prices for their products and services.

Everything about this “conversion” that Obama has suddenly experienced is Republican: cutting business taxes, cutting payroll taxes, tax cuts as economic stimulus, reducing Medicare and Medicaid, reducing the deficit, it’s all there. As a sop to the liberal base, he proposes to “tax the rich.” For now, he has taken Social Security off the table, but if reelected he will resume his efforts to “reform” that program.

I think our tax policy should more progressive, as it once was, and that wealthy should certainly pay more taxes than they do. But using “tax the rich” as a reelection ploy is not something that appeals to me. There are far more noble battles to fight, like jobs for the unemployed, and he is not fighting them adequately when he allows this one to distract from them.

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