Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lines In The Sand

The blind worship of Obama, where it existed, was not purely for the purpose of getting him reelected, because it continues today and may even be getting more shrill. The defense is unstinting, for instance, of his making plans to set rules for killing unknown people in foreign lands by drone strikes in the event that it might be a Republican in charge, and much relief is being expressed about the rules no longer being needed now that the authority remains safely in the benevolent hands of Obama.

Then I read an Obamabot saying that this “fiscal cliff” is “an event entirely manufactured by conservatives pretending to be deficit hawks,” a claim which I find as baffling as it is infuriating. Apparently he hasn’t heard his paragon of virtue lecturing for the past couple of years about “living within our means” and “paying down our debt.”

(The latter is a rather absurd mantra on Obama's part, by the way, since he never proposes eliminating our deficit, merely reducing it. One cannot "pay down" debt while still borrowing money.)

This specific event was an agreement reached between the two parties, partly in exchange for an extension of the debt ceiling, and partly for the purpose of postponing the “Bush tax cut” discussion until after the election. Not only was the agreement mutual, but Obama signed off on it before either house of Congress even brought it to the floor for a vote.

And this clown calls it “entirely manufactured by conservatives,” forsooth.

A big part of what makes it a “cliff” likely to be fallen off of is Obama’s inflexible demand that taxes be increased for the rich, and his threat to drive us off the cliff if Republicans don’t allow the “modest increase” in tax on the rich. That’s the one place that Democrats speak truthfully; the increase is not only modest, it’s minor to the degree of pointlessness.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, this “tax the rich” plan will raise $82 billion per year, so it will impact the deficit to the tune of a 7.4% reduction. That’s a minor impact on a minor goal, because there is no real reason to be in such a feverish hurry to be reducing the deficit at this point. Supporters are, of course, delighted that Obama is “drawing a line in the sand” over a symbolic gesture that makes no real progress toward a goal that isn’t really worth achieving.

Supporters claim that it “speaks to income inequality,” but if so it certainly doesn’t speak very loudly. The “rich” in question make an annual income of $3.5 trillion, so this scheme takes a whopping 2.3% bite out of their income. It doesn’t raise the income of the poor or middle class, so the “speaking” that it is doing is more of a whisper than a shout or roar.

Of course, Obama’s gestures tend to be whispers, so…

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