Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Politics of Tokenism

President Obama has drawn a line in the sand, saying that he will reject any offer the Republicans make which does not include raising taxes on the top 2% of Americans. He claims that Republicans are “holding the middle class hostage” by refusing such a tax increase.

If Republicans came up with equivalent revenue from other sources, he says he would reject it, so the issue is not revenue, it is his insistence on a specific tax increase, but he claims he is not the party being intransigent, and that it is not he who is holding the middle class hostage. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not defending Republicans, here.

This is idiotic political posturing by both sides which ill serves the people of this nation. It is tokenism of the very worst sort, and neither side should take pride in it.

I would respect Obama if he drew the line over something that mattered, but this is simply nonsense. His little “tax the rich” plan doesn’t do any harm, and I don’t oppose it per se, but it doesn’t do any good either and it is ridiculous to be holding up other things based on this stupid token.

It’s not critical to deficit reduction, as it reduces the deficit by no more than 10% or so, and deficit reduction is not the most important issue facing us today in any case. Not to mention that he specifically says he would reject equivalent revenue from other sources, so he doesn’t actually care about this in terms of deficit reduction. If he did he would accept revenue regardless of where it came from.

This is Obama’s plan to appeal to the middle class; an effort to be seen doing something about “income inequality” even though he never uses that phrase. It doesn’t do that, of course, since it reduces the income of the upper class by less than 2% and does nothing whatever to raise the income of the middle class. But after four years of pandering to Wall Street and the corporate sponsors, and no longer in need of their donations for reelection, he needs to give the masses a “feel good moment," and this is it.

The classic phrase “sounding brass” comes to mind here; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It does no harm, which is really the point; it's a way to make the middle class feel good without harming the upper class.

1 comment:

  1. bruce9:32 AM

    Well shucks, the Obamaman just lookin' out for us 'po folk.

    Well, the Rubs could agree to that and look like heroes the non 2%... but that would mean "raising taxes" and they are obstinate about it.

    Could someone please look at the bigger picture here? Rubs? Dems? Anyone?