Sunday, March 03, 2013

Alternate Reality

Ezra Klein explains in his blog at the Washington Post why there has been and will be no deal on the “sequester” and of course, it’s all the fault of the Republicans. “It’s what Hill Republicans have told me,” he says, “it’s what the White House has told me, it what Hill Democrats have told me.” It never occurs to him, apparently, that any of them are lying in order to grind their own political axes. It never occurs to him that he could observe what’s going on and arrive at his own conclusions instead of parroting “sources.”

“The bottom line on American budgetary politics right now” Klein says, “is that Republicans won’t agree to further tax increases and so there’s no deal to be had.” And this is today’s great lie of American politics. This is the current administration’s equivalent of “We don’t want the confirmation to come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

In January of this year the Obama administration got the Republicans to go along with $150 billion annual tax increase based on “Let’s get this tax issue dealt with now and we’ll deal with spending cuts later,” and less than one month later they are saying that Republicans are refusing to compromise on tax increases in dealing with the sequester.

Obama’s pitch in January was that the spending cuts were too complex, and that the tax issue was urgent because we could not permit taxes to be increased on “hard working middle class Americans.” He then signed a tax bill that allowed the “payroll tax holiday” to expire and that increased taxes for every working middle class person in this nation.

The dishonesty that this president successfully promotes simply staggers the imagination. He campaigns against raising taxes on the middle class, immediately raises taxes on the middle class, and the media and his supporters simply pretend that it never happened. He raises taxes and immediately flagellates the Republicans for refusing to accept tax increases and the media and his supporters join the chorus.

Logic and reality mean nothing to Obama and his supporters. Like the administration which preceded his, they create their own reality, and alter and distort processes to suit the argument of the day.

“Technically,” Klein says, “Obama did move first on spending. Over the course of 2011, Obama signed into law a set of bills that cut about $1.8 trillion from discretionary spending, and that included no tax increases at all.” Klein apparently does not understand the American democratic process. Since those were revenue bills they originated in the Republican House, Obama did not “move first; the Republican House did. The Democratic Senate was next and Obama acted third.

He also presents these bills as if there was nothing in them that benefited Obama; that the President was signing these bills for the sole purpose of building good will with Republicans and creating an obligation which the Republicans were supposed to return at some future date. The concept is nothing short of idiotic. Those bills contained, among other things, an increase in the debt ceiling and were an even trade all the way. Otherwise Obama would not have signed them.

As with his normalization of the loss of civil liberties, making it a bipartisan form of government, Obama has normalized the “we create our own reality” form of government.

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