One of the great things about Thanksgiving is that you get see loved ones that you haven’t seen in too long a time. We have quite the extended family, and our house was the focal point of the excited bedlam this year. The custom is for each of the large crew to bring something to share to the table: a new sweet potato recipe, homemade cranberry sauce, cherry compote, pumpkin pie. This year, someone brought along something not so welcome; something that I must admit I was not very thankful for, to wit: a cold. Since I tend to be, as they say, susceptible, I carried that cold away with me as a memento of our time together. For a week or so, the little virus that could, did, and sapped me of both the strength and the willpower to continue the good fight. However, as I have begun to regain my energy, that dormant flame is rekindling, and I slowly awaken to the need for another round.
So, have I missed anything in my week away? Let’s see: we’re still facing the fiscal cliff, or curve, or slide, or whatever the spinmeisters are calling it these days. The only new aspect of this cliffhanger is that the liberal caucus has now come out and explicitly stated that the deal will be tax hikes now, and spending cuts later, maybe. (Has Lucy got that football all set?) Or, as we say around our house, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
There are a couple of reasons why I believe that no spending cuts will be implemented any time soon. The people who were just elected were not chosen on the basis of their fiscal responsibility. They were chosen, especially the Democrats, to put into practice all of those promises and ideas that they tossed at all of their respective constituencies during the latest campaigns.
If the Republicans agree to the extension of the tax cuts for all but the highest earners (to be determined later), they will have given away all of their negotiating tools—what else can they give to Democrats that would be worth the Democrats in return snatching away any of their base’s goodies?
No, there will be no dealing. The impending fiscal cliff gives the Democrats a perfect opportunity for a Republican smackdown. If the Republicans go along with the tax increase, their base will be unhappy. If they resist, the Democrats will accuse them of speeding over the cliff when it wasn’t necessary. One thing the Republicans can do to divorce themselves from the whole mess is to show up, but vote present, or to abstain.
If the Republicans refuse to assent to whatever bills the Democrats propose, that will force the Democrats to pass all bills all on their own, and to take responsibility for whatever happens down the road. Of course, then the Democrats can also claim all of the credit when the economy begins its sudden upward soar, due to…what? A new quantitative easing? More federal jobs? More borrowing? More spending?
Let the liberals indulge in surfeit of paper money. Let them wallow in their treasure trove of unbacked currency. The Republicans can stand at the side, waiting for the inevitable moment when they are called in to clean up the mess. There are those who say that they have already been called in: that that is why they kept the House, the money side of Congress.
But the comeuppance has not yet come up. Should the Republicans stand steady, hold fast, and attempt to turn the tide of spending, they will merely be seen as obstructionist, not as saviors. The One must play out his hand, bestowing all his gifts until the bill comes due, before the people will realize that they’ve been had.
The liberal constituency is currently embracing what it considers to be its new-found power. “We are changing the world!” is their battle cry. “No more will there be discrimination of any kind (except against white males), there will be religious freedom for all (except Christians who oppose paying for abortion), everyone will pay their fair share (except for rich people, who pay more, and everyone else, who pays less).”
There is no arguing with those who are fervid with religious humors, no matter what stripe they may be. Those pent-up emotions must play themselves out, to the inevitable consequences, before zealots will be amenable to any sort of reasoning. There are too many people in positions of power who are proclaiming the justness of their cause. And there is, as there often is in hyperbole, a grain of truth.
There has been injustice in this world, there is injustice in this world. What the liberals are unwilling to concede is that there is likely to always be injustice in this world. And throwing money at a problem that stems from the inherent nature of the universe will not make it go away. No matter how much money is tossed.
Look at the just the example of lottery winners. Here are people given more riches than they ever dreamed of, and many of them waste no time in squandering that wealth even to a worse financial position than they held before their supposed good fortune. Ah, you say, but not all of them fare so poorly. Thank you for proving my point.
You can give everyone in the world the same amount of money, and within a year, some of them will have created enormous wealth with those funds. Some people will have maintained their position, and some will have spent every dime and then some. No amount of fairness in payments can ever result in equality of result. Some people know how to make money; some people don’t. Some people catch colds, while others who have been exposed to exactly the same situation skirt by with nary a sniffle. The human condition is uniqueness, not fairness.
The tide is coming, and the Republicans would do well for themselves to step out of the way, and let it flow by. There will be plenty of time of pick up the pieces later.
Image courtesy of digitalart/freedigitalphotos.net