Nothing lasts forever. That sounds like it’d make a great James Bond title.
But, to many conservatives, they’d like lots of things to last forever. Male-Female-only marriage. The belief that man and dinosaurs roamed the earth together a few thousand years ago. Ozzie and Harriet. And, in the past few months, they’ve boldly held steadfast in their belief that the tax cuts enacted through the Bush administration and extended through the Obama administration make good fiscal sense.
Puh-lease. As one commentator recently said, it’s George Bush and his Republicans that ran up the credit card throughout the 2000s, and now they’re showing no interest at all in paying it back except where it will hurt the most: the poor and middle class.
Pray tell, conservatives: Where was this fiscal prudence when you decided to invade two countries? To expand Medicare to a whole new letter of the alphabet (“D” for Dumb)? Tax cuts for individuals who had absolutely no need for them and didn’t use them to help stimulate our economy?
What happened is the most fiscally reckless actions in the past 50 years occurred under the watch of those who claim they’re the most fiscally sound party: the Republicans. They put it all on credit. No way of paying for it, because we’ll just pray to Jesus that it’ll all work out in the end. Either that or he’ll come soon and relieve us of our strains of an earthbound life and we can leave everyone else with the tab.
The Politics of Permanence. Republicans want their tax cuts to remain in perpetuity. The Democrats want many of their cherished entitlements and services to remain at their same level in perpetuity. The two sides must reach a compromise. However, only one side seems willing to make concessions. Only one side seems willing to come to the table in good faith and offer ideas that seek to remedy our debt situation. The Democrats have made concessions.
Taxes need to be raised. Yes, Republicans will whine and moan, but we’ve heard it all. They claimed tax cuts would create jobs. Instead, the Bush tax cuts funded risky investments that went belly up because lax regulations allowed investment firms and banks to literally take the money and run. Or, at least, play a fast and loose grand disappearing act with billions of dollars.
I’ve been no strong defender of Barack Obama, but I feel he and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have offered up a fair amount of concessions from their side. Concessions that are absolutely going to hurt the most vulnerable among us. Ab. So. Lute. Ly. Every day we hear of new concessions Democrats and President Obama are making. Just yesterday Obama signaled he’d be interested in raising the eligibility age of Medicare from 65 to 67 (something I agree with) in exchange for putting tax increases on the table. No budging from the Party of Perpetual Petulance. $4 trillion dollars in cuts instead of $2 trillion in exchange for some tax increases. Nope.
The Republicans, on the other hand, have remained reliably petulant in their inability to accept that those who’ve reaped the rewards of their own financial existence this past decade should cough up a measly 3% more and put the tax rate back to what it was in 2001. “It’ll kill jobs!” they say. Yeah, umm, ok.
The Republicans have given nothing. They have to give something. In classic form, the Democrats cave and show that they’re no reliable defenders of the poor and middle class folks whose votes they continue to solicit and get if only because the alternative is so absurd.
Let’s be clear. The only thing the GOP is protecting is about 2% of the population that makes this extraordinarily high amount of money. Which leads me to ask: Where the hell are you, America? In every poll, Americans say they want this tax increase on the rich. Americans understand the urgency and realize that for a decade those at the top have only gotten more while those at the bottom have either seen stagnant wage increases or have gone down. And yet half of the country still identifies with the party that seeks to protect those who need the least amount of protection.
Nothing lasts forever. Republicans need to realize this and suck it up. It’s time to pay the bill they rang up over the last decade. The politics of permanence is over.