So at the end of the day, after all of the doom and gloom scenarios, and the cries of the nation careening onto a disastrous path, what did we really learn about the fiscal cliff?
I didn’t learn anything as much as I had confirmed my long term thoughts that divided government in the United States of America does not work.
As a progressive there are a lot of things in Tuesday’s deal that I am not thrilled about. One salient point was driven home by Joan Walsh of Salon.com “The real scandal of the deal is that taxes went up more for people making $50,000 than those making $400,000, thanks to a combination of ending the payroll tax cut “holiday” and keeping the Bush tax cuts for those making between $250,000 and $400,000.”
There is also the little matter of the President telling NBC’s David Gregory on Meet The Press last Sunday that he is still open to future cuts in Social Security and not denying his backing of chained CPI which is a cut plain and simple.
Kudos to the President however for getting unemployment benefits extended, tax credits that do help the poor and middle class and keeping student loan interest rates low. A veritable mixed bag, which is what Washington D.C. is known for nowadays.
If the left were completely honest with themselves however they would admit that the President is in this position because of the 2010 mid-terms, and the lack of liberal participation, giving us the nation’s worst possible nightmare, a split congress.
The entire myth of the Tea Party and it’s power grew from those mid-terms and because those of us on the left chose to sit it out they were able to get their nutjob candidates into positions of power that they have no business being in.
John Boehner, whether he is still Speaker of The House after January 3 or not, along with Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy and the rest of the brood are about to put a gun to the head of the debt ceiling once again. This is happening not because Republicans all of a sudden got religion on debts and deficits, but because they still harbor unabashed hate and resentment towards the black dude occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (I said it).
Ronald Reagan raised the debt ceiling eighteen times during his two terms as President and hold onto to your hat for this one, he raised taxes eleven times. In the midst of doing both things then Democratic Speaker Tip O’Neill didn’t threaten to shut down the country a la Newt Gingrich in the mid 90’s or Boehner now.
Dems apparently got the message in 2012 that ALL elections matter, the question now is is it too late? Given the way Republicans have gerrymandered districts you gotta wonder how long it will take for Democrats to mount a serious challenge towards winning back the House.
The longer Republicans control the lower chamber the longer nothing and I mean absolutely nothing will get done, even if Democrats continue to own the White House and the Senate. There are enough Right-Wing idiots in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, the Rustbelt, and certain parts of the West who will continue to send the Louie Gohmerts and Steve Kings of the world back to D.C.
Imagine what would have happened during the healthcare battle in 2010 if Government was divided. The Affordable Care Act would not have even gotten off the ground, or the stimulus package of 2009 that created three million jobs, it would have been ignored, maybe not even voted on.
Hopefully Democrats everywhere (with the help of crazy ass GOP primary challengers) will have a chance to right the wrongs of 2010 and kill the horror that divided government has become.