Monday, December 06, 2010

Divide and Capitulate

The fix is in. Lame duck season is open. Anybody (like me) who believed that fiscal conservatism would return with the end of the Bush Administration is crying in their beer. Not any fancy beer, either. Who can afford quality lager these days, when jobless rates are at historic highs and tax rates only benefit chuggers of champagne? No, I'm watering down my PBR with salty tears, shaking my head at the President's complete and utter capitulation to the forces of economic ruin, my own as well as the nation's.

I ended my job contract over a year ago and haven't worked a day since, being way over- or under-qualified for the jobs that are available. Now my benefits are set to run out at the end of the year unless tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent are extended.

What's truly sad is that job prospects will not be improved by this compromise; quite the opposite, in fact. Small business, the main engine of job growth, is being left out. While $70 million in tax credits is on the plate for the majority of citizens, $140 billion goes to the tiny minority of the wealthiest among us, none of whom will be inclined to do anything but squirrel those savings away. This will pump up the federal deficit beyond its already astronomical bulk and do nothing to improve our dismal economy. This isn't fiscal conservatism; it's fiscal madness. This is the kind of thing we saw in the Bush era, and now Obama is working with the opposition to keep it going. Meanwhile his own party lays blame and squabbles with each other, creating a new paradigm in US politics: divide and capitulate.

Lame duck season is open to all comers and those with the biggest guns are walking away with all the greatest gains. The way things are going, it might be the last time hunting is this good.

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