Politicians and the Fiscal Cliff

A story in today’s Star Tribune about looming “fiscal cliff” says it all about where the blame lies.  If Republicans — not Congress, but Republicans — fail to reach a budget deal we are in big trouble.

It is time to stop being bi-partisan when explaining our nation’s woes.  Unless Republicans show some sincere effort to recognize that they do not represent 100% of the ideas and people in this county and begin to work on an overall solution that involves compromise, they are to blame.  Period.

Look at the positions.  Obama is cited saying “I refuse to accept any approach which isn’t balanced.”  Senator Amy Klobuchar says “This is a time for grownups to get things done.”

Meanwhile the paper cites Michele Bachman who claims “I pledge to continue to work everyday to create jobs.”  Speaker John Boehner warns that “raising the top [tax] rates would destroy nearly 700,000 jobs in our country.”

Do you see a difference?  The difference is stubborn delusion from the right.  Obama simply states a condition, not a firm, single position, such as a rigid no new taxes pledge.  He taking a position that sounds open to negotiation and option, but wants it to be balanced, i.e., fair.

Bachmann, on the other hand, claims she is working every day to create jobs.  For much of the last two years the only job she seemed focused on was her own.  And if she were indeed working  for creating jobs for all Americans, then based on her own assessment of today’s American job market, she hasn’t much to show for her efforts.

Boehner, on the other hand, is crying about losing 700,000 jobs if taxes on the very wealthiest are raised to help recover from decades of underfunding government.  If these magical tax cuts and unbalanced tax rates really were going to create jobs, where are they now?

Meanwhile, real experts at the Congressional Budget Office, not partisan hacks, warn that failing to avoid the “fiscal cliff” will cost 2 million jobs and result in as much as a four percent drop in GDP which equals another recession.

So let’s say Boehner knows what he is talking about.  Just pretend for a minute.  Isn’t it better to lose 700,000 jobs and avoid a recession while cleaning up our fiscal mess or is it best to lose 2 million jobs and make our situation worse?  Seems like an easy question to answer, even if half of the question isn’t based in fact. If we can trust people like Boehner to have their facts right, which is the better option?

Sadly, as we saw last Tuesday, tens of millions of Americans buy the irrational arguments of the conservative right.  Paying attention to simple arguments should sort out the choices we face, but people seem unable — or unwilling — to figure it out.  It is an absurdity.  As we see here, even if Republicans have the facts, they still don’t have the winning argument.

So why do they keep pushing?

Conservatives don’t like government.  They want to dismantle as much of it that they can.  They all believe, rich and poor alike, that they are wealthy landowners living in colonial Virginia centuries removed from reality.  I have no idea.  But the stupidity on the right, not on the left (sorry), owns the overwhelming burden of our current failures.

Prove otherwise.  Explain how we got to where we are today.  We have the job-creating tax cuts, we’ve privatized more and more of our government, we are fighting wars for freedom, we have cut government investments…where is the prosperity?

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