I don’t know what I’m more upset/frustrated about right now. Having just watched around three hours of MSNBC, and thus having endured around three hours of really bad, intellectually dishonest talking points made by GOP strategists, pundits, and politicians on how extending the 2001 and 2003 Bush Tax Cuts for the Rich are essential to the fiscal health of our economy, I’ve now decided that I have no choice but to either stop watching television completely, or to invent a machine that will force politicians that appear on my television to hear counterarguments made from my living room in real time.
It’s possible, however, that the real source of my frustration comes not from the predictable GOP talking points, but from the baffling Democratic response to these talking points. Of course, it’s been widely understood for some time now that the role of the post-Reagan Democratic Party has been to be the Beta-party, the one that caves and compromises on everything, that punches back with kid gloves in response to being maliciously kicked in the face; the party that really has no discernibly strong principles, other than reflexively lending credence to every far-right, intellectually bereft policy prescription that comes out of the annals of the Heritage Foundation; the party that is always on defense, that never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity, that compromises on everything before they need to; that finds it necessary to attack their own base more than to attack their political opponents gunning to drive them out of Washington; and that evidently cares about the middle class in symbolism only, not in substance.
But given all of this, I at least thought they could win this argument. Raising taxes on the rich by three percent, raising capital gains taxes to less than what they were during the 90’s, and reinstating a tax system that would make great strides towards paying down our national debt by seven-hundred billion dollars – these are all widely popular policies that, if pushed for, wouldn’t cost the Democratic party much, if anything, in terms of political capital. Instead, they allow the airwaves to be inundated with flagrant GOP lies about how “tax cuts pay for themselves” and that “small businesses will be hit by raising taxes” and how “we shouldn’t be raising taxes on anyone in a time of recession,” that now the entire debate is skewed, forcing the Democrats to play defense instead of advancing reasonable governing policies for our nation.
The Democrats are now ready to compromise on borrowing more money from China to give to millionaires and billionaires who, by and large, didn’t experience a recession – employment for the wealthy is at 97 percent, while corporate profits are at an all time high – instead of helping the majority of struggling workers in this country. Instead of borrowing money from China and the Saudi Royal Family to give to the wealthy two percent, who have reaped a disproportionate share of the benefits from this miserable Bush-economy, we should, at minimum, be borrowing seven hundred billion dollars to create a jobs program for the unemployed. This is, after all, what Obama promised us during the campaign.
The Democrats lost last month because their economic policies geared toward helping the Middle Class largely failed: they were too modest and too conservative, and they did little to dig the workers of this nation out of the hole from which it was plunged after three decades of Reaganomics. On the other hand, as we all know, the Democrats’ economic policies geared towards saving Wall Street and Corporate multi-nationals were a great success: 3.3 trillion dollars of our tax money dedicated to bailing out a bevy of different corporate giants and Wall Street houses has effectively restored these titans to the top again. Imagine if our government, which is supposed to work for the people, not for those who sit in corporate boardrooms, spent that 3.3 trillion on the middle class instead of on padding the pockets of the rich? What if they had spent that money on bailing out our communities, our neighborhoods, our friends and co-workers, instead of Bush’s buddies?
We are at a turning point: if the Democrats cave on this, it’s over for me supporting this administration. Granted, this administration has accomplished some moderate policy reforms, and has sent some decent judges to the Supreme Court – for this, the Obama era will be remembered in history for making some good decisions. But ultimately, they have failed to save our nation from the economic peril in which we have been forced to endure: the erosion of the Middle class, by way of the erosion of the New Deal. The Obama administration has failed to reverse this trend, and if they vote to extend the regressive tax system of current, they will have sealed their fate as an extension of the Reagan war on the middle class, instead of a clean break with this miserable political era.