Who and or what is to blame? Is it Republican intransigence on taxes or is it Democratic intransigence on taxes? Republicans offered a plan claiming to raise $250 billion over 10 years with elimination of deductions and new tax rates in exchange for spending cuts. Obviously, there was no deal. We’re still not sure the Democrats put anything concrete on the table short of Senator Kerry’s carefully crafted proposal that sounded good on TV yesterday but represented only a slight variation on the central theme of intransigence; taxes!
“But, but Americans are OK with the idea of taxing the rich, approval is in the mid 60’s. Okay, agreed it is a poll; how did we ask the question? If the question is “are you in favor of taxing the rich and small business if it means less capital available in the markets, less direct investment, less growth and less job creation?” When we get the answer to that question, I’ll eat my keyboard if approval is still in the mid 60’s. I digress.
Who’s to blame? Answer; it doesn’t matter and it’s irresolvable. Democrats will believe the Democrats, Republicans will believe Republicans and the middle; who knows what the middle is thinking other, than, perhaps; “they’re all a bunch of morons!” The opportunity existed for 12 Senators to make heroes of themselves. No, no, not just an ideological hero, a real one, to nearly everyone. Yea, not so much, with this group!
This was not about $1.2 trillion; this is about the upcoming, sure to be nasty, campaign. If this were, in fact, a serious exercise; where’s the President? His absence and essential distain defines the utter lack of credibility attached to this process. The Democrats on the Super Committee were carrying water for the President’s themes and the Republicans fell right into the trap. Memo to Republicans; if the Democrats agree, go count your fingers.
This was not about debt reduction: it’s about sound bites, future campaign ads and fund raising. This is about the fact that one ideology or the other is going to take a little trip into the political Wilderness for a while. This election will, almost to a certainty, be close. It will be close because America has been sliding leftward institutionally for a long time and there is a lot on the line for a lot of people; the crowd that is dependent on ever larger government to insure they maintain the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. On the other side is the “everyone benefits from a healthy economy, rising tide raises all the boats, we’re too big” approach. One has to win and one has to lose.
Simple fact is there is an election a year away and nothing significant will resolve itself until that election campaign is waged, won and lost.