Monday, August 29, 2011

Taxes and the economy

It seems that most people, when faced with the question of taxes, looks at it from a personal standpoint, and not really in the usual, rational, "what's in it for/against me?" way, either. What I mean is that people tend to forget some of the bigger picture items that have to do with the whole concept of taxation. Republican/conservative ideologues want less taxation because they want smaller government, but rather than actually arguing for smaller government (an argument they will lose every time--even with their own constituents, who really don't want smaller government. Depending on their sub-group identities, they want government redirected in various ways, either getting into people's bedrooms/sex lives/reproductive systems, getting into other countries militarily to overthrow hated enemies, getting into the school systems to program (or allowing/funding parents to program) children according to their beliefs, getting into the business world to bail out fiscal losers in the Wall Street casinos, etc.) they instead bloviate about how the rich pay more than their share of the tax revenue, or about how the government is stealing the money out of the pockets of hard-working men and women of blue collar America, or about what a tremendous burden taxes are on the poor, put-upon capitalist entrepreneurs. (Occasionally, the real argument sneaks out; the teabaggers are convinced, or are trying to convince others, that a smaller government is better because, well, because it, well, just because. They have had to sidestep the realities that taxes and the government depending on them do a whole lot of good things for everyone in the country, like provide roads and bridges and clean air/water. [Or they did before that kind of regulation and investment began to erode thanks to their very efforts over the last 3 decades.])
The end result, however, of concentrating everyone's attention on the individual's relationship to taxes, has been more than just the complete capitulation by politicians to even talk about raising taxes to stave off national bankruptcy or pay our debts, let alone spend that money on useful things that everyone wants, like healthcare or reliable transportation and infrastructure. The result is that our whole economy has suffered. By making the whole discussion about income taxes and their effects on everyone's wallets, people have let slide other arguments that have virtually eliminated the chances for American businesses to succeed or remain competitive while using American workers.
Before the income tax was created on a permanent basis in 1913, the main provider of government revenue were taxes on goods and services (really, just "goods" at that point in our history), called tariffs. Tariffs were used throughout our history before then for one of two reasons, mostly: 1) as mentioned, to raise revenue for the federal government; but more importantly, 2) to stimulate national businesses by providing an indirect price support for American goods. By having a tariff on imported goods, the prices for our own goods could compete, and usually beat, those of foreign countries' products in our markets, creating a beneficial demand for our own manufacturing concerns. Keeping demand for American products high, even at the expense of having prices higher than they could have been otherwise, helped all Americans, because high demand necessitated high production requiring high employment, which put more money into more pockets, etc. As long as these inflationary measures were outpacing the rise in prices for goods, everyone won.
The potential problem is obvious: inflation with a capital "I." And for most years since the end of WW2, inflation has been a concern. Since the 1980s, however, inflation of this sort has not been a problem, income stagnation and joblessness have been, in alternating doses. Alternating, that is, until now, when we have both declining salaries and high unemployment. And you know what solves those issues? Inflation! That's right, deflation (recession) and depression are cured by inflation, according to the only economic theory that has ever been proven to work in a capitalist economy, that of Keynesianism. It's so obvious it almost qualifies for a "duh." Yet because we have been so conditioned by decades of worry about inflation, we can't see that forest for that tree. Granted, we do have to worry about prices rising faster than incomes, but we've always had to worry about that. (And of course, the US hasn't been doing anything about that, either, so what's the real difference now anyway, right?)
We have to abandon the concept of free trade, because it has already killed US manufacturing and is currently finishing off what's left of the middle class's ability to earn a living. Raise that tax to stimulate the market for homegrown biz, raise taxes on the rich because they have yet to help create anything for anybody except themselves with the extra cash bonanza they've been getting since the 1980s, and maybe we can rejoin the industrialized nations once more.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Politics 101

I may have mentioned this before, but I just finished responding to a Daily Kos comment that struck me as incredibly dense and thought I would expand on my thoughts here. That commenter (who was responding to an earlier comment of mine) asked me if I was actually a Republican (haw!), because I had said that what those of us to the left of Obama want was for the Democratic Party to propose decent legislation and then fight for it, rather than passing weakened bipartisan-ish garbage. Her/his response is typical of the whole "Obama can do nothing, but what he does is brilliant!" crowd. I paraphrase: "What? You'd rather have nothing done?" To which I answer, "You're goddamned right I'd rather have nothing done--if the alternative is going to be bad." I simply don't understand these people that insist that "stuff has to get done", but have no concerns about the quality of that "stuff." I agree that the government has to continue to function, but there comes a time when we're going to have to stare the Republican children down and say "no more!" and the sooner we do it, the sooner we can begin to recover our country's bearings. (It doesn't help at all that these people are taking their direction from the very top of our party. President Obama has done more to restore the good name of the Republican Party than anyone since LordGodKing Reagan himself, and in neither case has it helped the country.)
To all those who think crap legislation like the ACA (the health insurance "reform" bill) is better than anything we could have gotten, I say, "You're right. And since this was the best we could have gotten, we should have dumped it in the garbage where it belongs and proposed something worthwhile instead and get the votes on it." And since we actually already had a decent bill in the hopper, passed by Nancy Pelosi's House, it wouldn't have taken much time at all. What would that have done for us?
1) We wouldn't be on record as supporting tepid legislation that won't do anything to solve the real problem of health care costs and outcomes in this country.
2) We would have shown the country that the Democratic Party has some ideals.
3) We would have shown the country that the Democratic Party cares about things like health care costs and outcomes in favor of the patients instead of the insurers.
4) Lastly, and maybe most importantly for the long run, we would have had the Republicans on record as having opposed not only the good legislation, but also as having voted in favor of big business and against every single person in the country who ever has been, or ever will be, sick/injured/dying. (Everybody, that is.)
What these would have done for the Democrats is to have provided them one of the easiest platforms for running a political campaign in the history of the nation. Even a hard core libertarian would have had to swallow her/his vote for a Republican as a vote against her/his own health. (The teabaggers probably would not have been created--if you remember, the baggers formed in response to the health care legislation "debate", and it's quite possible that if the Dems had acted swiftly and aggressively in fighting for good legislation the funders wouldn't have had the time to react and build this "movement.") The campaign lit would have written itself, just about. "We voted to give you healthcare, and they voted against it." I mean, it's not that hard, is it? Instead, those of us who could see this and spoke out got told to shut up, stop whining, and to let the "adults in the room" handle it. Fast forward to post-2010 election day, and we're the ones getting blamed for undercutting the party and causing the historic losses.
This scenario could and should have been repeated for every single bill that was proposed. Eventually, even the densest Republican voter would have gotten it--gee, they really don't like me; they keep voting against what I want!
Yes, no (good) legislation would have made it past the filibuster in the Senate, but that's no different from what we have now, is it? And instead of having some clear distinctions between the two parties, we have a severely disaffected left wing that sees no distinctions between "D" and "R", and no matter how much scolding we receive--indeed, in inverse relation to the amount of denigration we get--we can still see the Emperor has no clothes.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, August 22, 2011

What's wrong with Democratic pols?

Republicans may be crazy and/or stupid, but you always know where you stand with them. The Democratic pols we have now, on the other hand, are completely amorphous. I don't think a minute goes by on Daily Kos when there isn't a thread that doesn't devolve into a debate on what Obama really wants. We simply have no idea, really, what the putative leader of our party thinks about the issues of the day, let alone any solutions we need for the very real and sinister problems we face. And if he isn't the leader of the party, as his supporters claim--they say, with a smug expression, more times than not, that he's the President of the whole country, not just the majority of people who are on his political left--then who is, and what does s/he believe? We are bereft of leadership, and we are bereft of direction, and it is killing this country just as assuredly as the Republicans' policies are.
Ideas we have. Most Dems know what policies are popular, what policies would solve the various issues of the day, and what policies we would enact if given the chance. That part, as strange as it sounds, is easy, because all the problems we currently face have already been solved, either in this country (Keynesian spending will solve deflation and government job creation will solve unemployment, just like it did during the New Deal), or others (we are the only industrialized nation that does not provide universal health care, and we far outspend others per capita for what we do get from the private sphere--talk about a no-brainer!) The electorate, however, has failed to consistently support the one party that at one time or another, has supported those policies that the public supports with big majorities, judging by any poll taken. Why is this?
It is eminently possible that the majority of the voting populace is simply stupid and doesn't know what Republicans do when in power, but I think it's a little more complex than that, and at the same time simpler. People that vote, for some reason, seem to prefer politicians who stake out a position on a small number of policies, stick to them (even when shown those policies are abject failures, like with supply-side economics), and most importantly, fight for them when elected. The Republicans are seen to stand for something, even if it is evil and/or short-sighted, and because of that, they are attractive to the people who bother to vote. And Democrats are not. (And this is true even when they do try to push for a similar descriptive stance, due to too many years of mindless campaigns. Which one of the 3 major candidates for President in 2008 ran this kind of campaign? John Edwards, and he was laughed off the stage after one primary.)
This is not something that can be solved by one campaign or one individual, either. All Democrats running for office have to buy into the same theme somehow, and pursue it faithfully once in office, at least rhetorically, and it may not even matter what that theme is. If all Dems could unite under one banner, whether it's an analogue of Edwards's "Two Americas", which is becoming more and more true with each passing crisis, or something else equally as true, I think the policies we push for would make more sense to the voting public.
Let's take an example: What's the benefit of universal health care? There are a multitude, actually. Better outcomes, better cost containment, better (i.e., less) bureaucracy, better efficiency, less confusion for the patient, etc. Each of these could be used as a rationale for politician to support a bill, but when a handful of pols each choose a different one, which is what happens now, the voter is seemingly confused about what the party as a whole wants. Does the Democratic Party support universal healthcare because it does a better job at containing costs, or because it cares about patient's rights, or because it is interested in centralizing decision making? Who knows, and who can tell? The truth is, the Party as a whole doesn't support any one thing for any one reason at all, because it doesn't have a coherent message that would easily accommodate these disparate reasons. Once it decided on that overarching message, all of these various things, instead of pulling in different directions rhetorically, would pull toward that same goal. For example, if Democratic Party politicians all began saying variations of the same theme, say, "We are the party for the little guy against the impersonal and uncaring corporate monsters", all of the various reasons listed above fit nicely in that framework. Voters would then get what the pols who have the "D" next to their name are about, regardless of what that individual pol thinks specifically about any particular issue. And that's a good thing, because that means the voter doesn't have to pick and choose which of his/her issues is most important to him/her in deciding for whom to vote. A vote for a Dem would be a vote for the "little guy", full stop. It's not all about messaging, but crafting a coherent message certainly couldn't hurt; not having one is rather obviously hurting, at the very least. Fighting for that vision once in office is the next step, but even here, if Dems looked at every issue they face through the prism of their overall message, it becomes clearer how to vote on each bill, and even easier to explain those votes to one's constituency.
It doesn't look like this is going to happen any time soon, unfortunately, which is why I think this country is dying. Help me, Democrats! You're my only hope!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

2012 Presidential election--meh.

I'm almost literally of two minds on whether I want to vote for Obama or not in the general election. I am 100% sure he is not going to do anything in a second term differently than he has done so far in his first, especially given the very real possibility that the best Congress he will ever get to work with left the building after 2010. However, I am also 100% sure that any Republican will be worse. So, do I go with the concept of voting for "the lesser of 2 evils", or do I instead act on the truism that "the lesser of 2 evils is still evil" and not vote for one of the two major candidates at all? At this point, I really am torn. Some have tried to tell me that in this event, it's all about the Supreme Court and nominees thereto, but I don't think I have to consider that. I think that no rightwing justices will ever again retire during the Presidency of a non-Republican, so the odds of us steering the Court back to sanity are nil. Conversely, I think the "liberal" justices won't retire if the President is a Republican, either, if at all possible. None of the justices are going to be as old as Stevens was when he left after the next term is up, so here's how I see things. If Obama wins, maybe Ginsburg steps down, and Obama names another justice positioned where his first 2 nominees were. A wash, maybe, or even slightly worse? I don't see anybody else leaving voluntarily. If a Republican wins, maybe Kennedy steps down (I think Scalia will have to be dragged off the bench in a bag) and we get a showdown between a complacent Senate and a crazy President for his replacement, who will probably be a wash at best. So either way, the best we can hope for is a wash.
Of course, there is always the possibility that a judge will die in office unexpectedly, but other than Rehnquist, you have to go all the way back to the early 1950s to find another judge who did so, and Rehnquist had an active cancer. While Ginsburg has had both colon and pancreatic cancer, there are no known reports that either are still active. She recently had surgery for the pancreatic cancer, and the doctors have said that they caught the cancer "early." Unsurprisingly, nobody's talking beyond that. (There are no reports on Kennedy's, or Scalia's, health that I can find.)
I guess the questions about Ginsburg's health, and the possibility that Scalia or Kennedy, who are both going to be in their late 70s by the time of the election, could keel over suddenly, will push me to vote for Obama, but my reality is that I am relatively unconcerned about the Presidential race, for the most part. Retaking the House and keeping the Senate are by far more important to me than whether Obama gets 4 more years to disappoint and aggravate me.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, August 15, 2011

R.I.P. The middle class, US. 1933-1980?

Nothing dramatic happened over the weekend to prompt this entry, but I figured after my last two posts, I would detail the results of 30+ years of rightward drift in our government. For decades prior, the US had a vibrant (economically speaking) mass of people who were neither rich nor poor, and they were known to all as "the middle class" because of it. Living standards in the US improved greatly in the 20th century, mainly as a result of the accumulation of wealth by this middle class, spurred on by governmental spending on their behalf. (The remaining improvement can be seen in governmental spending for the "poorer" classes striving to enter the middle class. Think about rural electrification as an example of those efforts.) And it is easy to see why, as the distribution of wealth in this country began to resemble the old statistical standby, the bell curve. Better living for the middle of that curve meant better living for the vast majority of the country's populace. (Before that, wealth was much more highly concentrated at the leading edge of the curve, as the richest 10% owned far more than their 10% share of the wealth.)
As most historians and sociologists will tell you, though, the development of the concept of a "class" depends on more than just numbers in a chart or the shape of a graph. To have a fully realized class, the members of that class must share common goals or values, and by looking at what those were can we truly see that the middle class has indeed died. So what were "middle class values"? More pointedly, how did they spend their new found wealth (which is probably the best indicator, in a society where autonomy and individualism are prized)? I don't think any of these are all that controversial, so I'll simply list the kinds of things which the middle class seemed to value, admittedly based on nothing more than my own personal observations, and in no particular order:
1) home ownership
2) college education for their kids, if any
3) family vacations; time spent together with the family as a unit
4) purchase of other significant material possessions (cars, TVs)
5) stable retirement income, with more left over for children's inheritance
6) "nuclear" family structure
7) upward mobility, both in career and society--the idea that one can improve one's lot in life through hard work
There may be more, but I think those are the most widely shared values or aspirations held by the American middle class of the 20th century. The amazing thing in retrospect is that they held these values, and many were eventually able to achieve them, based on a single income! This last point is the most relevant when determining that the middle class actually died a long time ago, not in this last decade or some point more recent. People very quickly got used to having more than one income per family, because they rationalized their state by the values by which they still wished to live. If one income wasn't enough to do the kinds of things "middle class" people do, the middle class "allowed itself" to be defined differently--now analysts (and maybe more importantly, politicians) looked at "family income", rather than individual income, to see where the "middle class" lay on the graph, neatly obfuscating the fact that middle class incomes were failing to keep up with the cost of their value system, even though productivity measures shot through the roof over the course of the century.
And that was the big lie. The middle class had to double the number of incomes just to maintain its value system at the same level! Since most people were kept so busy working (Americans have always had the least number of vacation days per capita among all the industrialized nations, although Canada, it seems, has dipped below them currently, although most businesses in the US do not pay for holidays, so this chart is a little forgiving of the reality), and the erosion of buying power was so gradual, many people probably felt that they were simply adjusting to a "new normal"--a phrase we are once again hearing, and to which I will turn shortly. The Republican Party, though, whether through actual manipulation of the mechanism of wealth generation by its richer members, or simply through happenstance (I leave it to others to decide what they think!), grasped quite quickly that this ugly decline could be put to "good" (actually "evil", but I digress) use in the political realm by 1980.
Reagan's constant scapegoating, whether of the government itself (which is the only actor powerful enough to correct the decline via regulation, or wealthy enough to offset it via direct stimulus), or of demonized subgroups of the poorer classes (e.g., the mythical "welfare queen" who drove a Cadillac) led many middle class people to join in their own throat-slitting by electing Republicans, who as we have seen, have no interest in actually helping any groups but the rich and powerful. And for the last 30+ years, we have seen the resulting and rapid decay of the middle class, to the point where now even 2 incomes can't provide for the middle class "dreams" of yesteryear.
Occasionally on Daily Kos an argument over what constitutes "the middle class" erupts whereby some misguided people argue that $250K is really middle class in some parts of the country. (No, really!) Where they have gone wrong is in thinking that the middle class can still afford its values; and since in their parts of the world owning a house, paying for college, etc. can cost that much money, that the "middle class" can actually be defined to include people making 6 times the median personal income (which is well into the top 5% of income, if not much higher--this chart stops counting at $100K, which is already higher than 93.76% of incomes!) The reality is that the middle class long ago became unable to afford its own values--any of them--and the "new normal" we are hearing about now is the sound of the failure of the 2 income family to be able to afford them either. Only the rich are middle class now, it seems--and this has happened even before we lose what last shreds of a welfare system we still have. Wealth has once again been relegated to the top, as we have completed the dismantling of the redistribution of wealth the New Deal era accomplished. Indeed, we've gone so far in that direction that we're now worse off along those lines than at any time in the 20th century, and possibly at any time in our entire history. (Apparently, we only started measuring wealth distribution in the early 20th C; I can not locate a chart with complete historical data. I would be surprised if wealth was more highly concentrated at the top at any previous time than it was in pre-crash 1929, but it is possible.)
Ooooh, there's a scary black man in the White House!
or (and this is from a real patron in my library)
Does (no, I'm not linking to them!) have any articles about Marc Anthony and JLo getting back together?
or (a common retort from so-called centrists, even Democratic ones, referring to those of us complaining that Congress and the President are not helping)
Aww, you didn't get your pony? Stop whining and grow up!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Republican voters--evil, or stupid?

Yesterday I looked at the Republican politicians themselves to see how they operate, and of course, it's not pretty. Today I want to think about why they keep getting elected, even after decades of evidence that doing so has only wrecked the country. What it comes down to, really, is that anyone who has voted R since about 1982 is either evil or stupid. Putting aside, for a moment, those who are in the top 1% of wealth in the country--in other words, the only people in the country who actually benefit in any way whatsoever from Republican "governance"--we have to explain why every other R voter has voted against his or her own material interests.
The first possibility is that the R voters are thinking about things other than material interests when they cast their ballot. What might those things be? Most Republican campaigns since the early 1980s have been run on something called "family values", and supposedly Republicans have them and Democrats don't. (The fact that the vast majority of politicians' violations of those "values" have come from Republicans has completely escaped the notice of the R voter, which is evidence of my second possibility below.) "Family values", it seems, is a coded phrase that really means, to put it baldly and accurately, "bigotry", and imho, bigotry is evil. Why else would Republicans, elected official or not, castigate non-WASPs as being deserving of less than equal treatment under the law? That's what bigots think. Whether you are Latino, African-American, GLBTQI, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, (and especially, according to polling data) atheist/agnostic, you have been slandered, libeled, and legislated against by Republicans for decades. And now finally, after having exhausted all ethno-religious groups, the less-than-rich are getting their turn in the stocks from the Republicans, as they set about eliminating all methods of preventing poverty and stripping the country of its wealth.
As each group has come under the noose of Republican rule, their only possible political response has been to join the Democrats in fighting off destruction, but until now, at least, Republicans have been able to keep the bigotry just attractive enough to their electorate to keep their winning streak going. But with the overt decimation of the economy that almost everyone sees was caused by Republican policies implemented since 2001, they may have finally reached the end of their run. (When you have dyed-in-the-wool conservatives like Arlen Specter join your party, you know things must have gotten pretty bad across the aisle.) The teabagger nonsense of the last few years, I'm hoping, is their last gasp, but I also think that it represents their coup de grace, because I don't see the Democratic Party as strong enough to stop the economic slaughter any more.
And yet, as we just saw in Wisconsin, some people still vote Republican, despite 100% of the evidence showing that the economy is dying and that Republican policies are 100% to blame for it. Let's take a hypothetical here: even if I think everyone not white and Christian is Satanic and coming to get me, if I'm unemployed with no hope of getting another job, why would I choose to vote for someone who has overtly stated s/he is not interested in helping me get work or food or healthcare over someone who has? And the only reason I can think of would be sheer idiocy on my behalf. It is just plain stupid to vote for a Republican at this late hour; they have shown zero interest in doing anything your "family values" BS calls for. Even when they controlled every single branch of the government, did they repeal Roe v. Wade? No. Did they impose English as the only official language for the country? No. Did they deport every unpapered immigrant? No. Did they declare Christianity the state religion? No. What exactly have they given you, despite decades of your voting for them? Nothing. Zero. Face it, you all were played for chumps. Suckers. It's hard to hear, I know, but get used to it, because I have nothing but contempt for you, now that you've screwed the country over for good, and for what? The null set. (Anyone still voting for Republicans is beyond my contempt, because they are clearly "too stupid to live", as Rebecca Howe once said.)


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Republicans--why do we even try with them?

I know, a lot of us don't. But there are those, and some who even hold high public office, who still think (I would call it delusionally so) that they can be reasoned with. Why is that? When have they shown the least inclination to bargain or argue faithfully, let alone for the good of the country? If we take a look at what they profess to believe--based on their actions over the last decade and 1/2--we can easily see that they are pursuing a singular goal, and compromising or bargaining have nothing to do with achieving that goal.
They want to destroy the New Deal and the Progressive era that preceded it, and return us to the apparently halcyon days of 1885. (I will leave it to others to argue that they actually are hardcore racists and want a return any earlier than that.) It should be obvious to all that this is the goal; what do they call for more than anything else? Lower taxes and less regulation. The income tax was established on a permanent basis in 1913, so we know they want to go back before that. Popular calls for governmental regulation of businesses stemmed mainly from the public health threats posed by pre-Pure Food and Drug Act immoral business behavior, so we know we have to date it before 1906. The Panic of 1893 created a public clamor for stronger regulation of the economy, so it has to be before that. (I put it at 1885, because one other main component of Republican ideology is the desire to completely eliminate unions, and the first union (the AFL) was formed in 1886. They've almost succeeded in that task already, so I felt it unnecessary to include it above.)
While this may just be a cute semantic exercise, I think it is instructive to see how truly radical the modern Republican Party has become. These are not conservatives trying to undo a few Administrations' worth of "missteps"--although since Republicans have controlled the White House for all but 14 of the last 42 years, I'm not sure how anyone would think that--these are revolutionaries seeking to change the foundations of the way we've lived in this country for 126 years! There is no amount of bargaining plausible that would enable one to reach that kind of goal, so it is no surprise that Republicans are totally uninterested in doing any.
No surprise, that is, except apparently for the Democrats we now have in "power." "Led" by President Obama, Democrats in Congress have repeatedly attempted to craft legislation that would garner Republican votes, only to be stymied time and time again, even for the weakest of weak sauces. Only when a bill furthers the Republican goal (like the bailout of GM and the banks, which used money directly from we the people)--or better yet, one that is in appearance anti-Republican, but in reality still works to funnel money to the business sector (like the health insurance reform act, which has done nothing to protect against rate hikes, but will mandate universal participation)--will they reluctantly allow passage. That Obama (especially) and other Dems would then praise their own efforts at "getting something done", or passing a "grand bargain", is simply too galling to stomach for long. Yet still it continues.
It seems clear to me, at least, that Obama is not stupid, nor does he appear naive (he would have to be both to have not learned how the Republicans operate this far into his tenure), so we have to conclude that either a) he has no ideology at all, and is only interested in the inside baseball of political wrangling and process regardless of outcome; or b) he has an ideology directly opposed to the Democratic Party platform, but knew he couldn't get elected/re-elected as a Republican or independent and wanted the job badly. I can't imagine that he truly feels like he is accomplishing anything but enabling the Republicans to achieve their goals at this point, unless a) is true and his only goal is to sign legislation he helped pilot through a contentious Congress. Why else would he continue to engage any Republicans in discussions of policy or legislative matters, given their stated desires to both destroy him and eliminate any vestige of governmental help for the less-than-overwhelmingly rich?
It is inconceivable to me that anyone not brain dead would deny the Republican intransigence and seek to work around it, but instead Obama and the other leading Dems (with the probable exception of the now-powerless House Minority Leader Pelosi) repeatedly include Republicans in their feeble attempts to govern. (The new "Super-Congress" is merely the latest, albeit the most ridiculous and almost certainly unConstitutional, effort to get Republicans to disregard their well-established motives.) It really is baffling, but only if one tries to square the circle of believing that Obama and his seeming lapdogs are actually trying to follow the Democratic Party platform. Once one drops that pretense and acknowledges that Obama has no desire to do so, for whatever reasons he has, one begins to understand how well and truly finished we are. So, let's ring in the New Year of 1885, now and forevermore!

Labels: , , , ,