Especially in the old days of movie making, when an actress was as tall or taller than her leading man, a trench might be dug for her to stand or walk in so that on camera, she could look up at him and he could look down at her. The very intentionally pro-corporate/wealthy way Republicans have approached the budget issue is not so dissimilar.
With regards to the nation’s budget, The Republican Party has pressed upon the consciousness of this nation that the only way for the country to look tall again to all of us, is to dig trenches under all of its people…except the wealthiest of course.
As we all know from taking care of our own lives, there is a binary aspect to one’s budget….there is the amount one receives and the amount one expends. If we are having trouble making ends meet, we seek to both reduce our expenses and find ways to increase how much money we can bring in.
Republicans have instead presented to the public and MSM a false, one-sided meme that has been cemented in for some reason, despite it clearly being fraudulent. That is, the only way to balance a budget is by cutting what is spent. They have whitewashed out of the picture the just-as-critical factor of increasing revenue. They’ve accomplished this through unceasing, multiple directions of attack.
1. Convince the Public That Government is Bad
The only entity that stands between corporate domination of the people of the United States and a legitimate democracy…is our government. The consistent, decades-long campaign by Republicans to attack our government as “evil” and “bad” (even when they’ve been in control of all branches!) has an end game. Destroy the public’s power by creating both distrust and apathy towards the government that protects it. That reduces support and voter turnout which makes buying candidates and votes (through campaign ads and propaganda) far easier. It also does another very important thing, it puts the public in a position to cheer the weakening of their own government.
After all, such a corrupt and inept behemoth that does nothing right except take our money from us, should be smothered in its crib as the Republicans say, right?
2. Convince The Public That Only By Cutting Spending on Those Who Aren’t Wealthy, We Will All Be Wealthier.
The declarations by Republicans that around 50% of the nation doesn’t even pay income tax and the wealthy pay so much of it, the endless moaning about how high the corporate tax rates are in the US, the attacks on the unemployed as lazy, on teachers and all other public employees as greedy, on the elderly as eating up too much of our money through Medicare and Social Security and on and on while always saying that the wealthy and corporations that hold the lion’s share of wealth in this nation should have more.
They have all their ridiculous and unsubstantiated, even disproven talking points which have been hammered into the public consciousness such as, trickle down, calling the wealthy Plutocracy “Job Creators” (it does have a better ring than “Fascist Overlords”), insisting that tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs as does getting rid of government regulation and oversight (despite history proving the opposite). It’s a well thought out line of propaganda which is in fact saying, “Give those who are above you more of your wealth and labor and one day, it will all come back to you and you’ll be a millionaire too!”
Americans are terribly gullible. Ask anyone who bought a ticket to see Charlie Sheen perform live. They want so desperately to believe that they will indeed be millionaires one day, in fact, they buy lottery tickets that have a 1 in 195,249,054 chance of winning a jackpot (these are the actual odds of the Powerball lottery, meaning, if everyone in America, men, women and children, bought lottery tickets in Powerball…only one person out of the entire population of the United States is likely to win…but it could be you so buy your ticket now!).
Americans are still clapping for Tinkerbell as adults and those who are the most powerful and cynical, those who have invested billions over time in marketing to understand how best to manipulate Americans into buying products and politicians, know this and use this against them. This is how such a ridiculous proposition, that giving tax breaks to billionaire corporations who pay $0 in taxes, who have sent millions of jobs out of the country, who force those remaining employees to do twice as much work as they used to without their pay increasing, will give the other 99.5% of Americans all the wealth and happiness they’re looking for. Now, all of this is incorporated into the budgeting that the Republicans are doing under the guise of “being more fiscally responsible”. The destruction of the middle class and destroying the quality of life for a majority of the nation, in order to increase the wealth of the wealthy, is apparently “fiscally responsible”.
What I think the people of the United States should do is stand up to demand both fiscal and moral responsibility. We should demand that if the poor and middle class are going to be forced to sacrifice profoundly to put the nation on a solid economic footing, it’s high time for the wealthy to make just as severe a sacrifice. We have participated in this farce long enough, accepting that there is only one side to the coin, only the side of cutting expenses and not the side of increasing revenue.
There is a great deal of hardship that the cuts in the 2011 budget will impose on many Americans but those making $1 million dollars or more each year won’t experience any of that. What sacrifice is being asked of them? We simply can’t allow this Orwellian bullshit to go on without being called out for what it is. No, the wealthier getting wealthier does not make the poor wealthier or even the middle class. It just makes the wealthy wealthier and they are doing so by looting our taxes and cutting the services and safety nets we need. This makes no sense and though the loons in the Tea Party are oblivious to how they’re being used, average Americans should be urged to recognize this.
Which brings me to the budget negotiations ahead for 2012. Pres. Obama and the Dems have made a lot of compromises to get this 2011 budget passed, some were very severe. However, IMO, instead of focusing on what was done, those who care about their fellow Americans and the future of their nation should tell our President and Congress members, “Okay, now we can say we have made painful sacrifices for millions of Americans who are not well off. Now we need to stand tough on raising revenues from those who are very well off in a way that is just as painful to them.”
Either the point of all of this is for ALL of us in this nation to sacrifice for the betterment of the whole or it is for those who are not wealthy to sacrifice to keep those that are wealthy in the lifestyle to which they have come accustomed and ask if they want a foot massage and their grapes peeled.
I think that Pres. Obama and the Dems in Congress have the high ground now to demand tax increases and closed loopholes for the wealthy, to save this nation. I think that needs to be their strategy now. The Republican’s desire to kill Medicare won’t be permitted but the other severe cuts the Republicans have in mind for 99% of the nation can’t be permitted either. Yes, the Republicans will refuse to vote for tax increases but the sky won’t fall if the 2012 budget isn’t passed this year (we just passed the budget for this year with nearly half of it already gone by!).
If this means they’re going to threaten to vote against raising the debt ceiling, so be it. That will be solely on their heads then if the US and world economy worsen because it isn’t raised. The bottom line is, if we decide to go along with the Republicans on slowly poisoning our nation to death because if we don’t, they’re threatening to push it off a cliff, what’s the difference in the end? Either way we’re dead. The only way we survive is to push them into a corner and force them to either concede or ultimately expose themselves beyond any doubt as the danger they are to the nation and the world and how unfit they are to hold power.
With the fear of the Repubs blocking the increase of the debt ceiling assuaged, Obama and the Dems can turn to them and say, “Make my day.” Look how the Repubs buckled at the prospect of the government shutdown, they knew it would destroy them in 2012. Well…how would it look to them to have the world economy tanking because of them and them alone? I don’t think they’ll do it. Do they really believe that they could win in 2012 after causing the global economy to be thrown into turmoil? And even if they did, the rest of us rational folk know that 2012 would become a Dem landslide if that happened and then Obama and a Dem Congress could have to opportunity to reverse damage done in the previous two years by the Repubs.
The only way to deal with a bully is through strength. The Repubs got to have this recent budget fight on their own terms and they are expecting the next ones to be that way too. What Obama and the Dems should do is deny them this, stand up to them and say, “You want the majority of Americans to take another massive hit? No, we demand the wealthy take their turn sacrificing now.”
Face off with them on this issue, fighting for 99% of Americans and let the Repubs fight for the 1%. Define them and the election in 2012 now, this is about oppressing and taking from the American people to make the wealthy wealthier and more powerful or it’s about the wealthy making just as profound a sacrifice as the majority of the nation to save its future.
In other words, we’ve had enough of digging ditches under our feet to make the economy around us look bigger. Instead, it’s time to raise up the people and the economy with them.