Monday, December 31, 2012

Republicans’ Unhealthy Entitlement Drags America Over the Fiscal Cliff



The sardonic look on this cat's face - you idiots! - is how I feel about Republicans right now. The mentality that has America heading over the fiscal cliff is part the same willingness to sacrifice liberty that characterizes NRA leadership.  Republicans are remaining intractable – as we all knew they would - quibbling, for one, over tax hikes that are so miniscule they’d barely be noticeable by those targeted.

One of the latest quibbles stopping a deal is over inheritance tax that would affect 0.01% of the American population! America falling over the fiscal cliff? Not a bit of it. The country has been dragged over it. Last night on CNN Ali Velshi made a great point – that this is the biggest potential financial disaster with the longest warning period in history. 

The issues should have been ironed out years ago, but Barack Obama has had his hands full – with Republican obstructionism giving him double work. And Republicans in any case have been deliberately pushing this deadline away, in the belief that eventually they’d have a Republican president who could give them what they want. Another GW Bush era. 

Well, this one is backfiring on them. They were fast losing popularity anyway as demographics change and women and minorities become more empowered. After the election everybody was talking about how if they don’t change they’ll die out. But their behavior over the fiscal cliff has turned more people against them. Across the board they’re already being blamed for the crisis America is in. And rightly. 

Looking at the way they’re behaving, it’s easy to believe they’re stupid men. But they’re not. What’s motivating them then? No matter what they say about how much they care about the economy and America they’ve shown they don’t give a damn because they’ve refused very reasonable deals that President Obama has brought to them and they’ve been happy to gamble with the economy in a way that could destroy it.

For amounts of money that won’t really affect those who would have to pay. Not in a real way. When you’re earning $300 000 a year, $187 a month (more or less what you’d pay in extra tax that Obama proposed) is probably money you throw away on things you don’t need and wouldn’t miss. I don’t think this is about money for Republicans.

It’s about power and entitlement. They talk a lot about how damaging entitlement is in America, but it works both ways; it’s not confined to people who are struggling to earn enough and need assistance. In fact that’s healthy entitlement. Anybody who’s made it has done so because they got the assistance they needed – in the form of education, bank loans, help from friends or community. If you’re trying to scrape yourself off the sidewalk and nobody helps you don’t get up.

The entitlement that’s unhealthy is about not taking responsibility for the consequences of your action. Letting somebody else pay. Republicans in Congress have this kind of unhealthy entitlement, just like NRA leadership, gun manufacturers and the military industrial complex. People without a conscience. Bullies. The scary thing is they actually can’t see what they’re doing.
 
They pin their resistance on facts and figures but they’re deaf to logical and rational argument because it isn’t about facts, it’s about unreasonable power. The only thing that breaks unhealthy entitlement is a crisis. And curiously, Republicans are making sure that it happens. Bullies never believe the consequence will be upon them one day. But that day of reckoning always comes.

The thing is, it takes everybody down. Often the bullies suffer the least at first, which seems unfair, but it also forces reasonable people to realize they have to empower themselves to play more of a part and strip the bullies of their power. And then the day of reckoning is really upon them.  Life has this really beautiful aspect to it – wake up and see what you’re doing. When we do, things get better. On which positive note, I end the year. 

Happy New Year!May 2013 be brighter for you and better in every way; happier, easier, more deeply fulfilling and rewarding, more fun, more filled with love.