Thursday, December 2, 2010

Vicious vs. Precious

One of the most frustrating things in life is the feeling of helplessness.  For example when we know something bad is about to happen but we are unable to effect a change.
It is akin to watching an impending car accident with no way to warn the drivers.
Or how about hearing someone tell a lie and knowing that they themselves realize they are lying!
This one is particularly irksome when nobody ever seems willing to point out their lie.
It is this last example that is frustrating Americans or at least middle class Americans when it comes to our political leaders these days.
Many of these talking heads use sound bites to convey a message that they probably do not believe themselves.  They do so for political expediency.  They know the message will stick.
A few years back a candidate for the office of President used a ridiculous ad on television that showed his opponent riding an ever turning ‘sailboard’ (similar to the one shown here) to describe the man as a “flip-flopper.”  He claimed that the guy said one thing one time and then changed his mind to say something else later.
The odd thing is the message worked and the lying candidate was able to squeak into office, with the help of a few other oddities but that’s for another time.
But the ‘flip-flop’ charge is absurd.
Sans flight suit W claims victory!
Suppose the President is following a policy that he or she realizes at a later date is wrong?  For example say the President starts a war for a reason that turns out to be an out and out lie.  Would we want that leader to ‘stay the course’ or would we expect him to take a step back and change direction?
I certainly hope it would be the latter choice lest many lives be lost unnecessarily.
Flip-flopping goes with the territory of being human.  Information helps us make decisions and wrong information clouds our judgment.
But the fact that telling lies and saying what we think the listener wants to hear gets us elected to office means that lying is not only here to stay but is an integral part of the process.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a truthful politician?
The odds of that happening are about the same as me winning the Kentucky Derby - without a horse to ride – barefoot – in the rain – at night - blindfolded.
So we are stuck listening to a never ending procession of inane reasons why the economy is the other guys fault.
And that brings me to the current pressing argument about taxes.
For years the Republican Party has been helping the wealthiest people of the country find loopholes in the tax structure as well as pushing for even more tax breaks with every session of Congress.
The argument is a simple one, in more than one way; “The wealthy create jobs and hire people so they must have tax breaks to give them more money with which to do so.”
That and ‘I’ll respect you in the morning’ are probably two of the biggest lies you will ever hear in your lifetime. (For men the latter is probably the biggest lie.)
We are stuck in a vicious cycle that has the wealthy moving farther into the financial stratosphere while the poor and middle class head toward poverty.
But there is still a chance to turn that vicious cycle into a precious one.
America needs this to happen.
We must take the bull by the horns (not the tail) and face the problem.

Here is a fantasy involving a high ranking member of the Republican Party, for ease of use I choose John Boehner talking questions at a news conference after being given a shot of sodium pentothal:

Reporter: Sir, do you feel that the Bush tax cuts should be continued for all Americans?
Boehner: Absolutely.
R: Really?  For every American? Even those making over a million dollars a year?
A rare photo of Boehner
without his signature
orange glow.
B: Of course. (He takes out a card from his pocket and reads.) The wealthy people in this country create jobs and if we keep stealing money from them they won’t have enough left to hire anyone. And the uncertainty of the Obama tax law is killing their incentive. And without knowing how much they will have to pay for the constitutionally illegal Obamacare health insurance policies how can they hire new workers?  The last election gave us a mandate and the people spoke and we heard them and we want to help them.  It is the policies of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid that are stagnating this great nation and the Barney Franks who are trying to turn our wonderful wealthy citizens into demons. They should be lauded as great people who will turn this country around and make it the greatest nation in the world once again and that’s why…
R: EXCUSE ME SIR? Are you okay?
B: What?  Huh?  Of course I am.  What do you mean?  Why do you ask?
R: Well your eyes seemed to glaze over there for a bit and your speech started to slow near the end of your rant.
B: (Confused and sweating profusely) I’m fine.
R: Glad to hear that.  So now I’d like to get back to the issue at hand.  And if you wouldn’t mind I’d like you to answer with just a yes or a no.  Do you think you can handle that?
B: I suppose, I mean yes.
R: First I ask that you put away the cliff notes.
(B places the folded card back in his pocket.  At this point the drug has finally taken hold and the Congressman’s voice becomes monotone.)
R: Thank you.  I’m going to put forth two scenarios. I want you to state which one works better, okay?
B: Yes.
R: First one: We keep the Bush tax cuts going for all, allowing the wealthiest people to continue to keep nearly all their money as they have been doing for the last ten years.  We then hope they will start to spend some on hiring new workers who in turn will use some of their new salary to buy the products that the wealthy business owners produce even though to date they have not done so nor show signs of wanting to do so as yet.  Okay, that’s the first one.  Can you remember that while I tell you the second one?
B: Yes.
R: Instead of giving the wealthy a continued gift we continue the tax cuts only for the lower or middle class worker. In other words people with incomes of say $250K to $300K per year or less.
Going back to the pre-Bush tax rate on the wealthy, an undisputed time of national prosperity, will afford the government enough money to start fixing the nation’s infrastructure, something the Republicans used to feel was important.
The people hired to fill the newly created jobs will suddenly have an income and extra money to spend.
The spending spurs businesses to produce more and in effect allows them to make more profits, hiring more workers to cover the new orders.
The cycle continues as all involved are now making more money and as a result paying more in taxes which in turn will go toward the government’s bottom line.
This then would aid in lowering the National Debt.  And a lower deficit is another supposed pet project of the Republicans.
So in the long run which scenario do you think would work better for the country and every citizen as a whole?
B: The second one.
R: Thank you sir, that’s all.

A loud roar of elation comes from the room as the reporters joyously leave to celebrate an unexpected productive press conference.
Angry McConnell about to
plant one on Boehner.
John Boehner is greeted by Mitch McConnell who promptly punches him squarely in the nose while the rest of the Republican Party members present at their Waterloo yell and shout that he has really screwed things up.
Multi-national corporations go into closed door meetings to decide how to spin the fiasco.
Fox News who understandably switched to a repeat of “The Best of NASCAR” during the press conference gets ready to report that they have evidence of an imposter being planted in a John Boehner costume.
Andrew Breitbart, at the behest of Roger Ailes, is already working on a fake documentary showing the above to be true.
And somewhere an adviser is translating all that just happened into one-syllable words for Sarah Palin.

No comments: