So, you might have heard by now that the Congressional "Supercommittee," a bipartisan effort to overcome partisan gridlock, has succumbed to...partisan gridlock.
This is from USA Today:
Republicans refused to cross their ideological line against increasing taxes. Democrats refused to allow cuts in popular programs that serve the elderly and poor without a compensating growth of government income, especially from the wealthiest Americans.
No one really knew what the Supercommittee was doing, anyway, so the sham of its negotiations — which looked as if they would have high sham potential from the git-go — ended in #EPICFAIL shouldn't shock anyone. But the USA Today report is admirable for starkly stating the core difference between the two sides.
That said, it's easy to cast the Democrats as pro-tax, in the interest of being pro-poor and pro-old folks, while saying that the Republicans wouldn't raise taxes if the future of the, um...republic depended on it.
Many democratic, non-rich voters dislike taxes intensely. But they've done the math and they know that they need to pay more. And this is the middle class. They've cleverly figured out that there isn't much hope for the survival of a middle class in the future if taxes don't rise. And they're happy, under the circumstances, to pay more.
The GOP, on the other hand, believes that taxes are a categorical evil. Except in the case of the payroll tax holiday, of course, which Republicans — at least some — consider an aberration. One GOPer, John Cornyn, has even said that it would speed up the insolvency of Social Security, which might be true if the cut were extended out for something like a decade or more.
But it isn't true. It's a damaging hallucination, based on the erroneous notion that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme or is somehow going to bankrupt us.
Bottom line: Taxes need to rise. Everyone but those who can most afford the hike, the wealthy, is onboard with this reality. So welcome to an entire year of inaction on the most pressing financial downturn since that little problem in 1929. High unemployment? Here to stay. Slow growth? Ditto. More stuckflation? You bet.
But enjoy the 2012 presidential campaign!