When in doubt, punt!
– John Heisman
Barack Obama has learned the Art of the Deal. Following the Jujitsu of Compromise has led President Obama to offer the following. He will extend the entire menu of Bush Tax Cuts two years, if the GOP will approve a 13 month extension of unemployment benefits.
The President offered the following commentary.
“It’s not perfect, but this compromise is an essential step on the road to recovery,” Mr. Obama said. “It will stop middle-class taxes from going up. It will spur our private sector to create millions of new jobs, and add momentum that our economy badly needs.”
(CNBC – Ob. Cit.)
Here is where I differ from our nation’s Feckless Leader. I believe this is a short term palliative; akin to snorting cocaine so that your cancer hurts somewhat less. The near-term cost of this fiasco is $900 Bn in additional debt. In the long term, it sends a far worse message. It doesn’t quite guarantee a US default on its national debt, (we have a Federal Reserve and a managed fiat currency to properly engineer the details of that).
What it does, is that it institutionalizes negative changes to how our society operates. It makes the bad trends we’re stuck in harder to reverse. It allows The Boy President to once more vote “Present” and follow the path of least resistance. It does so despite the fact that a “Dead Man’s Spin” is an aeronautical path of least resistance almost every time.
The “Professional” Left greeted this deal with the sound of one hand clapping. The no-doubt Marxian Progressive Change Campaign Committee expresses deep existential angst and then projects it onto the person of our Sun President.
“President Obama has shown a complete refusal to fight Republicans throughout his presidency even when the public is on his side — and millions of his former supporters are now growing disappointed and infuriated by this refusal to fight,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “Obama is demobilizing the troops and demoralizing the public right before he seeks reelection,” Green said.
No, Mr. Green, this tergiversation doesn’t necessarily effect the Presidential race. This effects lots of other Democratic politicians. Jim Webb, Claire McCaskill, Sherrod Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse all come to mind. None of these fine, upstanding individuals *wants* to spend his/her reelection bid explaining their stance on tax cut extensions or perpetually subsidized unemployment to a pissed-off electorate that still awaits Recovery Summer. Thus, the pResident and the surviving House and Senate Democrats are holding Blame-a-polooza to determine who gets left holding the bag of flaming dog poo over this deal.
Yet the GOP should not be celebrating and taking long, hot showers together at 3am in the morning. This deal is an extension with many of America’s problems. We probably won’t tackle these issues two years hence either. These tough and controversial issues could prevent the GOP from capturing and doing absolutely nothing useful or decent with the US Senate. Michelle Malkin recently explained the problems faced by people who do want to face up to our national financial train wreck.
“If you put enough government cheese in front of people, they are just going to keep eating it.”
I’m not one to believe the poor and the unemployed are lazy. When inactivity is generously subsidized, and work is reduced to a sucker’s game, they eat the government cheese and stop really trying. This is because they are generally very rational over the short term. They won’t build the next Hagia Sophia absent exogenous guidance; but they’ll D— Skippy figure out how to stay alive until next year.
Now I could get all William F. Buckley here and castigate the rabble; for their impious failure to plan for the future, athwart the fundamentally decent commonweal (or some pretentious crap like that). But now we have no rabble to castigate. I see nothing in this deal that doesn’t involve Barack Obama philosophically ceding his gravitas to retain his titular honors. He punted. He made like the British Army at Dunkirk and retreated in as tactically sound a fashion as the debacle at hand would allow.
It isn’t just “the poor” facing tomorrow the way a doomed hart stairs down the headlights of an approaching F-350. Today just isn’t looking to be the day we reverse the rise of the oceans and let the planet start to heal. Our leadership doesn’t steer the state as much as it hangs on for dear life and hopes Robert Gibbs, the Rodeo Clown, can prevent them adorning the horns of “Widdamaker” The Mighty Bull.
Instead we compromise. We sell out a piece of the future to buy us palliation of the present grievances. We kill time, mark off the hours and days, as Pink Floyd once put it, “Fritter and waste the hours, in an off-hand way.”
It was the great Henry David Thoreau who aptly summed up the problem with America’s modern leadership, personified in our maddeningly disingenuous President. “When we kill time we wound eternity.” The question I hope John Boehner is ready to ask a few people would be “How much more of this crap can our particular eternity withstand?”