Smoke, Mirrors and Stupidity

November 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s three days after the election, the negotiations for avoiding the “fiscal cliff” have not begun, but already there is evidence that Democrats either don’t have a clue about how to negotiate or they are so morally challenged that they are more interested in accommodating their financial base (as distinguished from their human base; i.e. the men and women who voted for them) than they are in protecting those who will otherwise be unrepresented in the negotiations:  The working class and the poor.

Here are two quotes from page 3 of this morning’s NYTimes:

“Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, extended an olive branch to Republicans, suggesting Thursday that he could accept a tax plan that leaves the top tax rate at 35  percent, provided that loophole closings would hit the rich, not the middle class.  He previously had said that he would accept nothing short of a return to the top rate of Bill Clinton’s presidency, 39.6 percent.”

Nice going, Chuck.  It’s always a good idea to open the negotiations by conceding your red-line demand!

On the same page, here is how the GOP negotiates:

“Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, has said he will agree only to a deal that lowers the top income tax rate from the current 35 percent, not from the top top rate that is scheduled to kick in on Jan. 1, 39.6 percent.”

Looks like common ground to me.  Never mind about the election.  Never mind about Obama’s promise made, oh probably 10,000 times, about letting the “Bush tax cuts expire for those making more than $250,000 a year”.  All that had a “sell-by date” of November 6.  This is November 9.

I assume that Chuck’s Wall Street pals (they live in his neighborhood) ran into him at the gas station and reminded him that “one hand washes the other”.

I hope I’m wrong, but it appears that we are not going to get a simple, clear expression of the simple clear principle:  Medicade and CHIP and health-care subsidies and federal support for education should not be cut in order to let wealthy people enjoy an extra few thousand dollars worth of the “good life”.

The advantage of raising rates instead of working on “loopholes” is that the arcane consequences surrounding loopholes are too complex for ordinary people to understand.  The results of closing a loophole change with changes in the economic climate.  They were created by clever tax lawyers and lobbyists and, trust me, when the language is changed in the tax code, those same guys will design a way for their clients to avoid any harmful consequences.  If the “fiscal cliff” is solved by “closing loopholes”, the working class and the poor will be screwed.  And it will be like date rape.  They will be drugged in advance so they won’t even know what happened to them until the morning after.  That will be the subject for another election.  Once again, they will be asked to elect another champion and “this time we’ll get em”.

I’ve probably negotiated thousands of settlements with claims adjustors for insurance companies.  Even I knew better than opening the conversation by saying, “I want you to know I’m a nice reasonable guy.  I know you won’t pay my client for his actual damages, but just tell me what you will pay.”

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