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Posted by on Dec 1, 2012 in Economy, Politics | 10 comments

The Dangers Of Trying To Create An Alternate Reality

It started during the administration of George W. Bush – the idea that Republicans/conservatives could create  their own reality. In this alternate reality Mitt Romney was going to win the election and the Republicans were going to regain control of the Senate. That didn’t work out too well but as Matt Lewis points out they are still trying.

On the fiscal cliff, Republicans are so screwed

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see how Republicans have anything but bad options regarding the fiscal cliff. At least, not in the short term.

Even if Republicans negotiate the best bipartisan deal possible (something akin to the Corker plan), anyone who votes for it would be accused of selling out.

This would cause the base to either become demoralized or (more likely) angry — angry enough to primary the “read my lips” traitors. Either way, it’s not a good thing.

On the other hand, if no deal is reached, Republicans will surely be blamed (this is always a safe assumption and a smart default position — for a variety of reasons.)

This hasn’t stopped some conservative pundits from acting as if Republicans hold all the cards. But the notion that Republicans have leverage is silly. It’s the same kind of happy thinking that led some to boldly predict a Romney victory.

Indeed, they seem to have learned nothing.  Doug Mataconis:

The GOP is coming off an election where they completely misjudged the mood of the public, and paid the price for that at the poling place. Now, they’re stuck in a showdown with a re-elected, and clearly confident, President over issues where they are out of step with the public mood. In the midst of this, they’ve got people like Grover Norquist and Rush Limbaugh telling them to hold the line on taxes and not give an inch to the President. And they’re starting to believe it. The longer they hold on to this delusion, the more likely it is that they’ll find themselves on the losing end up of yet another political argument in a month or so.

I would add that unless the Republicans give up their alternate reality they will not only lose anther political argument in a month or so but end up on the losing side of a few more elections.

Cross posted at Middle Earth Journal

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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • sheknows

    What concerns me most is that I don’t see any wins for the middle and lower classes here. While the two partie are slugging it out, and Reps are walking on eggshells politically, the battleground may be strewn with the innocent.
    If Reps get what they want, no tax hike( just deductions) and cuts to programs, who suffers? If they don’t get their tax break but bigger cuts to programs, who suffers? When you reduce the amount of money the wealthy can bring home, they simply pass that along to the middle and lower classes. So consumers pay more for products and services, lay-offs, fewer benefits AND their programs are cut. If the “job creators” have to pay more that means everyone else has to pay. Not only that, Obamacare already has many job creators freaking out and laying off, cutting benefits etc.
    I guess I just don’t see a middle class emerging from this unscathed, but more like bloody.

  • zephyr

    Ron, I truly want to believe the electorate is smart enough to stop enabling a highly dysfunctional and utterly untrustworthy GOP – for the next couple election cycles at least. I also want to believe Obama’s mind and heart are focused on being a champion for the middle class and the poor and that he will refuse to acquiesce in any way to the greed mongers and sociopaths who have had their way for so long. This is asking a lot I know. Only time will tell…

  • RomneyFromAnnapolis

    The “job creators” pass along as little money to the working and middle class as they can get away with. They have since the beginning of currency. Sales and revenue drive hiring and firing decisions in most businesses not tax rates. (Businesses are taxed on profit not revenue)

    It seems to me the only sensible play for the republicans is to wait until January 3rd then give Obama that tax rates he wants, scale back some of the crazier deductions that only the wealthy use (cap the mortgage interest deduction at say $500k instead of a million) THEN turn to Obama and hit him over the head with 6-8 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years hitting some of the favorite programs of the dems.

    They can then turn to the American people and say “see we compromised” and Obama is left with no choice but to accept the deal. They can then get their tax rates back if they can manage to retake the White House in 2016.

  • sheknows

    Chilling scenario Romney. Fortuntely Obama would never accept 6-8 tril in cuts. I think only $480 bil is on the table now.
    Just a thought though, if sales and revenue drive hiring and firing decisions, why are so many “job creators” letting people go because of Obamacare? Wouldn’t they be less productive as a company and cut their own throat? Somehow, they must see it as saving money for themselves.

  • Rcoutme

    The ACA (Affordable Health Care Act) mandates that large employers have some sort of health insurance option for their full-time workers. The reason that the “job creators” are letting go of some workers is due to the increased cost of those health plans (i.e. Worker benefits just got more expensive, so having workers got more expensive…sort of like a forced pay increase to each worker…for those who did not offer such benefits before, of course).

    This entire idea of “shared sacrifice” is kind of upsetting. This is Congress and the President telling millionaires and billionaires, “You have to do without that extra yacht/Lexus/vacation home,” while telling poor and near-poor people, “You have to do without nutritious food.” The Middle Class and poor have already sacrificed in this economy. All of the gains since the trough during the recession (June 2009) went to the upper 1-2%. The rest have taken pay cuts (if they work) on average.

  • zusa1

    Who do you think is benefiting from all of this quantitative easing?

    “As the Bank of England considers unleashing a fresh round of QE, Dhaval Joshi, of BCA Research, argues the approach of creating electronic money pushes up share prices and profits without feeding through to wages.

    “The evidence suggests that QE cash ends up overwhelmingly in profits, thereby exacerbating already extreme income inequality and the consequent social tensions that arise from it,” Joshi says in a new report.He points out that real wages – adjusted for inflation – have fallen in both the US and UK, where QE has been a key tool for boosting growth. In Germany, meanwhile, where there has been no quantitative easing, real wages have risen.

    As the Bank waded into the financial markets to spend its £200bn of newly created money, mostly on government bonds, the price of many assets, including shares and commodities such as oil, was driven up.

    That helped to boost companies’ revenues, but Joshi argues that with the labour market remaining weak, employees have had little hope of bidding up their wages. “The shocking thing is, two years into an ostensible recovery, [UK] workers are actually earning less than at the depth of the recession. Real wages and salaries have fallen by £4bn. Profits are up by £11bn. The spoils of the recovery have been shared in the most unequal of ways.”

    Joshi adds that this also helps to explain why sales of high-end luxury goods have continued to soar, while many consumers have been forced to tighten their belts.

    “High-income earners are more exposed to profits as owners of businesses or shareholders. Low-income earners are dependent on wages,” he says.

  • zephyr

    Rc, agreed. So far “shared sacrifice” has been a phrase only. Sharing has to mean those who have benefited the most have to step up a bit more. It’s not like they will experience anything remotely like belt tightening anyway. E pluribus unum, not e pluribus pluribus.

  • petew

    There is also the chance that most Republicans will dessert the Grover Norquist promise to resist all taxes, while simultaneously talking about the idea that they are being honest and open minded about solving our financial crisis—At least, let’s hope they will!

    I am sure that Republicans have a lot of valid points to make about the size of government and the excessive spending of that government, but to say they are creating their own reality, is putting it mildly. Not only do they refuse to acknowledge that tax revenues, as well as eliminating tax loopholes, are both required in order to appreciably reduce the debt,they are also convinced that the Debt ceiling doesn’t need to be raised unless an equivalent amount of spending is cut. It doesn’t seem to matter that the debt ceiling is meant to pay for expenses the government has already incurred, or that, it is just not going to work to make cuts that are equal to increased tax revenues, and hope that this will somehow put us immediately on a solid path to reduce the budget deficit and the National Debt.

    When you make your car payments, pay your mortgage, buy furniture, pay for medical care, and purchase food and clothing, thank God you are not also required to immediately increase your extra revenues by the same amounts (or visa versa) You would never really get anywhere financially! So why should the government wear a fiscal straight jacket by attempting to do the same thing?

    Although modest cuts in SS and Medicare may be required as part of the final equation, Republicans have got to give of the alternate reality they have created by swearing allegiance to the Norquist pledge. Even Ronald Reagan realized that sometimes it is necessary to increase taxes, in order to fully balance the budget.

    The GOP has spread so many lies and inaccurate opinions, that I am beginning to wonder if they won’t soon dispute even Webster’s Dictionary and, insist on rewriting the definitions of words they don’t like. The day no one realizes the value of speaking the truth, will be the day that we know longer live in a viable Democracy. All Political lies are eventually just as bad as the lies of destructive and power hungry dictators! Let’s please give our independent fact checkers at least some benefit of the doubt!

  • zephyr

    Petew, your last paragraph says it all. Unfortunately we already live in a time when reality has been deeply infected by those who place perception above the truth. It is up to people of good sense and noble purpose to call it out whenever they see it – this includes leadership from on high. Those who are dismissive of the problem or who choose to downplay it (in the various standard forms we see repeated ad nauseum) are in fact part of the problem.

  • petew

    Thanks Zephyr,

    I recently watched a PBS special about Citizens United, and the fact that mega-donations may be made anonymously without identifying who or what company provides them. An interviewer asked one of those involved if he didn’t think that people had a right to know this information in order to vote as well informed citizens. The Super-pack honcho stated that people didn’t even need to know this information and that those who insist on having it are, “left-wing nut jobs,” (although this may not be an exact quote). The next segment of the documentary included the amazement of a Midwestern farmer who looked more like the pitchfork holding man in AMERICAN GOTHIC, rather than some sort of “hippie weirdo.” He and his wife asserted that such information is, or course, everybody’s right, and, deserves to be openly known.

    I think the members of the Press and the journalists who keep us informed, are going to have to show some courage by insisting on reporting the truth, rather than constantly constraining themselves by the need not to sound biased, and therefore upset the people who provide advertising dollars for their publications and news outlets. After all, freedom of the press needs to have actual power to expose lies, as well as report differing opinions.


    I don’t know where the GOP seems to get the idea that Democrats are deaf and blind about the need to enact cuts in spending. I have heard the President and other Democrats acknowledge this fact for quite some time and, of course, the only difference is in what should be cut, and how much.

    I think even if taxes were raised to equal limits prior to the Kennedy era, the wealthy would remain wealthy and obviously not suffer anywhere near the hardships that currently plague the middle class. They do have a right to make money, and to not want too much of it removed by taxation, but this is a time of crisis, and the middle and lower classes have already been forced to suffer severely on account of the unethical practices of Wall Street executives who deliberately made greedy investments which plainly risked other peoples hard earned money. Many of those people have been forced to lose virtually EVERYTHING!

    Sure, not all businessmen caused the crash, but when we need sacrifices it only makes sense to tap the reserves of those who will really not suffer from surrendering a bit more. It is maddening to watch them cling stubbornly and refuse even to return to the tax rates under Clinton, when the economy happened to do just fine, while hard working families lost homes, jobs, retirement savings, and college futures for their children solely because of the willful greed on Wall Street. Yes, the numbers and kinds of spending cuts we need CAN be determined thorough compromise, but tax rate increases along with closing many loopholes for the privileged has to, and needs to, end also. When you think of it, even the common practice of using off shore accounts to evade taxes, is hardly fair or ethical at all! Republican’s need to send Grover Norquist and his enslaving pledge packing,if that’s what it finally takes!

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