Monday, August 22, 2011
Burden in Their Hand
"It's always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn... but not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again."
-- Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas on his opposition to a payroll tax cut extension demanded by President Obama
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled apparently wasn't convincing people that he didn't exist -- it was getting people to inexplicably rally around him, believing that he was doing good for them. I say this because if I got plowed over by a semi tomorrow morning I'd go to my grave not being able to grasp how the Republican party, as a whole, continues to get anyone at all to vote for it.
Read that quote above again, read the attribution, and understand that your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. That's a House Republican, one of many according to a report by the Associated Press, saying flat out -- without the least bit of shame or concern for being pilloried as the worst kind of hypocrite -- that he's against extending a tax cut that would primarily benefit the American working class. These are the same people, understand, that were willing to bring the country to the brink of default to avoid an increase in taxes on the wealthiest among us and on the most profitable corporations -- the same people who have fought with unprecedented ferocity to protect their precious Bush tax cuts and who signed, en masse, Grover Norquist's prodigiously idiotic pledge promising never to raise taxes under any circumstances -- and who are now willing to turn around and tell those truly struggling in the current economy and who could really use a tax break to go fuck themselves.
I wish there were more to this story -- that there was some kind of pure and benign motivation at the root of this madness -- that there was a decent reason why any House Republican who defends to the death the wealthy would oppose giving a leg up to the working and middle class in this country in the same way. I wish, but it just ain't so. The explanation they're falling back on for this unconscionable obstructionism -- what supposedly makes one tax break different from the other -- is the now ubiquitous and absolute horseshit conservative talking point that making life as easy as possible on the rich is the carrot on the stick that leads them to create jobs. Jobs like, you know, the millions they've created since ending up on receiving end of the most impressive load of government-sanctioned tax largesse in a generation. Everything else, of course -- any consideration suggested that isn't aimed squarely at helping the very well-off stay that way -- falls under the heading of strictly forbidden in the name of warding off the omnipresent threat posed by Debtzilla, which in case you haven't heard is sitting just off the coast of our country, waiting to stomp us all to death at any given moment.
The real reason the GOP is, by and large, opposing the payroll tax extension is as transparent as it is fucking deplorable: It's something Barack Obama wants and says will help our flailing economy. And as I've said before, more than once, and as they prove over and over again, the current crop of Republicans care more about making the president look bad in the hope of retaking the White House than they do about actually helping Americans. They hate Obama more than they love this country. Period. They would burn this entire nation to the ground and leave it a hollow shell of what it once was if it meant that they could rule whatever's left.
You know something? I hope to hell that if you support this kind of indefensible crap you're not one of those people who also has a sticker reading "Freedom Isn't Free" proudly emblazoned on the back of your car or truck or whatever. Why? Because you're right -- it isn't free. It costs you -- it costs all of us -- to live here, to thrive here, to make a future for our families here, in the United States of America. It took your tax dollars and mine to make this nation what it is; it hurts like hell to pay those taxes sometimes, but they are a necessity. Without them, you have no America to giddily proclaim unwavering allegiance to. The weakest among us, those who make barely enough to survive, pay less to the government for the simple reason that even a few dollars to them means that they and their families don't eat. Those for whom America has provided the platform upon which to launch endeavors that have made them vast fortunes -- they sometimes have to pay a little more, and they should damn well want to. This country has taken excellent care of them by helping them to accumulate immense wealth and, despite bullshit political arguments to the contrary, has done so partially by placing very few restrictions on their capitalist enterprises. They're living the American dream -- but once again, that privilege isn't free. It never was. The working class built this nation from the ground up and continue to defend it at home and overseas; they are the mortar that holds the United States together.
It's time to start honoring our responsibility to them again.
Because what we're witnessing now truly is a brand of class warfare. And if you haven't been paying attention -- it's a fucking rout.