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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Kabuki Dancing to the Edge...

U.S., Taxes, Quality of Life, Political, Economy, Employment

The grand Kabuki Dance is alive and well following the election just past.  We are witnesses to it today as the politicians’ posture to wreak havoc on the opposition party while supposedly being concerned about us citizen-taxpayers.

We are finally in the high season of brinksmanship surrounding the ‘fiscal cliff’ debate.  It is actually not proper to call this a debate since there is no real debate, only politicians posturing and scurrying around in this mad dance as the clock ticks toward zero.

The effort being made is a combination of some posing for ‘holy pictures’ with all the huff and puff they can muster to demonstrate they were the right choice to be sent to Washington, and the opposition that believes it will win the ultimate battle only if time is running very short before the calamity we all know lies ahead manifests itself.

This political fight isn’t really about us at all.  It is the reliance on the ‘blood sport’ that is politics today.  The Republicans are greatly weakened following the past election whether or not they know that.  The Democrats see an opportunity to take their brand to higher approval levels…or failing that to further diminish the Republican brand nearly to the point where its very viability will come into question.

Lost in all this gamesmanship is us and the very real danger we all face if the fall off the fiscal cliff isn’t averted.  We, at least, understand that one cannot continually spend money one doesn’t have, and that what we borrow has to be repaid unless we use the bankruptcy out.  Our government or more to the point the majority in our government believes we can have it both ways.  We can, according to that group, continue to spend what we don’t have and we can simply increase taxes to cover the shortfall that we’ve not already borrowed sufficiently to cover.

Somehow, we will be okay even though we plainly see European states that aren’t okay having followed the same pathway.

The people who posture in this way are actually not as dumb as some of us would believe.  These are very bright, very shrewd people who have motives for every action even though we do not comprehend what those motives could be.  We are watching the clash of political titans, at least in their own minds, as the Kabuki Dance plays out on the national stage.  This dance is designed to take us to the eleventh hour, or slightly beyond if necessary, and then to see an agreement that involves exactly what the Democrats wanted, but at the expense of the Republicans.

Most of us have great difficulty believing that people would do this, but then we are not politicians or at least not politicians at the pinnacle of this art form.  This is the level of rarified air where what might be best for you and me is a distant second to what makes the most political sense; but also where we’ll be told it is good for us and that we are simply not bright enough to grasp why that is so.  This is where the thing we call ObamaCare was crafted and passed into law at some 3AM by the then majority that coincidentally is the current majority.  We were told that was going to be great for us and that we had but to wait for it to come into existence and then we’d be able to see the wisdom of the act.  We are about to learn if that was good as we were told or not-so-good.  It is unfortunate that we have gotten to the point we are at with our national government and with politics at that highest level.

That having been said, the government at that level was soundly reaffirmed last November.  We can only hope, at this point, that we voters were wise in the selections we made.

Back to the ‘fiscal cliff’: Republicans are likely damned if they do and damned if they don’t reach some agreement.  That agreement will obviously carry tax increases and those who signed the Grover Norquist “no tax increase” pledge will be held accountable.  If the agreement carries significant spending reductions…real reductions and not just fluff…there may be some excuse for breaking their vow. 

It seems a shame that politicians have generally denigrated themselves to the point where such things as a “no tax increase” pledge are felt to be necessary.  It is a shame that we have returned those politicians whom we felt had betrayed our confidence when we should rather have let them know we weren’t happy by unelecting them.  But, we have the habit of simply keeping the same people in office even though we now rate Congress overall as being good by a margin of 20% favorable to 80% unfavorable.

Maybe in the end this is our fault and not theirs.  It will be a shame if we go over the cliff and have no way to reform our national voting habits.

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