wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,
wombat_socho
wombat_socho

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Sometimes you just can't reach people

Had a moderately frustrating (and thankfully brief) discussion with a friend this weekend about the whole debt limit thing. He didn't get the hardline insistence by the Democrats on not cutting spending, and really didn't get the GOP's stubborn refusal to even consider raising taxes. At all. He seemed convinced that at some point Boehner was going to cut a deal, and was troubled by my insistence that if that happened, his head would be on a spike in less than a day.

I get where he's coming from; he gets all or most of his news from the WaPo and other mainstream media sources, and doesn't have any sense of the sullen rage that lies at the root of the TEA Party's obdurate refusal to compromise with Obama. Nobody in the GOP base trusts Obama or the Democrats not to screw us on a taxes-for-cuts swap, quite aside from the fact that accepting this swap would feed the persistent meme that there's no difference between the two political parties. Those of us who are old enough remember how the Democrats screwed Reagan and Bush on this kind of swap in the 1980s, and we're not about to let the young folks forget about that. Also, the economy is in horrible shape, and if we're going to learn anything from history, we ought to learn that jacking up taxes at a time like this DOES NOT WORK. It didn't work for Hoover, it didn't work for Carter, and it's not going to work for Obama. They had their chance to do the Keynesian stimulus already, and despite the ravings of partisan fuggheads like Paul Krugman, throwing more money down that particular rathole will not work. That assumes the Red Chinese or somebody else would be dumb enough to loan us the money by buying T-bills, which they won't; they're already stepping away from the table and selling the T-bills they do hold. Because the PRC nomenklatura have no faith that Obama, Geithner and Bernanke are going to do the right thing, even assuming they know what the right thing is.

I don't claim to have any great feel for the political pulse, but I do have a fairly good idea what the conservative commentariat thinks, and they have the tar & feathers ready for John Boehner or any other RINO who wants to jack up taxes. I also have a sense for that the Left thinks, since I do have friends on the other side of the political fence, and they're dead set against any cuts to the entitlements that are such a big part of the problem. So there really isn't any middle ground any more. There's no place to compromise, because the economy has made it impossible to raise taxes even as a large part of the Democratic Party base absolutely refuses to consider making cuts to any programs whatsoever. Well, maybe defense; they're usually okay with cuts to DoD.

The moderates no longer exist in any significant numbers in either party, and it seems clear to me that until the GOP takes control of the Senate and White House next year, there won't be any progress. In the unlikely case that the Democrats manage to retake the House, well, we're going to be in the same boat as the PIIGS*. Except there's nobody big enough to bail us out.
The time when both parties to come to some compromise where taxes could be raised without crippling the economy and programs could be cut existed for a very brief time in W's first term, but since then, the RINOs have mostly been purged from the GOP and the Blue Dog Democrats have been chained up in the doghouse for the duration.

It's hard to make someone understand this when they don't know what I know, though.


*Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain
Tags: culture & politics, friends
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