The House of Representatives recently passed legislation to extend the Bush tax cuts on the first $250,000 of income. It appears that the Democrats in their last days as the majority party managed to find their spine, rejecting the Republican demand to extend the tax cuts for the rich. John Boehner, the official mascot for Orangina and next Speaker of the House, declared that the House vote was “chicken crap.”
There was a time when I would have been ecstatic about this vote. The Democrats are providing relief to the beleaguered middle class and poor while addressing the budget deficit. If I am much less than ecstatic at this moment, it is because I have seen what happens to legislation once it gets ground up, obstructed, or spit out in some unrecognizable form in the Senate. Remember health care? Climate change? Equal pay for equal work? Don’t ask, don’t tell?
The Republican reflexive use of the filibuster and the application of secret holds on legislation are acts of sabotage against the American people, our government and democracy. While this may be shocking, it no longer comes as a surprise. I am surprised however at the fecklessness of too many of the Senate Democrats. I am dismayed that President Obama is so willing to squander his power and undermine our principles.
The Senate is supposed to vote today, Saturday December 4 on the tax cuts. There have been mutterings that the deal has already been cut between the Republicans and Democrats with the blessing of Obama. Tax cuts will be extended to all income brackets, including the very richest among us for 3 or 10 more years, which will increase the federal deficit. Unemployment insurance will theoretically be extended as the quid pro quo. So yes, it is cheap political theater.
Here we are a mere few weeks away from a new Congress, and the metaphor of the moment is “chicken crap.” Earlier this year Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi wrote a muscular memorable take down of Wall Street.
“The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
I am going to take liberties with Taibbi’s quote. Our political process is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of the citizens, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. That’s not chicken crap.