I once had a girl friend who told me that if I didn’t love her unconditionally she would find somebody who did. That was funny. Our relationship that lasted years was beginning to crumble. The trust and common goals that we once shared had turned into mistrust and personal interest. In a last ditch attempt to set things right my ex made the ultimatum to me. Our relationship was in my hands. She would walk if I didn’t put aside our differences. I wonder what happened to her.
I see the same thing happening at the national political level. Republicans are demanding that President Barack Obama and the rest of the Democratic Party bend to their will or they will not support the stimulus bill. It’s pretty telling who is trying to be bipartisan or not when not even a single Republican congressman voted for the stimulus. Granted the bill is far from perfect. Even a blind man can see that. My personal opinion is that if tax cuts worked so well wouldn’t those tax cuts that favored the rich people so much for the past eight years or so have kept this economic fiasco from happening in the first place?
But I also understand the need for compromise and to make concessions in order to reach a consensus. However, at some point, the other side needs to make a compromise as well and do something to reach back. To think that only one person is responsible for making all the concessions is rather hypocritical.
For years the Republican Party majority that controlled both houses of the Congress stood idly by while former President George Bush ran deficits that have ballooned the national debt from the considerable five trillion dollars when he took office to the ten trillion dollars today. These people, and their Democratic counterparts, were complacent when the economy started to turn and jobs started to evaporate. The foundation of our economy was strong and nothing needed to be done. The stimulus of lower taxes was all that was needed to improve conditions for everyone in America. More trickle down economics.
That was then. Now that we have trickle up pain these politicians have become the model of fiscal responsibility and now want to curb our woes with more tax cuts. I guess the theory is that if we give more tax cuts to people who don’t need them, they will be able to save more money, and sparking more investment in companies that will generate jobs. Investment in what is the question. With the majority of people already strapped to make ends meet now that retirement investments have shriveled up, what’s a good investment that will have economic returns these days, another Ponzi scheme ala Bernard Madoff? Or what will be even harder to find is a good investment that will actually create jobs and not just profits for profits sake.
Giving corporations smaller tax payments doesn’t create jobs, it creates bigger profit margins. Companies don’t hire people based on profit. If that was the case everybody would’ve been working for the petroleum companies that were making a billion dollars a week last year. What creates jobs is a demand for work. Instead of giving a company tax break so they can be more profitable and making the gap between workers and owners even larger, spending money on infrastructure projects that will actually generate jobs seems to be a smarter proposition.
The last round of tax cuts that were passed actually netted me about twenty dollars a week. That might sound like a deal to some but its peanuts compared to the deep pocket guy who netted something like four grand a week. My extra twenty bucks a week won’t put much of a dent for the Peacemaker household. The funny thing is that all things considered the extra four thousand dollars a week wouldn’t make much of a difference in the deep pockets guy’s household either.
But hey, like I said before, when you’re trying to get buy in you’re willing to make concessions. I will be willing to give you this if you will be willing to give me that. That way, we both will have a vested interest in getting something out the door.
However, when one side starts putting up ultimatums and refuses to entertain a compromise because they have gotten so used to having things their way for so long that they’ve forgotten how to give a little, it becomes problematic. A lot of people on one side of the political aisle have promised to be obstructionist in the new age of political bipartisanship. People want to say that they just want what’s best for America after being so negligent for the past eight years or so. Maybe that’s true. But after the majority of America decided to give someone else’s ideas a shot you would thing these people would get with the program.
Instead, all the bipartisanship moves in the world can’t get these obstructionists to budge off their position. The way some of these politicians act you would think that they didn’t get the memo that they don’t control the two political big houses any more. People want things to change and these politicians are promising nothing of the sort. It isn’t that these politicians are not into Mr. Obama or the Democrats or the American people. These people are simply stuck on protecting what remains of their political fortunes.
To make the steps necessary to help the new guy succeed would be like shooting their political philosophy in the foot. At this point, these people have nothing else to loose. Many of them come from political districts that would rather drink Jim Jones’ cyanide laden Kool-aid than vote for anything but Republican political representation. So why not give ultimatums? And even if those hurdles were met there’d be other reasons to stand in the way of political change.
Personally, I can see that this new age of political change isn’t for everyone. Some people just don’t understand the concept of give and take. The idea of compromise means that the other person is responsible for making all the changes. I used to have a girl friend who thought like that. That was a few years ago. If what happened then was any indication, in a few years we might be asking ourselves whatever happened to those guys that gave that political ultimatum.