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Satan’s Amuse Bouche

For the non-elitists reading this blog, an amuse bouche is a small, single bite of food served before the appetizer. Emanuel Cleaver was being a sunny optimist when he described the debt ceiling deal as Satan’s sandwich. In my opinion, that deal was just the amuse bouche for what will surely end up being a seven course meal.

We’ll have a fairly good idea of just how screwed we are in about three weeks, when we find out who the members appointed to the super congress (good god, that makes me laugh every time I say it) will be.

But I’m going to go ahead and predict that it’s going to be pretty bad. As I said in a previous post, there isn’t a snow balls chance in hell that a Bernie Sanders or an Al Franken will be chosen to be superior. No, we’re most certainly going to get a stable of blue dog democrats and whackadoo far right wingers on this committee.

I expect to see cuts to medicare and medicaid. I expect to see cuts to pell grants, food safety, the EPA, and a whole slew of other programs that hit the middle class and the poor.

But it won’t be all bad. There will be one single revenue raiser in this plan. My guess is that they’re going to give US corporations a tax holiday to enable them to repatriate all of that money that they have sitting in offshore accounts. They’ll give them a comical 5% rate to entice them to bring the money back in, and they’ll call that a revenue raising measure. Oh, I take back what I said, it is all bad.

In 2005, the Bush administration allowed US corporations to bring their money back into the country for a comical 5.25% federal tax rate. 800 companies took advantage of this and brought 312 billion back into the US. Did they reinvest that money back into their companies and create jobs in the US? Fuck no. You won’t be surprised to hear that they spent 92% of the money on buying back stock (in order to jack up the stock price), paying shareholders, and paying executives big ass bonuses. In their defense, those big ass bonuses were well deserved. After all, those executives had just successfully played American tax payers for rubes. How did this all work out for job seekers? Brace yourself; they got fucked. Here’s a little chart that shows you what the biggest “repatriators” did in the year following their heist of the US treasury;

 

Corporation Amount Repatriated Layoffs In 2005-2006
Pfizer $37 billion 10,000
Merck $15.9 billion 7,000
Hewlett-Packard $14.5 billion 14,500
Honeywell $2.7 billion 2,000
Ford $900 million 30,000
Colgate-Palmolive $800 million 4,000

 

So why would our representatives do this again? They’ll do it so that they can call it a win. Obama loves calling mediocre (or shitty) legislation “historic”. Remember the crappy financial reform bill? That was historic. Remember the health reform bill that does nothing to actually bring down the cost of health insurance? HISTORIC! He’s going to make this shitty deal, and then claim victory for raising revenue. Republicans will claim the win because they cut taxes, again.

So who actually wins in this deal, republicans or democrats? If you picked either of those choices, you’re just not understanding politics in America. You’re still being sucked into the theater that is designed to make you support something that is against your own self interest. The “teams” aren’t republican versus democrat. The teams are working people versus the idle rich.

I took great care in including the word “idle” in that last sentence because I have absolutely nothing against rich people. I hope to be one myself someday. No, my issue is with people born into wealth, that give far less back to their country than they take. My issue is with the CEO that makes 320 times the salary of the average worker in his or her company. No CEO is worth that. Not even if they orally pleasure ever single worker in their company on a daily basis. I have no issues with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. They created something that the whole world wants to buy, and they create real jobs for people all around the world.

The divide is between those that give to the country and those that take. It’s the idle rich versus everyone else. Make no mistake, the winners in this deal or any deal are going to be the idle rich. The rest of us are going to be the big losers. Let me repeat; if you think it’s going to turn out any other way, you’re just not understanding politics in America.

I’ve been listening to Randi Rhodes and Stephanie Miller go on and on about how brilliantly Obama played the teapublicans on the debt limit deal. Their hypothesis is that by including a trigger that includes deep cuts to defense spending, they’re going to get the defense lobbyists fighting for cuts anywhere else. They believe that this deal turns all of the lobbyists for every major welfare industry in America against each other. They believe that Obama will definitely let the Bush/Obama tax cuts expire.

Every single assumption that Randi and Stephanie make is based on pure fantasy. First of all, these deep cuts to defense are a joke. How do I know that? Because nobody can tell me where the cuts are. No one has been able to say that we’re going to stop making this useless fighter jet, or giving cost+ contracts out to defense contractors. These cuts are hypothetical and intangible, which tells me they’re a mirage. Secondly, Obama is going to stand firm and let the tax cuts expire? Are you fucking kidding me? He’s never, not one time stood firm on anything. You believe he’s going to stand up to the one thing that republicans have repeatedly said is a non-starter? And you believe this based on what? I’m not a pessimist. I believe that past action is the best predictor of future behavior. I’m not foolish enough to expect the president to break his consistent record of folding like a cheap suit. No, this sunny optimistic view doesn’t make any sense at all.

So let’s all put on our eatin’ clothes (you know, the loose dresses and elastic waistband pants) because we’re about to feast on Satan’s all you can eat buffet.

 

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