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Fiscal Cliff – The Republicans’ Fault???

Fiscal Cliff – The Republicans’ Fault???

Here we are in the United States hours away from being tossed over something called a fiscal cliff by our own government.  But, what is a fiscal cliff and where did it come from?

The truth is that this “fiscal cliff” is our congresses’ idea of a way to punish itself.   The idea is that going over this fiscal cliff is so unthinkable of an idea that if the congress failed so bad at doing their jobs that it comes to that, they would be forced to find a quick solution.

What will happen, to begin the New Year in the United States is that all of the various tax breaks that have been put into place over the past several years to help various groups for various reasons will all disappear at once effectively raising everybody’s taxes all at once.

So basically, our congress has devised an efficient way to deliver a high powered groin kick to all of our citizens just as we were coming out of the worst economy in recent history.

Here in our great democracy of the United States, the public blame will probably fall on our Republican Party.  While this is really the fault of a dysfunctional congress, I have to say that I am going to have to agree with those that place much of the blame on the Republicans.

Those that know me understand that I feel that anyone who runs in lockstep along with one party or the other, as if rooting for their favorite football team is an idiot.  With your favorite team, you root for them no matter what and when they are doing bad you make excuses and try to convince yourself and others they are doing good.  If your team cheats, there is always a good excuse for why it’s okay, if another team makes some minor mistake; it is some terribly egregious act worthy of the worst punishment imaginable (insert pause to let the Fox News logo pass through your imagination for a moment).

I do believe in our party system, I just believe that, just like a person, sometimes a party can be way out there or just have bad years and that you as a person in a democracy have a responsibility to not support and facilitate the crazy.

In this case, the Republican Party has been hijacked by its extreme wing.  The problem for the Republicans in government is that these extremists seem to have the power to make or break a candidate for office in places where republican votes dominate.  The problem for the Republican Party is that on the national stage this extreme wing is a great distance from what the majority of voters are thinking right now and these extreme views have been eating the party from within for about eight years now (including two presidential elections.

I say all of this, because one of the major sticking points for Republicans in congress has continuously been that they will not sign a bill that raises taxes on the wealthiest people in America.

This was on of the battle cries of their overwhelming loss in the recent presidential election where the vast majority of the voting public of this country publically shared their disagreement on this issue.

The truth is that the logic that the Republican party is using is terribly flawed and not likely to be accepted by the general public.

The tax breaks are basically to help people in need like welfare checks and government cheese.  So at some point in history, some pointy headed economist decided that helping the poor doesn’t really stimulate the economy; helping the wealthy actually creates more spending and the money might be used to enlarge their companies so we would be more productive if we give the welfare checks and government cheese to the wealthiest Americans.  Thus, “Trickle-Down Economics” was born.

Though welfare checks and cheese were not the way it was done, this “assistance” came in the form of tax breaks and other subsidies.

I totally get the logic;  If those that have more, have even more, they are likely to spend more.  Those that have less, if given a little more it is more likely to go into smaller bills, late bills etc. that should have been paid anyway and will not do much to boost the economy.

The fundamental difference is that one side is trying to help people (sometimes haphazardly giving money away to both those who desperately need it as well as those that take advantage of the free money) while the other side believes that if you help the rich, at some point the poor and needy will be helped in the long term.  The money will trickle down to them.

The flaw here is that when thought through, this will never fly with the voting populous as a whole.  Think of it as one party trying to get all of the homeless shelters to close their doors to the poor, and convert to buildings that collect cash to distribute to the Donald Trumps and oil companies of the world because you will get a better return on your investment.  Eventually, with this little bit of extra spending cash, these wealthy Americans will spend more because of it and create more jobs which will be jobs the poor that use these shelters would be able to get and the world will be a better place, birds will chirp again, roses will bloom and all will live happily ever after.

While I do see the logic, the idea of help for the wealthy is preposterous.  I did a piece recently named “Taxing the Rich? Not Taxing the Rich?” in which I discussed this in some detail, but some of the breaks we are giving are ridiculous.

No matter how you feel on this issue, the American voting public has already clearly stated it is absolutely a “no go”.  They general voting public does not believe in Trickle-Down Economics at this time.  But, yet the Republican Party is willing to fight to the death (by the death of every person in the country by tossing us over a fiscal cliff not their own) for this unpopular concept.

One thing that I have noticed about the current Republican Party and particularly the extreme wing of the party (often called “Tea Party Republicans” associated in my mind way more with tea-toting rich people and less with the rebellion of throwing tea in the harbor that was a part of starting our country) is that when the American public does not agree with them they always go back to this stance that we do not know what is good for us so they have to force it down our throats for our own good.

That’s all fine and dandy…

if you are a dictator in some third world nation.

For those of us who live in a democracy, this is the clear indicator that the Republicans in Congress are not interested in doing their jobs.  The job of representing the desires and needs of the American people.

The facts are that we have been doing the experiment of “Trickle-Down Economics” for many years and during the years when the computer industry was booming in the United States all was fine.  But, suddenly in the second term of a Republican president the economy went bad.  The first dominoes to fall were due to abuses and excesses of the same wealthy that these breaks went to.

We are all suddenly faced with a painful reality:  If you give extra money to wealthy Americans and wealthy corporations (who are now declared to be people also) they may use it to be greedy and destroy our economy instead of somehow bolstering it.

This is the main point that the Republicans are stuck on and much of the rest of the debate is simply fluff to attempt to appear to be trying to play nice.

The American People are not buying all of this and the republican Party is becoming more of a cult than a political party (I suppose that Bill Graham can put the Republican Party on his website as a cult in place of the Mormons who suddenly were removed from the list because the Republican Party had a Mormon candidate for president).

They have a following that cheers them on and backs their play more and more the crazier it is.  The more out of step with the national voting population, the louder the cheers are.  The problem with all of that is that; the more out of step with the national voting population, the less trust this population will have in them.

The Republican Party is imploding and it is as if they are screaming:  “If we are going to implode, we are going to take the whole country with us over a…  wait for it…  FISCAL CLIFF!”

Don’t get me wrong; the Democrats have their crazy too and are playing a bit of a game also.  The difference is that it is a game that the American voting populous supports.  The Republican Party has hijacked the American public, tied us up in the back seat and decided to play a dangerous game of chicken driving headfirst at the Democrats in the hopes that they will scare the Democrats into turning out of the way at the last minute.

The challenge for Republicans is that even some of their own party have jumped out of the car.  There was this “Plan B” (use scary horror movie narrator voice).  It was Speaker Boehner’s (pronounced bay-ner if you didn’t know) attempt at going nuclear.  He was going to ram a plan through the House of Representatives because the Republicans have a majority there and force the President to not sign it publicly.  The idea is that this would shift the blame off of the Republican Party and place the blame firmly on the shoulders of President Obama and the Democrats.

The words “EPIC FAIL” (use scary horror movie narrator voice) come to mind.  The Republican dominated house did not vote for this and The Speaker now looks like Boo-Boo the Fool.

It is the last day of 2012 and I can see the cliff ahead.  This must have been the actual day that the Mayan Calendar was supposed to end.  In truth, I suspect that if we actually go over this cliff, the Mayan calendar may have been pointing to the end of the Republican Party’s political might as they defiantly go down with the ship still ranting “Tea Party” slogans as the ship goes down like the band in the Titanic movie.

By Wednesday morning the Uncle Sam recruiting posters with Uncle Sam pointing which says “I Want You” may have the caption changed to say:  “Republicans, It’s Your Fault”.

Alethinos P.

Racism, Insensitivity, Chicken, Watermelon and “Our Blacks”

Racial profiling has become a major issue again over the past few days and it is going to be huge news after today.  This is really a growing problem in both the media and politics particularly for the Republican party for the past few years.

Today’s news hinges on the shooting case of Trayvon Martin (a Florida teenager that was gunned down last month that has raised many questions about racial profiling on several levels including the media)

Today, the point was made by Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) who wore a hooded sweater this morning on the House floor.  He then informed the House that “Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”

He was asked to leave by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) the presiding officer.  Rush continued to speak while Harper continued to ask him to leave the chambers and  Rush ended up being escorted out (hopefully not because he looked like a hoodlum).

I looked at a site named BlackDemographics.com and ran into these numbers:

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2010 there were 42,020,743 African Americans in the USA or 13.6% of the total population of 308.7 million. The black population exceeded 500,000 in 15 states. Blacks were the largest minority group in 24 states, compared with 20 states in which Hispanics were the largest minority group..

When I see these numbers I have to wonder how so many people in important positions specifically politics and in the media have no idea what will make this big chunk of the population uncomfortable or angry.  

I can only think back to Ann Coulter a while back and her “our blacks” vs. “their blacks” rant:  5min.com coverage of the comments.  Coulter is promoting a book that supposedly clears up how the Left is rewriting history and how the Right is the ones who stand up for the blacks.  Now this self-proclaimed expert on African American needs goes into a rant that clearly shows the world that she is clueless about anything about the current African American culture. 

There have been several slips like this since the 2008 election – Check out this report from TruthDig about a news report about the Obama Bucks (You may remember that this was an image of a food stamp with then Candidate Obama’s picture a bucket of chicken, ribs and a slice of watermelon which appeared on a newsletter for Republican Women in Inland Empire, California – CNN Video).

 

Over the paste few years little slip ups like this have been occurring and reoccurring yet politicians and people in some media outlets persist in saying that the African American population (and other minority groups) are simply overreacting and getting bent out of shape for nothing.  

I do not feel I can really declare somebody a racist or a group racist over a slip here and there.  I do feel that there is however, a pattern of behavior that shows that some of the media and many in politics (particularly those calling themselves Republican) have an insensitivity to what the African American community is put off by and an insensitivity to the unresolved issues of the past.

In my lifetime, people were segregated in schools and public places, people were beaten, arrested, raped and killed for being persons of color.  There are people alive today who lived through these things, experienced these things, saw these things done to their loved ones and on and on.  They were called somebody’s property as a vicious attack to degrade and demoralize them, they watched and listened as people of power debated if African American people were to be considered as human or as intelligent as others and on and on.  To just use the language and the images that these people and their children find offensive will put them off.  

For people who find it puzzling because somebody offended somebody “but they didn’t mean to” there is a rule of communication to keep in mind.  Communication is not what you think you are saying, communication is what the other person thinks you are saying.  How much more true this is when you are seeking election.  

There are those who are okay with being one of Ann Coulter’s blacks and see nothing wrong with political images with buckets of chicken, watermelon, ribs, Kool-Aid and Barack Obama’s picture and that is all fine and dandy, but understand that a large majority of African Americans will be put off by such things for a very long time and seeing as they a big block of the population you might try to tick them off less and get their votes more.

Some days I wear a dress shirt and slacks and some days (like today) a wear a hooded sweater and jeans, I sure hope that nobody assumes I am a hoodlum and shoots me and I hope that nobody escorts me out of anywhere for wearing my sweater.  By the way, it is raining out and the sweater is simply a good idea.

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