Friday, September 9, 2011

Reason #20: Math

Say you went out tomorrow and bought a $50 microwave.

Then you went out again the next day and bought another $50 microwave.

Say you kept doing that every day until you ran out of your own money, then you got a credit card and kept putting your daily microwaves on said card until your debt had accumulated to about two-thirds of your total yearly income - meaning you'd have to work for eight months to pay it off even if you put every penny you made into it.

Then, finally, you wake up one day and look around your house. "Jesus fuck," you think to yourself, "that's a large amount of microwaves". And so you resolve then and only buy microwaves every other day.

That is the situation the American economy is in. And that is why my reaction to Obama's new American Jobs, No Really I Totally Mean It This Time Act was basically a big eye-roll. Not because of the spending - from the first day of this blog I made it clear that every dollar we put into infrastructure was (theoretically) a dollar well-spent. But because he's still pussing out on raising taxes to pay for it - even people who are generally supportive of the plan from a strategic standpoint (and really, it's not bad) are admitting that it's not very clear how we're paying for it.

He was perfectly happy to mention Warren Buffett's now-infamous demand that he pay more taxes (drawing chuckles from Republicans), but the closest he came to following up on that was the usual talk about closing loopholes - which won't really happen and wouldn't be enough if it did. I'm realistic about how hard it is for him to get anything through Congress right now, but the GOP is picking up enough of Americans' desire for compromise at this point that if he were to start the debate with raising actual taxes (the way the other side starts every debate with lowering taxes), Republicans might at least start looking at closing corporate loopholes as a more palatable alternative.

That's how this is supposed to work - your stated goal should be the dream scenario (one that your most idealistic supporters would be happy just to hear you supporting out loud), then you force the other guys work you down from there. He may very well get a little work done on unemployment, like how health care reform got a little work done on that front, and it might help him with independents next year, but continuing to disappoint his base like this only serves to create more independents next time around.

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