In the original "Star Wars", Jedi Obi Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) have to smuggle two droids into the criminal-infested, Empire-guarded city of Mos Eisley. The Empire has been looking for the droids, which contain secret information. But Obi Wan has a solution: when our heroes are confronted by emissaries of the Empire, he simply waves his hand. "These aren't the droids you're looking for." The weak-minded Stormtrooper promptly waves the group through. Obi Wan was using an old Jedi mind trick.
Welcome to America, 2012.
The Democratic Party has apparently been endowed with the ability to use the old Jedi mind trick. That's their entire tactic throughout the fiscal cliff debacle. America faces actual liabilities of $86.8 trillion. That's our outstanding cost on Social Security, Medicare and other retirement benefits accrued. There's no way to tax ourselves out of that hole. As former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission Chris Cox and former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Bill Archer wrote this week, "to collect enough tax revenue just to avoid going deeper into debt would require over $8 trillion in tax collections annually." To put that in perspective, the entire GDP of the country last year was about $15 trillion. Just to keep up with our debt -- to keep it from growing -- we'd have to take more than half of all American wealth. Every year. And that wouldn't even solve our current debt issue.
Republicans sense that this is something of a problem. That's why they aren't going along with President Obama's class warfare shtick, in which Obama pretends that taxing rich people without cutting anything will solve all our problems. Obama's proposal to tax the top 2 percent of income earners accomplishes precisely nothing -- or, even more precisely, it would pay for about eight days of federal government spending.
So how is it that Democrats seem to be winning the battle over the fiscal cliff? Polls show that Americans think Republicans are being stubborn to insist on cuts rather than going along with President Obama's ridiculous scheme to tax and spend more.
Why? The Old Jedi Mind Trick.