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.
That trick relies on Americans not wanting to see plain facts before them. Republicans point out the vast debt, the fact that Social Security and Medicare will soon be bankrupt. Democrats tell happy stories straight from Kim Jung Un's Unicornland, where Social Security and Medicare require no serious reform. "No," said Harry Reid about Social Security last week, "it's not in crisis ... It's fully funded for the next 40 years." Sure it is, where the unicorns roam free. In reality, Social Security is already running in the red. In 2010, the federal government had to borrow $37 billion just to pay those already receiving benefits. But the American people want to hear that Social Security works, so they listen to Reid's trick.
The same holds true with regard to Benghazi. Al-Qaida is surging in the aftermath of the Obama administration's precipitous plans to cut defense and pull out of terrorist-ridden areas. They're ascendant in Tunisia; they're escalating attacks in Afghanistan; they're even planning terror in Jordan. In Libya, they murdered our ambassador and three other Americans. But Obama and his cronies say that Al-Qaida has been decimated while waving their hand. And with the help of a few media droids, they get away with it.
On the Arab Spring, it's more of the same. There has been no Arab Spring. There has been an Islamist awakening. Egypt is turning into a Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship as Obama continues to provide it aid. Syria threatens to use weapons of mass destruction. Turkey reaches out to terrorist Hamas. Iran develops nukes. Hamas fires rockets at Israel. And Obama criticizes Israel for building settlements, and Hillary Clinton criticizes Israel for not being "generous" with the Palestinians. Abracadabra! No more problems in the Middle East.
Problems surround us. They threaten to bankrupt us -- or, just as bad, to doom our children and grandchildren to poverty and subjugation. The American people may want to look away from that incipient disaster, trusting the happy talk of Democrats. They may want to believe that these aren't the droids they're looking for.
But one thing's for certain: the Democrats have certainly found the droids they're looking for.