At the White House once I was regaling him with local news from Champaign (which he was always ready to hear), and I said, 'Blank is dead; his extremely disloyal sentiments so provoked his neighbors that there was serious talk of inflicting vengeance on him, and he was found dead in bed—caused largely by fright.' This man was an old Whig friend of Lincoln, but the reason of his exit from life's trials amused him. His comment was, 'He died, then, to save his life, it seems.'"- Lincoln's Own Stories, Anthony Gross, HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS NEW YORK AND LONDON, 1912
The fiscal cliff deal struck by the US Senate has all the makings of a good cartoon adventure story, including a guy with funny, floppy ears- sorry Harry Reid, (D) Ritz Carlton, Washington DC. OK, two guys with floppy ears- sorry Barack Obama, (D) DC-neyland.
Assisted by the finger of some bad guy- presumably he’s Tea Party-type- hovering over the blinking red button, a flashing a neon sign that reads “Do Not Press This Button!” and a comic opera scream in the background- thanks Chris Matthews- the Senate did what we knew they always would do.
They disarmed the ticking time bomb that threatens to bring us less government, not more; less spending, not more; more economy, not less.
Including taxes on the stinking rich- who are now officially defined as anyone who makes more than $400,000 per year- the Senate version of salvation also includes some old-fashioned pork barrel spending, token budget cuts and final price that adds $3.6 trillion to the deficit over ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Included in the tab are subsidies that the government pays dairy farmers so that farmers aren’t forced, under the law, to charge us double the current price for milk.
Just substitute the word “milk” and “milking” with the words “cancer treatment” in the following sentence by Philly.com explaining the “milk fix” the Senate passed:
The price-support level calculated by 1940s standards [and mandated by the government today] would account for inflation but not productivity gains, such as robotic milking parlors. The result could be a support price of roughly $40 for every hundred pounds of milk, the National Milk Producers Federation estimated.
Welcome to Obamacare.
Who needs bread and circuses when we have mammograms and milk?
In considering the fiscal cliff- as opposed to the milk cliff, the abortion cliff, the debt ceiling cliff, the mortgage cliff, the student loan cliff, the automaker cliff, the healthcare cliff, the War on Women cliff, or the Oh!-My-Gosh!-I-Might-Not-Win-Reelection cliff- the Senate, I guess, has finally figured out that they have to read bills to see what’s in them. They are aghast, apparently, that these bills might not accelerate spending as fast as they had originally anticipated.
So they did what any US Senator would do when trying to control spending: They sped-up the pace of spending.
Phew. That was close.
The Senate raised taxes, raised spending and did it all in the name of fighting the out-of-control deficit that has seen the country mired in fiscal crisis after fiscal crisis with the economy limping along in tow.
In order to cut spending in DC, you see, the wonks have to raise spending. In order to make the economy strong, we first have to weaken it. And second, and third and….
“We’ve been whupped in this round,” said US House Rep Steven LaTourette told CNN according to the Chicago Tribune. "I think there's a growing sense that, nobody's singing Kenny Rogers, but you do have to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. We've been beaten [in] this fight."
As I have said previously: We came, we saw, we surrended.
Still, some conservatives in the House of Representatives however isn’t as convinced as the Senate or Rep LaTourette that the best way of cutting federal spending is by giving the federal government more pocket-money.
“There’s not a lot of support for the bill as is. I personally hate it,” said Representative John Campbell, Republican of California according to the New York Times. “The speaker, the day after the election, said we would give on taxes, and we have, but we wanted spending cuts. This bill has spending increases. Are you kidding me?”
Ahem, no unfortunately they aren’t kidding you.
The Senate doesn’t do gag jokes, even if Obama does (see budget vote, year: any).
And unlike the cartoon-variety adventure story, this one lacks laughs and the heroine- that’s you and I- gets run over by the choo-choo at the end.
But that’s OK because riding in the train are all the US Senators- with a few honorable exceptions- feasting on champagne and pork sausages.
I think one of those exceptions will be the next Republican nominee for president.
Now that’s funny.
Even without the floppy ears.