Politics and the weather have at least one thing in common: This time of the year, something or someone turns up the heat.
For politics last year, it was the healthcare debate, the Tea Party, and the birthers. This year, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and building a mosque near the site of what was once the Twin Towers.
Many of us baby boomers, when we were young, escaped the hot weather by taking shelter at the movie theater, where there was entertainment and candy as well as air conditioning. My choice for a sugar fix (among the many): Good & Plenty. It tasted good and the portion was rather generous.
Times change. Now you can stay in the comfort of your home to view movies, and certainly, 24/7 you can get your politics fix on the many cable news channels. And people like me, who went more for the sugar as a kid, now watch politics with a kind of addictive fascination.
In some ways, watching today’s political theater is like watching one long, endless movie complete with emotion, calculated scheming, dogmatic ideas, and avarice. This melodrama on the Bush tax cuts—whether they should run out at the end of this year as was originally intended, or remain indefinitely including the tax break for those who make $250,000 or more—has all the elements of a tragicomedy.
The tax cuts, we were told in 2001 and 2003, were in part to stimulate the economy. Instead, by 2008 job growth became stagnant and we fell into the “rabbit hole” of the largest economic crisis in this country since the Great Depression.
On the other hand, those who say that allowing the tax cuts to expire will help reduce the huge deficit in Washington may have also dozed off. For the last 10 years, the last five Congresses and two Presidents have spent wildly with no regard for deficit reduction. Why would that stop if they had even more money?
But if that’s the comical aspect of this blockbuster, the tragedy is far more poignant. The Republicans (yes the Republicans) are worried that the top two to three percent of earners would have to pay more taxes. And this is where our story needs a good rewrite. The people in that top income bracket this nation have something in common with my movie candy. They have money (God Bless them), which is GOOD, and they have PLENTY of it. They are to be commended for their hard work and creativity in getting their fair share, but they do not need to be protected from paying their fair share as well.
Hopefully this movie will have a happy ending—and we will not have to watch a series of remakes for years to come.