Which brings me to those calls for a bipartisan solution. Sorry to be cynical, but right now “bipartisan” is usually code for assembling some conservative Democrats and ultraconservative Republicans — all of them with close ties to the wealthy, and many who are wealthy themselves — and having them proclaim that low taxes on high incomes and drastic cuts in social insurance are the only possible solution.
This would be a corrupt, undemocratic way to make decisions about the shape of our society even if those involved really were wise men with a deep grasp of the issues. It’s much worse when many of those at the table are the sort of people who solicit and believe the kind of policy analyses that the Heritage Foundation supplies.
So let’s not be civil. Instead, let’s have a frank discussion of our differences. In particular, if Democrats believe that Republicans are talking cruel nonsense, they should say so — and take their case to the voters.
As Krugman points out, the GOP last year ran on a platform that included a scare to seniors about Medicare and how healthcare reform would decimate that program, effectively making Medicare reform a shibboleth.
Their budget proposal cuts Medicare even deeper than the worst-case scenario they painted during the 2010 campaign. How is this meant to be a compromise? How is this meant to be civil? And yet, when President Obama correctly points out that distinction in this year's rhetoric ("New Teabager") versus "Teabagger Classic," he's accused of being hyperpartisan.
I presume had he been white, they would have claimed he declared class warfare, but even they aren't stupid enough to fall into that trap.
The Republican budget IS cruel nonsense because it ignores completely the other way of balancing a budget.
If you're running up your credit card bills, it makes sense to cut back your spending, and to keep a close eye across your budget. Yes, there are things you have to pay: mortgages, as an example, fixed outlays that are difficult to reduce (you can refinance, if you can find a bankster who's not too busy counting his record profits after coming to you hat in hand for a bailout last year), but the things you don't need to pay, like gasoline, you find ways to reduce. You drive less, you search for cheaper gas.
But you also, and no one can deny this, look for ways to increase your income, at least until you've got your feet squarely under you again. You take a second job, maybe, as a last resort, or you hold a garage sale or auction junk off on eBay.
You do this so you don't have to starve and eat the family cat, which is essentially what Repbulicans are insisting the American people, particularly the poor, do so that those bankers can sit and count their profits.
And they need to be called on it.