Against that sort of zeitgeist, it’s interesting to see how a cadre of House Republicans has responded: by inserting their thumbs in their asses and whistling “Dixie,” basically ensuring that payroll taxes — the taxes paid by those who actually work for a living — will go up after the first of the year. Apparently, the taxes of those who make billions on insider trading will remain as before: minimal.
It’s all brinksmanship, of course. It’s all just playing chicken with the lives of the less fortunate. I’m sure no individual member of Congress really wants to be seen as the kind of person who goes around setting hobos on fire. I get the game: It’s all about next year, and pandering to the ignorant base, and doing whatever it takes to finagle job security for the overfed and eerily-tanned gasbags who stand before microphones and pretend larger issues are in play.
But at this point I really don’t care about the strategy or the details. I think it’s reprehensible. Maybe that’s too soft a word. I think it’s bullshit. I think this kind of thing doesn’t only betray a lack of integrity; it also displays a profound lack of concern for the system the founders envisioned back in the day. That system worked pretty well for a couple hundred years, but it doesn’t seem to be working today. At all.
See, that’s the danger. Enough people become convinced that the system exists only to guarantee privilege for the privileged, and they quit thinking about trying to remodel it. They start thinking about burning it down.