The view from the couch: The rich you will always have with you



How to take advantage of the Great Recession? Extend tax cuts for the rich! It's hard to absorb the gall the Republicans display when they stand there and say ending the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 a year will cost jobs and deepen the recession. About as galling as when they cry over the "death tax," claiming it hobbles imaginary small farm families and other Americans who deserve to have every dime their parents have looted from the economy over generations. They might not squawk if, say, a 5 or 6 million dollar exemption is allowed, and, if the "death tax" is limited to something under fifty percent.

Boo hoo.It's dispiriting how effective the job the Republicans have done on these anti-tax fronts has been. Many Americans, despite its being against their own self interest, feel sympathy for those death tax (the estate tax) payers. They all hope one day to have "estates" to leave to their children. It's sad, all those wan hopes. Give the millionaires a break, they think, for someday I might be one of them. But all the anti-tax rhetoric of the Republicans plays well. Death and taxes. No one likes them. The poor may be always with us, but so will the rich.

John McCain picked up on Fox News Sunday the class warfare line from George H. W. Bush, who always resorted to it when the idea that the rich might pay more than the poor was brought up. McCain said, ruefully, oh, stick it to the rich (like his wife), oh, class warfare, oh, oh, oh. Well, it may well come to that (or has already come to that), class warfare, since one only needs to look to our prisons to see who is winning that war. The rich are. Not many rich in prison. A handful, though.

President Obama is trying to pivot (the administration's word) to the economy, again. He even tried it in his we're-leaving-Iraq-sort-of speech. But it's hard for that to work facing a wall of misinformation. Fox News accomplishes many things, one of which is to steer the general media right-ward as it competes with the splashy, partisan Fox. Since this is "Labor Day," it might be the place to mention that once upon a time, when the unionized portion of workers was larger, union wages and benefits set the pattern for non-union segments of the economy. No longer. And see what that reaps: the stagnation of wages and benefits for everyone.The economic history of the last three decades. But the demonizing of unions by the right-wing establishment has been so successful, with the passive co-operation of the so-called mainstream media (see who owns these outlets), even workers who have been affected have little to say in unions' defense.

Obama's departing-somewhat-from-Iraq speech from the newly redecorated Oval Office was the most dispiriting exercise in public speaking I have seen in many a year. Doubtless, Obama's heart was not in the words he said, but, nonetheless, he said them. The right wing gelding of the president continues apace, and if the lemmings of the voter pool act as the polls suggest, we're all in for a coming age of darkness and the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Happy Labor Day, you all.


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