Nihilists, Cont’d

Frye once observed that “democracy should work as a force for the underprivileged.”

So much for that.

With the “deal” on the U.S. debt ceiling finally laid out, it can now be recognized as a disaster from every angle. It cuts government spending in a depressed economy, which may depress it further. Worse yet, the cuts are borne by those who can least afford it, and, scandalously, there is no provision for tax increases for those who can most afford it. The twisted, know-nothing Tea Party principle of non-creative destruction is now national policy (non-creative in the sense that too-big-to-fail privilege has replaced the sink-or-swim drive of competition). It provides still more proof that the only constituents the Republicans serve are corporations and the richest 1% of the population, whose effective income tax rate is already lower than that of the people who work for them. More than that, as corporate profits soar, job creation is stagnant and can’t even begin to address the millions who lost their jobs thanks to the criminal irresponsibility of Wall Street three years ago. Like a black comedy still in the early stages of laying out the dimensions of its blasted landscape, the Republicans have rebranded the super-rich as “job creators” who should not be expected to face the disincentive of tax increases. Job creators?

Obama might have invoked the 14th Amendment, which does not allow the United States to forfeit on its debts, in order to preempt this calamity. He didn’t. Why he didn’t is for him to explain. That he didn’t may cost him. For the first time he looks defeated and vulnerable as a new election cycle is about to begin in earnest. In any event, not invoking it has set a dangerous precedent that effectively promotes the Republican brand of crazy as the only thing the market will allow.

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