A Country Divided

Romney takes it in the chin for supporting the Ryan Rethug budget

Crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity. ― Tacitus, Annals

Always a better campaigner than president, President Barack Obama lowered his horns yesterday, ripping into the Ryan/Romney budget like a pissed-off bull tired of the uncompromising blood sport that the Rethugs have made of American politics.

In a speech to the Associated Press Luncheon Tuesday, Obama called the budget proposal:

“…social Darwinism…so far to the right it makes the Contract with America look like the New Deal. In fact, that renowned liberal, Newt Gingrich, first called the original version of the budget “radical” and said it would contribute to “right-wing social engineering.”

On the government economic front, this right wing social engineering is being advanced on two basic levels:  tax policy and the budget. In his blog yesterday titled ‘Paul Ryan betrays his own views on income inequality” the WAPO’s Ezra Klein posts the numbers that document the moral travesty that is the Ryan/Romney budget:

In the end, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that 62 percent of the cuts come from programs for low-income Americans and 37 percent of the tax benefits go to the few Americans earning more than $1 million.


Another example of this reverse Robin Hood effect– transferring even greater amounts of wealth from the middle class and the working poor to the richest among us– can be found in last year’s income figures. Harold Meyerson points out in today’s WAPO that:

In 2010, according to a study published this month by University of California economist Emmanuel Saez, 93 percent of income growth went to the wealthiest 1 percent of American households, while everyone else divvied up the 7 percent that was left over. Put another way: The most fundamental characteristic of the U.S. economy today is the divide between the 1 percent and the 99 percent.

Katrina vanden Heuvel puts her finger on the moral crisis the Rethugs are forcing on the country:

The real crisis of public morality in the United States doesn’t lie in the private decisions Americans make in their lives or their bedrooms; it lies at the heart of an ideology — and a set of policies — that the right-wing has used to batter and browbeat their fellow Americans.

They dress these policies up sometimes, give them catchy titles like Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity.” But they never cease to imbue them with the kind of moral decisions that ought to make anyone furious. Ryan’s latest budget really is case in point. It’s a plan that says that increases in defense spending are so essential, that massive tax cuts for the wealthy are so necessary, that we must pay for them by ripping a hole in the social safety net. The poor need Medicaid to pay for medicine and treatment for their families? We care, we really do, but the wealthy need tax cuts more. Food stamps the only thing standing between your children and starvation? Listen, we feel your pain. We get it. But we’ve got more important things to spend money on. Like a new yacht for that guy who only has one yacht.

In the classic 1982 sci-fi movie, Blade Runner, the planet has become a dystopian hell hole. Anybody with enough money has long since abandoned a resource stripped mother earth for the off-world colonies, the equivalent of today’s gated communities.  During the GOP primary debates, the Newtster was roundly ridiculed for his proposal to build a colony on the moon. But coupled with the Ryan/Romney “Path To Prosperity” whose stated goal of deficit reduction would instead add trillions of dollars to the national debt, Newt’s idea begins to  make sense.

If the Rethugs get their way, “Eat the Rich” could become more than just a catchy trope. Concentrating ever greater amounts of wealth into ever fewer hands is a recipe for disaster. To paraphrase the Master:

A country divided against itself cannot stand.


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