There are some who say, this deal with the Senate Republicans and so-called Democrats, that gives tax breaks for millionaires and hundred-thousandaires is the best of a bad situation, and I'd have to agree. It will give unemployment benefits to millions of Americans. It will continue tax breaks to the rest of us. And it will lower the Social Security obligation we all have to deal with in every paycheck. The country will manage to limp along a little longer, and the problems that we face will be a little easier to bear.
Then again, the debt ceiling will have to be raised in February. Will the Republicans allow it? Maybe, since if they don't and have to shut down the government, they will have to explain their backing of the tax break everyone signed onto back in December. Or, they'll have to explain, after pushing long and hard for tax breaks to the millionaires that revenue would flow into the Fed because, of course, all these millionaires would suddenly be creating jobs all over the place, why they didn't.
Here's the horrible alternative: let all the tax breaks die, the unemployment benefits die - everything. Let it go. What could possibly happen?
Why, the Republicans would have to explain why the economy cratered even further. My house price will sink like a rock into quicksand, and I might get laid off from a company that never lays anyone off. In two years, America might devolve into horrifying anarchy and pain, with armed bands of the unemployed running around the country robbing banks and what-not in order to pay for groceries. The educational system will fall even further behind, and China and India will start outsourcing manufacturing to us. We will become the Third World nation that only rich people visit because "everything's so much cheaper there." Only problem is, our beaches will be fouled with oil, the food is pretty terrible (unless you're willing pay through the roof in New York or San Francisco for a decent meal), and the infrastructure barely functions.
Life will suck. A lot.
And then it comes down to a simple question for us progressives: do we think the country will be smart enough to realize that Republicans want it that way? Or are our fellow citizens so completely stupid that they think this is somehow their fault for not working harder, for not giving rich people enough money so they can be the "engines of job creation."
You know, at yacht-building companies.
People will have the choice of either realizing the Republicans are terrible, and vote in a slate of nothing but lefty-leaning Democrats, or they will continue listening to the likes of Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin and Fox News in general, and vote for more Tea Party types - or at least more Republicans.
That's the rub. I think people are stupid. Because I talk to them all the time, and they are perfectly willing to swallow the kool-aid that the rich are "taxed enough," that the unemployed are "lazy bums," and that welfare is just another word for "picking my pocket to pay for your crack habit." They also believe that Muslims hate us for our freedoms, and that God wouldn't let us destroy the world because he already did it once, and said he wouldn't do it again. So global warming is a myth that's designed to give money to lazy people (what?).
Chaos may be the result if bankers get any more greedy, if enough people die from no insurance coverage, and if enough fire departments start charging for emergency services rendered. Or chaos won't ensue, because enough people will be too busy just trying to make ends meet, and will be willing to give up a little bit more of their security, their freedom, and their ability to fight back. America will devolve. We will get worse, and we may not get better. We may not even be capable of getting better.
Free enterprise is a bitch.