For a publication that prides itself as the premier newspaper of the United States (and possibly the world), there are times when one wonders if the NY Times is possibly, I don't know... a little over-rated? Sometimes misses the mark? Here's a justifiable excuse for the collective intelligence within the pages of the Gray Lady having temporarily slipped a few digits. (Have a wonderful time Dr. K - but please hurry back!) Then there's prima facie evidence like this of a deeper cognitive deficit.
Business Fears the Fiscal Cliff - So it turns out that federal spending is important to the economy after all.Well Duh! More below the Orange Omnilepticon.
Even for a paper that regularly runs Friedman, Dowd, Douthat, and Brooks, this is a train wreck of an opinion piece. Reading it, one can not help but be struck (despite frantic dodging) by such flashes of brilliant observation as:
Republican lawmakers demanded the cuts last year as part of their brinkmanship over the debt ceiling, and business lobbies have generally supported slashing the deficit. But now that the cuts are imminent, corporate executives seem to have realized that the last thing the economy needs is a large budget cut across the board.And
The best approach is to delay the blow of lower federal spending, thus shielding businesses from a sudden drop in support, and, at the same time, temporarily extend the Bush-era tax cuts for most Americans and let them expire for those making more than $250,000 a year, as President Obama has proposed.Okay. That actually makes sense. But then...
Politically, such a deal can probably be struck only in 2013, after the spending cuts have kicked in and the tax cuts have expired, assuming Mr. Obama wins re-election. Republican lawmakers, confronting the consequences of the spending cuts, would have to come to the conclusion that delaying both defense and nondefense spending cuts would be best for today’s economy. As for the tax cuts, letting them all expire could pressure Republicans to renew them for the middle class, while letting them end for the rich.Republicans would have to? Have to what? Being a Republican means never having to do anything you don't want to, no matter the circumstances, the evidence, the necessity.
But the absolute killer bit is right at the end
Now it is up to Democrats to force Republicans to rework the coming spending cuts and tax increases in a way that benefits most Americans and the broader economy.Um, let me see if there's one or two things that might have some bearing on this turgid mass of non-sequiters and cognitive dissonance. One they are asking us to believe is that business, even now heavily financing the ultra-conservative Randian extremists in control of the Republican party, is somehow worried it might get what it's paying for.
Joan McCarter had a nice piece up the the other day, how defense contractors are perfectly willing to Increases taxes and cut entitlements. How fair and balanced of them! Some businesses are already willing to compromise - as long as it means they get what they want. And what they really want is for corporate welfare, deregulation, and tax cuts to continue ad infinitum. If Main Street has to sacrifice to make that happen, so be it.
The other to ponder, of course, is whether the party of Rand, Ryan, Rush, Rove, and Norquist has any interest in doing "the right thing" or that Democrats can somehow make them see the light.
Remember, we're talking about the same party that denies global warming even as the country bakes this summer. The same party that can't wait to turn bankers loose to crash the economy again. The same party that wants to keep millions of Americans without health care so that insurance and drug companies can continue to make obscene profits. The same party that wants to bring back the people who got into us two wars through incompetence and greed, and who are already greasing the skids for a war with Iran. The same party who in 2008, in the face of a near-total meltdown of the economy declared their highest priority was to make Obama a one term president. The same party who has turned money into 'free speech' and are determined to seize every branch of government at every level to preserve their grip on power forever by whatever means it can get away with.
This morning on Daily Kos, the front page blast from the past was all about how way back in 2007, the DFH lefties were warning that chasing bipartisan solutions was a fool's hope. Today, years later, the anonymous editorialist at the Times, is suggesting that okay, maybe the Democrats should force Republicans to behave if they won't cooperate? And if they do, it will all be about getting the country far enough out of the hole the GOP dug so that we can then have a grand bargain so Republicans can finally (with the help of some idiots claiming to be Democrats) start demolishing Social Security and the rest of the safety net.
But... IF the Republicans fail to stop being Republicans, it will all be the fault of the Democrats because, well just because. And they'll never get the Grand Bargain that Very Serious People agree is the only thing to do.