[Cross-posted at The Left Coaster.
Wandering at Booman Tribune this morning I saw plug for building a green American infrastructure in the trial balloons being floated by the quisling Obama economic team, so I finally read the Washington Post article on the possibly upcoming $700 billion 2009 stimulus, nothing is remotely concrete in the blizzard of ideas being floated in stories like this but just maybe there would be news on micro solar and wind subsidies.
Planet earth and the rate of global warming does not care a whit for the vicissitudes of slippery DC posturing. I’m five years out on a new roof with absurdly flammable wood shakes on the shed, they can’t be replaced without corresponding solar panels and wind turbine, but if nothing happens—again--in DC about this next Spring I’m taking out a home improvement loan to get it done.
I would much rather get a price break on the panels and turbine, with a huge chunk of the cash going to a minority small business precisely encouraged to exist for solar/turbine installation, but Jesus I’m sick of waiting on these infuriating lizards of laziness, speed, DC, it’s not me, the Earth is yelling at us to get a freaking move on.
So of course there’s nothing but vague generalities for stewardship of the earth, but right in the fourth paragraph Lori Montgomery dropped this lovely little grenade from "transition officials:" economic conditions are dire, and suggested that Obama might be forced to delay his pledge to repeal President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy. What?
Boing-boing-boing the story completely bounced away, but came back eight paragraphs later with a quote from Obama advisor Axelrod: "...we're going to have to make some hard decisions in order to pay for the things we need, whether it is through repeal of those tax cuts for the very wealthiest or whether we simply allow it to -- allow those cuts to expire in 2010." What?
Income inequality has become an obscene issue in the United States, the well-off have been living a sparkling jaunt of immense wealth and pleasure on the planet while the rest of us are under a vicious boot of falling purchasing power, long grinding work hours (if you can get it), no healthcare and a crumbling infrastructure. Now Obama may propose $700 billion for the little people but we can’t raise taxes during a recession, so the extremely modest tax hikes campaigned on for those making $250,000 a year may be abandoned.
The implied reason—note that it is never precisely stated by Axelrod—is that raising taxes naturally sucks cash out of the little people pockets that should be spent on the holy stimulus. The only glaring issue in the obnoxious meander of obfuscation is of course that those at $250,000 annually already spend whatever they need in stimulus-like cash, if anything has taught us the last 30 years it’s that tax cuts for the wealthy don’t work. Nothing trickles down and the wealthy just get richer. 1
The problem Axelrod is hiding here is that $700 billion worth of stimulus is FDR-league governing, and nothing will raise the nuclear ire and virulent opposition of Republicans more than government investment that works for the little people, they’re vote those liberals in forever if they deliver.
Besides a corporately captured "journalism" corps the Republican Party really has only one tiny shred of ideological political integrity left: tax cuts. They’re stupid and harmful and almost worth nothing as a political tactic, but just as the sun rose this morning as soon as Obama submits the second coming of FDR the Republicans will go berserk that Obama’s raising taxes, Obama’s raising taxes!, cranking up the mighty Wurlitzer of talk radio, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC and half the print corps with the incessant, ranting obstructionism. They have nothing else.
Yet Axelrod and the fledgling Obama econ team are signaling despite this pathetic political weakness what they campaigned on, what is fair and right for the country, well, that doesn’t mean jack when it comes to appeasing Republicans and media elites, they can make life so very uncomfortable.
Mr. David Axelrod, Chief Strategist to President-elect Obama, I am not stupid. If pragmatism for the greater good of a $700 billion stimulus rules the day by wussing out on puny tax hikes for rich people, if it’s absolutely necessary, then freaking say so, I can take it straight. I did get an education, I can think, I do have a memory, and I won’t shut up.
 The issue is officially in the theater of absurd with the knowledge the wealthy voted for Obama. One of the reasons tax cuts are so weak and pathetic as a 2009 tactic is of course this empirical admission by those affected the most by them they could give a shit, go ahead and hike up that measly rate on my hundreds of thousands of income, the place has gone to hell.