As I read through the speech I wrote that I wish he had given (click here to read it if you have not) and thought about all those millionaires and billionaires that are going to be getting unneeded tax cuts, it made me feel a little sick. I honestly don't understand where the outrage is. The American people, for the most part, seem to be just rolling over on this, and I don't understand why. All polling before this terrible deal was reached showed that the majority of the American people were opposed to giving tax breaks to millionaires. However, that's somehow exactly what we're stuck with. The administration has managed to convince the majority of my countrymen that the Republicans would have been just FINE with actually allowing the poor and middle class lose their tax cuts come January first, and have unemployed families starving and homeless at Christmas...that the GOP had NO fear whatsoever that the American people would simply not tolerate such atrocities in order to give tax cuts to the super-rich. I'm sorry...I simply don't believe that. I honestly believe that had President Obama appealed to the American people in the way I wrote in that post, that the people WOULD have responded and would have forced the GOP to actually do the right thing for a change. But that's not the way it played out, and I don't understand why the people are just accepting this.
Was it because the people are once again buying that whole "we HAVE to do this or the economy will collapse" thing that they pulled in order to get us to bail out AIG, Citibank and other companies that were "too big to fail" (but are now doing great and giving out huge bonuses again)? Is it because President Obama brought out the beloved former President, Bill Clinton, to preach to the choir and counted on his popularity to pull the straying lambs back into the fold? Or is it because we are honestly SO desperate and frightened of what George Carlin called "the owners" of this country that we're willing to just give them whatever they want as long as we still get the crumbs they accidentally drop (because frankly, most of the bastards don't even toss the crumbs anymore)?
According to the New York Times, (click here for article) the bill passed with a tally of 81 to 19 and the vote played out like this...The 19 voting "No" were:
Patrick Leahy (VT)
Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ)
Kay Hagan (NC)
Carl Levin (MI)
Russ Feingold (WI)
Tom Harkin (IA)
Byron Dorgan (ND)
Mark Udall (CO)
Tom Udall (NM)
Jeff Bingaman (NM)
Ron Wyden (OR)
Jeff Merkley (OR)
Bernie Sanders (VT)
George Voinovich (OH)
Jim DeMint (SC)
Jeff Sessions (AL)
Tom Coburn (OK)
John Ensign (NV)
I especially want to thank Senators Sanders and Feingold for their stands on this matter, since they are the two Senators that I specifically addressed at the end of my December 6th post...thank you both for not letting me down, even though it didn't work.
I also thank all the other Democrats who voted against this bill. However, as I don't think the republicans voted no because they were opposed to giving tax cuts to millionaires/billionaires, but rather because they were against the unemployment extension (which the country actually DOES need)...so I won't thank them, because their motivations are warped and the fact that their warped motivations just happened to coincide with the correct vote was merely coincidental...sort of like being opposed to the KKK because you don't like the color of their sheets.
So, we're now likely stuck with this horribly bad (for everyone but the wealthy) deal and the man that I helped elect as President with so much hope has instead caved in to pressure from the very people who caused this entire mess in the first place, so there is no way out now. So all that's left is to wonder what the future will hold, so I've decided to engage in a little game of "I predict"...
I predict that these tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires will accomplish the EXACT same thing over the next two years as they have over the last 10...making rich people richer and poor people poorer and nothing more. No new "jobs" (in fact, probably fewer jobs as the emboldened GOP cancels projects like the Wisconsin High Speed Rail and New Jersey Tunnel projects). These tax cuts will, however, likely result in the need for further cuts in services, like education and other necessary programs.
I predict that it will do NOTHING to help the economy, but rather will hurt it badly, perhaps even sending us into another "Great Depression" unless other steps are taken.
I predict that the "payroll tax cuts" that are being given will only make the Social Security Fund that much more insolvent, therefore giving the GOP ammunition to once again try to "privatize" it once they're in majority control.
I predict that President Obama will absolutely be what the Republicans clearly said they were committed to making him..."a one-term President", and they've done it with his help. What I'm unsure about is whether we'll be stuck with another Republican president as a result (in which case, the country is pretty much done for) or whether Obama will be defeated in a primary and there's still a chance for another Democrat in the White House.
I hope that I'm wrong about all of that, but only time will tell.
Oh, and completely unrelated...I also predict that we will eventually end up leaving Afghanistan with our tail between our legs just like the former Soviet Union was forced to. That area is not winnable and nations really need to stop wasting resources (and lives) there.