Smoke and Mirrors in D.C.
April 20, 2013
Here is a column written by a guy named A. Barton Hinkle, which was, I am assuming, published first in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. And if you leave aside Hinkle’s obvious dislike of anything like “Obamacare” and perhaps anything put forward by Obama, it is a pretty good article. How’s that?
Well, it illustrates, not intentionally perhaps, how both the Republican and the Democratic parties are working to preserve the status quo. As Hinkle writes:
“The gulf between proposals does not exactly resemble the Grand Canyon. It looks more like a golf-course divot.”
As Hinkle goes on to point out, the House Republicans plan for “deficit reduction” would “spend 4.95 trillion, or 19.1% of GDP,” while the Democrats in the Senate “would spend 5.69 trillion, or 21.7%” of GDP. And the president’s plan falls somewhere in the middle of these two plans. As Hinkle writes: “Republicans are nearly so austere as they – and for that matter, Democrats – would like everyone to believe.” And, again, “you can’t really use the word ‘austere’ in reference to any of these budgets.”
Now, the shortcoming, as I see it, of Hinkle’s piece is that he does not ask the question: Why is it that both the Republicans and the Democrats want people to think that they are divided by a chasm that “resembles the Grand Canyon,” rather than something that “looks more like a golf-course divot?” That is, how do both parties benefit from this misconception?
Interesting questions. I wish I had the answer but I don’t. But that does not make the phenomenon any less interesting: Here we have what are commonly considered two political parties, pretending to be at loggerheads, to be “poles apart,” even though they are not. Cui bono?