Monday, November 18, 2013

"Dirty Secret?" Not Here

“Dirty Secret?” Not Here
P. Schultz
November 18, 2013

            Well, folks, here it is, of all places in the nation’s paper of record, the New York Times. What is it? Well, finally, someone at that paper has recognized, or finally decided to publish, the “secret” that our “two” political parties are colluding to preserve the status quo.

            The headline is “Dirty Secret Lurks in the Struggle Over the Grand Bargain.” And here is one of its earliest and most important assertions: 

“That is, many Republicans are no more interested in voting to reduce Medicare and Social Security benefits than Democrats are, lest they threaten their party’s big advantage among the older voters who dominate the electorate in midterm contests like those in 2014.

“And Democrats are no more eager than Republicans, with control of both houses of Congress up for grabs, to vote for the large revenue increases that a grand bargain would entail. They do not want to limit popular but costly deductions, as Mr. Obama and past bipartisan panels, like his Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission, have proposed. That is especially true for Democrats from states like California and New York where affluent voters value deductions for mortgages on first and second homes, charitable giving and state and local taxes.”

            Bottom line: We don’t actually have two political parties. Rather, we have, as some have noticed, a political class. And that political class is more concerned with keeping its power, which requires preserving the status quo as they see it, than with governing, assuming of course that “governing” means acting in the national interest or for what is called here the financial well being of the nation.

            And I love the following quote:

“It’s a lot harder than you’d think to find Republicans who’d actually want to cut entitlements, or Democrats who want to raise taxes,” said Jared Bernstein, a former economic adviser to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and now a senior fellow at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “The only person who seems to have consistently been interested in a grand bargain is the president, and frankly I’m not even sure about him.”

            Finally, someone calling a spade a spade, although why Mr. Bernstein hesitates to include Obama in the political class is beyond me. What has he done to warrant any other opinion? Help me here because I cannot think of anything. Here is the link.

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