Poor Barack. He is all upset because the Slaughter of the Innocents has failed to achieve its disaster capitalism purpose -- inspiring his fellow politicians to bargain away the social safety net just when the national attention is conveniently focused on marathon funeral processions in Connecticut. Those selfish Republicans have disobeyed a cardinal rule of the Shock Doctrine, which is that you never let a good crisis go to waste.The optimal time to pounce and ram through programs that hurt people is when people are already hurting too much to notice or care.
Barack Obama actually mouthed that precept right out loud at his press conference yesterday:
But, goodness, if -- if this past week has done anything, it should just give us some perspective. If there’s one thing we should have after this week, it should be a sense of perspective about what’s important.... And when you think about what we’ve gone through over the last couple of months -- a devastating hurricane, and now one of the worst tragedies in our memory, the country deserves folks to be willing to compromise on behalf of the greater good and not tangle themselves up in a whole bunch of ideological positions that don’t make much sense. So I remain, not only open to conversations, but I remain eager to get something done. I’d like to get it done before Christmas.This is what Obama's Nightmare before Christmas would look like: the sneaky “chained” Consumer Price Index would cut as much as $225 billion in spending over the next ten years, half of it from retirees collecting Social Security and the rest from the pensions of retired federal workers, and other undisclosed benefit payments. The expiration of the "Bush" tax cuts would now be extended to families earning above $400,000 a year, an increase from his previous $250,000 line in the quicksand. The partial payroll tax holiday will expire regardless of whether a deal is reached, thus adding a few thousand more in deductions from the average paycheck. The tax on wealthy investors' dividends would decrease from 39.6% to 20%.
The sound of Marley's ghost dragging his chains across the floor was the start of Ebenezer Scrooge's nightmare. But old people bound in chains and strangling on cat food seems to be fodder for an Obamian wet dream. While Scrooge was scared into developing a conscience, Obama will only evolve the semblance of one if it is politically expedient for him to do so.
The only thing saving us from his grandiose bargain, for the time being anyway, is that John "Plan B" Boehner is still as crazy as he ever was. The frenemy of our imaginary friend is our friend.