How can we get the White House and both houses of Congress under (brief) Democratic control and STILL find our country's policies being dictated by a fairly small group of white guys with a hundred million stupid lap dogs (think: Koch brothers)?
Paul Krugman's latest column talks about the recent deficit commission report, which sounds like it came straight from the Bush White House. A few quotes from Krugman's column (but I recommend reading it whole):
It seemed obvious, as soon as the commission’s membership was announced, that “bipartisanship” would mean what it so often does in Washington: a compromise between the center-right and the hard-right.
The goals of reform, as Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson see them, are presented in the form of seven bullet points. “Lower Rates” is the first point; “Reduce the Deficit” is the seventh.
So how, exactly, did a deficit-cutting commission become a commission whose first priority is cutting tax rates, with deficit reduction literally at the bottom of the list?
It will take time to crunch the numbers here, but this proposal clearly represents a major transfer of income upward, from the middle class to a small minority of wealthy Americans. And what does any of this have to do with deficit reduction?
...It’s no mystery what has happened on the deficit commission: as so often happens in modern Washington, a process meant to deal with real problems has been hijacked on behalf of an ideological agenda. Under the guise of facing our fiscal problems, Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson are trying to smuggle in the same old, same old — tax cuts for the rich and erosion of the social safety net.
The economist Robert Reich was recently on Fresh Air talking about how our policies of the last years have perilously concentrated a huge percentage of the country's wealth in a tiny group at the top of the food chain, a situation which last occurred on the eve of the Great Depression.
It's not surprising that the rich want to be richer. What's surprising is how completely they have railroaded the non-rich public into carrying their water. Why is middle America agitating to protect the tax rates of the very wealthy? How do you get average folks to panic about the national debt and to circle the wagons around the country's wealthy elite? How do you manage that feat?
Apparently those folks really are smarter than the rest of us.