Last week an extension of the Bush tax cuts was passed, including tax cuts for the GOP’s favorite minority, those whose incomes are over $250,000. Now that this important business for their favorite constituents has been taken care of, some business for the rest of us is being transacted.
Firstly, there has been the repeal of DADT. This, of course, is a dream come true for Republicans and Tea Partiers. Both espouse the principal of smaller government, and less government interference. I can’t imagine that either have any hypocrites that only pay lip service to these principals, so it’s good to see that they are finally voting some common sense, after cutting taxes for the rich, of course. What business does the government have worrying about sexual orientation?
The Senate ratified the New Start Treaty. Again, a victory for proponents of smaller, less intrusive government. I personally can’t think of anything more intrusive that a nuclear warhead being detonated, especially in close proximity to me, and by close proximity, I mean anywhere on the sunward side of Jupiter. Of course, the fewer of these things there are lying around, the less likely one of those 1,500 terrorists will get their hands on it. Smaller military = smaller government. We have to start somewhere, why not with the biggest portion?
The Senate also passed the 9/11 First Responders Bill, although they modified the length and overall cost downward in order to satisfy another GOP favorite, the Chamber of Commerce, headed by Thomas J. Donahue. Money is no object when it’s time to hand bonuses out to the financial geniuses who drove the economy of the planet off a cliff, but when it’s a fireman with Stage 4 cancer, every nickel counts.
Speaking of the First Responders Bill, it was Jon Stewart of Comedy Central who took Fox News to task for their utter lack of coverage of this issue while the tax cuts for the rich hostage scenario was being played out last week. After that was finished, Fox News’ Shepherd Smith went front and center on the issue. Today, in an apparent attempt to deflect an already shortsighted public’s attention span, Fox started terror bleating, (for the 56,247th time) this time about terror arrests in London and US DNI chief James Clapper.
President Obama apparently made a very skilled read on what benefits he could obtain for ordinary Americans by giving the GOP the tax cut extension. He did not leave the extension of unemployment benefits to possibly get torpedoed during the lame duck session. Although the President is very pragmatic, and has skillfully obtained a Santa Claus-sized sack of legislation this week, I still would have preferred a way to pay for it, and we should not have cut the Social Security payroll tax. Cutting the payroll tax is a set up to attack Social Security as underfunded. The cuts for those earning over $250,000 will cost the treasury $830 billion over 10 years. That’s the size of TARP, and a lot of TARP paid bonuses to the Wall Street Financial Wizards, who will now pay less tax on the tax money we gave them. Only in America.