If you ever wondered about the price of patriotism, scour social media and you’ll find it’s cheaper than you’d think; about forty dollars. The news of President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats striking a deal with Republicans on an economic bill designed to be nicknamed “fiscal cliff” by the media, has sent amateur politicians into a frenzy. The bill allows the five-year-old 2% payroll tax cut extension to expire. While most of the multi-billion dollar bill will be paid by raising tax rates of Americans making over $400,000 a year from 36.5% to 39%, middle class folks like this writer will see their paychecks decrease by an amount that averages to around $40 every two weeks. And our friends, family and followers are freaking the freak out.
Somewhere otherwordly, where they have big cigars, stiff drinks, and lots of intelligent conversation, Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde are observing the American political scene and smirking at how right they were, over one-hundred years ago. Twain, a native of Hannibal, Missouri once said “Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about” and Wilde, an Irishman, remarked “Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious”. Those dudes would have ruled on Twitter and Facebook.
Taxes are the definition of a necessary evil. They pay for horrible things like roads, schools, medicine, teachers, police, firemen, armed forces and that lady at the DMV who can decide whether or not your picture on your driver’s license makes you look like a serial killer.
I abhor paying taxes because, in theory, it’s more awesome to keep all of the money you earn from your job. But alas, those greedy kindergartners need their lunches and band aids. When people hear or read on Aunt Gertrude’s Facebook wall that that socialist Obama lied about raising taxes during the campaign (O M G , a politician lied, get the smelling salts), and your paycheck is going to be smaller, then the misinformation flows like booze through Lindsay Lohan.
This tax bill replaces the money George W. Bush cut in 2006 and 2007. His plan didn’t work, because his recession was being threatened by another recession. This new legislation passed through both sections of Congress around 2am, New Year’s Day. In other words, the President isn’t actually raising taxes, he’s putting the tax laws back to where they were five years ago, hoping the cash generated will stimulate the economy and get rid of the dumb phrase, “the fiscal cliff”, which reminds me of a Michael Douglas movie from 1993.
Since very few, okay, no one, reading this column makes over 400 large, let’s deal with what this writer and those of you who have graciously devoted five minutes of your time to read, actually care about, those pesky forty bucks. Since December, when the President started his rock and roll tour across the fruited plain discussing his then proposed bill that Republicans refused to vote on until after the last minute, the paycheck tax cut extension turned into “taxes being raised on the middle class”. This makes him look like liar. For the sake of me not having to suck down anxiety pills with Drano to deal with the argument, let’s say, “okay, Prez is a doodyhead and now I can’t go to Applebees this month”.
Articles like this: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/12/21/stories-everywhere-what-40-means-you make me realize why the terrorists hate us. We’re spoiled, like these guys with the 90210 code.
Ya’ll are griping and gripping over two twenties every two weeks? If you want to floss your patriotism, tighten your budget for a while, see how that works, and maybe, long-term, say six months from now, the economy will be better and that forty will seem like a joke.
I’m not a fan of President Obama’s bill. The spending increases are atrocious. He’s asking for rich folks to get soaked, middle-class people to lay off iTunes buys, while the Government spends billions. But the Republicans, called soulless by one of their own, Presidential Candidate John Huntsman, last week, have no counter. In fact it was their failed policies that forced Obama’s pimp hand, here.
As a nation, we are in a crisis, financially. Selling out your patriotism or purchasing it, depending on your view of this deal, for a measly $40, isn’t a cliff, fiscal or otherwise. Don’t be like Steve Sanders when his dad threatened to take away his corvette when he dated a girl from the wrong side of the mall. We’re better than that, America. Right?