by David McElroy
Democrats and Republicans manufactured an end-of-the-year crisis that they declared must be solved or disaster was imminent. Without a budget deal to stop automatic spending cuts, the entire country would go over a cliff, they claimed, presumably destroying us all. Their last-second solution was to pass huge tax increases and cut almost nothing from the budget. Is anyone naive enough to be surprised?
I’m not going to dissect the deal. Frankly, I don’t care enough to. If you just want to be outraged over the tax increases and the groups getting favors, there are plenty of places that’ll oblige you. I’d like to ask a much bigger and more fundamental question.
Are you ready to give up on politics? Are you ready to quit pretending that it makes a difference who you vote for or whose election you work for? Are you ready to quit wasting your time, money and effort on a losing effort?
I know plenty of good people who believed that if they worked for Republican candidates who promised to oppose taxes and promised to trim the size of government, things would change. There were a lot of people who had faith in the Tea Party movement to change things, even though the actual philosophy behind the Tea Party types became more and more muddled over time. If you’re among those people, do you see now that your time and work and money was wasted?
The Republican Party is like an abusive husband who keeps promising to change. He keeps saying that if you’ll trust him this time, everything will be different. And fiscally conservative voters act like a battered woman who’s scared to give up on the known and hold the louse accountable. So like the abused wife who returns to the abuser, those voters keep going back to the system and back to a party that has betrayed them time after time — including this week.
This week’s bi-partisan agreement raises $41 in new taxes for every dollar of spending cuts. Is this what you expected when you marched in protests and volunteered for candidates and voted for people who promised to stop the taxing and spending increases? Did you expect the House Republican leadership to ram the deal through? After all, they were supposed to be the fiscal conservatives who saved us. Can’t you see that nothing is going to save us?
There is a fiscal cliff that the entire society is going to go over at some point. It was always a dishonest characterization to pretend that this latest “crisis” was a cliff at all. At worst, it was a speed bump for government. But even the speed bump was enough to terrorize the politicians who don’t understand anything other than making government bigger.
At some point, the government will lose the ability to pay its debts, because productive people will be unable to pay what’s demanded of them. There just aren’t enough of them, and more and more of them are going to walk away rather than be robbed blind in order to allow money to keep flowing to military adventurism, corporate welfare and the quasi-socialist medical system. (If you think we’ve had a free market in medicine, you’re not paying attention.) When the government loses its ability to pay the debts, draconian taxes will be imposed. Borrowing will stop. Rebellion will increase. Collapse is inevitable.
For now, you have two broad choices. You can either keep returning to the Republican Party and believing its lies about how it will cut the size of government and stop taxes from growing or you can give up on the system and figure out what you’re going to do when things collapse.
Those are really your only real choices. If you want to continue playing political games — pretending that it matters who is elected president and Congress — go right ahead, but you’re wasting your time, money and effort. Worse, you’re distracting yourself from figuring out what to do when the system collapses.
When the system collapses, nobody is going to care who you voted for or where you marched. The only thing that’s going to matter is whether you have a plan to take care of yourself and your family.
Quit thinking that swapping one politician for another is going to change anything. It’s not. The entire system has to go. The Titanic is going down. Quit paying attention to the two groups fighting over who gets to claim authority over the bridge of the sinking ship.