Outrage of the Week #6: What's missing from "Grand Bargain" talks
Last for this week, and I have very little time for this, so it will have to be short. It's about the so-called "Grand Bargain to avoid the Fiscal Cliff" - which, as I keep saying, ain't grand, ain't no bargain, and there ain't no cliff. In fact, while some have called it more like a "slope," the truth is it's even more like stepping off a curb.
I've been trying to talk about this, but in a way, that's hard to do because everything we've seen is just posturing. There has been lots of talk and bloviating about tax revenues and "entitlements" and everyone staking out positions the know the other side won't accept, and all of it just for show. It's all Kabuki theater, all stylized drama and makeup. There's nothing there to really grab on to as a source of intelligent comment.
So what needs to be noted is what is not in the script. Instead of being a matter of "there is no there there," this is like some of the "there" that should be there but isn't.
First is that there are not two sides here. There is one side, the "cutting the deficit is the most important thing evah" side, a side that takes as a point of faith that benefits to ordinary people must be cut. The only dispute is over just how to cut and just how deep to cut - along with how small can tax increases on the rich and powerful be while still looking like you're being tough on them.
Get outside the Beltway, outside that intellectually-stunted isolation booth filled on the one hand with pandering politicos and on the other by pundits more concerned with access than accuracy, and you find the American people as a whole are saying they don't care nearly as much about the deficit as they do about jobs and the economy.
But here is the real thing I wanted to mention today, the real outrage or at least one of them in this business.
Look at that graph on the right and realize that in all the discussions about spending cuts going on now, all the talk about all the ways to step away from this fantasized cliff, there is no proposal to take anything from the top half of that graph.
Not one penny. It's not even mentioned. You tell me how that is not an outrage.