The politics of the “fiscal cliff” deal is debatable: On the one hand, Boehner got the “Bush tax cuts” made permanent for most Americans; Obama was forced to abandon his goal of increasing rates for those earning $250,000. On the other, on taxes Republicans caved to the same class-warfare premises (the rich need to pay their “fair share”) they’d successfully fought off a mere two years ago; while on spending the Democrats not only refused to make cuts, they refused to make cuts even part of the discussion.
Which of the above is correct? Who cares? As I said, the politics is debatable. But the reality isn’t. I hate to keep plugging my book After America in this space, but if you buy multiple copies they’ll come in very useful for insulating your cabin after the power grid collapses. At any rate, right up there at the front — page six — I write as follows:
“The prevailing political realities of the United States do not allow for any meaningful course correction. And, without meaningful course correction, America is doomed.”
Washington keeps proving the point. The political class has just spent two months on a down-to-the-wire nail-biting white-knuckle thrill-ride negotiation the result of which is more business as usual. At the end, as always, Dr. Obama and Dr. Boehner emerge in white coats, surgical masks around their necks, bloody scalpels in hand, and announce that it was touch and go for a while but the operation was a complete success — and all they’ve done is applied another temporary band-aid that’s peeling off even as they speak. They’re already prepping the OR for the next life-or-death surgery on the debt ceiling, tentatively scheduled for next Tuesday or a week on Thursday or the third Sunday after Epiphany.