Citizenship is a near daily responsibility. It is not a vote once and watch Barack walk on water proposition. Even dictators who engage slave labor to build roads and bridges have needed a minimal of cooperation from the people. But in a democracy the people have to offer willful, fervent cooperation if they want big things to happen.
A crowd that wants a tax cut for the super rich that would be as big as the stimulus bill was but complains the stimulus bill happened is borderline insane. But the insane will carry the day if the common sense people will let them. People responsible for unpaid wars to the tune of trillions long lost their right to preach fiscal responsibility. And they know they did. That is why they have now climbed down to downright economic illiteracy. The dogma they are preaching is coherent, but it is as coherent as the gold standard. The name Tea Party is no accident. This is not a longing to kick out the British: there are no British. This is a hearkening to the slavery era.
The billionaire sponsors of the Tea Party drama got pawns running up and down the streets. The previous administration turned record surpluses to record deficits. It went into two unpaid wars. It blew up another trillion on tax cuts. It did not give drugs to the seniors. It gave a give away to Big Pharma.
That the government has to spend big when families and businesses are stepping back on their spending is elementary economics, it is quite basic. It is like demand and supply. Even George Bush knows that. But once you get the economy back on track, then you bring down the deficit which is not hard to do at that point because the revenues are coming in. Deficit spending in a recession is not only a good idea. It is the only idea.
Since Ronald Reagan real wages have not much gone up. There were a few years of anomaly in the Clinton years. But otherwise the no movement has been the norm. Barack Obama has to set the tone for a generation. He has to put into place a worldview whereby it is a rising tide lifts all boats kind of thing. And so you can't have the political pendulum swing the other way right now.
Those who have the most to lose seem to be the least interested in fighting even when they have at their disposal the mightiest political office ever created in the history of humanity. The apathy of the powerless is mesmerizing.
The New Yorker: October 25, 2010: Harry Reid And Sharron Angle Square Off In Nevada: The third group was the American Family Business Institute, which is dedicated to abolishing the inheritance tax....... “Our Contract with America is the Constitution”; “I want Harry Reid to stop doing more for Nevada—we can’t afford it!” ..... repeal the health-care-reform bill; liquidate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federal home-mortgage agencies; oppose the Administration’s lawsuit aimed at overturning Arizona’s immigration law. ...... the anti-tax Club for Growth, the Tea Party Express, and American Crossroads, the new conservative organization co-founded by Karl Rove...... Nevada is in such bad shape that comparisons to the Great Depression are justified. It has the highest foreclosure rate, the highest bankruptcy rate, proportionally the highest state budget deficit, and the highest state unemployment rate in the country....... Congress passed more major pieces of progressive legislation in one session than it has in decades. ....... Nevada .. the most nationally powerful politician in its history....... she has called for abolishing the Departments of Energy and Education and the Environmental Protection Agency, and for privatizing Social Security, Medicare, and the Veterans Administration....... “Man up, Harry Reid!” .... Reid plainly had gone into the debate with the idea that he could demonstrate that Angle is “extreme,” but nothing seemed to stick....... some of the distinctive aspects of American life in the twenty-first century (loosening of social bonds, soaring hope in new ventures, rootlessness, risk, debt) have been cultured ...... more recently, he has called Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York, the “hottest member” of the Senate ..... Everybody in Nevada politics has a story about the brusque telephone calls he makes at all hours..... Charged with cleaning up the casinos, Reid faced down the real-life versions of the Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci characters in “Casino.” ...... only once in his long career has he won more than fifty per cent of the vote in an election. He’s a will-power politician...... He took personal umbrage at George W. Bush. “I have made no secret of my antipathy toward the second President Bush,” he wrote. He added that Bush “is an ideologue who has done incalculable damage to the government, reputation, and moral standing of the United States of America.” He twice publicly called Bush a liar, explaining, “When one lies, one is a liar.” Late in his Presidency, Bush summoned Reid to the White House and tried to appease him. “I never went to Kennebunkport as a kid,” Reid recalls. “I never went anywhere. And I’ve got no blue blood in my veins, just some desert sand. So as he and I sat there in the Oval Office, I said little in return.” ...... practically the only good thing that ever happened in the life of his father was joining a union ...... “The American government is the greatest force for good in the history of mankind”; Social Security is “the greatest social program since the fishes and loaves.” ..... most establishment Republicans in Nevada, is backing Reid over Sharron Angle ...... “Social Security unites all Democrats. It’s the founding principle of our party” ..... he had spotted Barack Obama as a comer and given him a prominent assignment ..... Without the barest hint of braggadocio or conceit, and with what I would describe as deep humility, he said quietly: ‘I have a gift, Harry.’ ...... Reid’s gift—relentlessly working the Senate Democratic caucus, member by preening member—is one that Obama lacked any interest in during his four years in the Senate..... Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist, and Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut almost-Republican ..... In the partnership between the Obama White House and the Reid Senate, Obama supplied the eloquence and grace and originated the policy ideas. Reid’s role was to get it done. Between Obama’s Inauguration, in January, 2009, and the congressional recess early last month, more consequential liberal legislation passed than at any time since the Great Society: health-care reform, the economic-stimulus package, financial regulation, a big education bill, the rescue of the auto industry, and the second phase of the rescue of the big banks. Others (a large expansion of protected public lands, funding for universal broadband access) didn’t get the attention they normally would have......... Reid would explain that each senator is a “brand”: Maria Cantwell, of Washington, is high-tech ...... respecting the power of committee chairmen helps to win their loyalty..... In 2005, Reid decided to establish an early Presidential caucus in Nevada, like Iowa’s..... Reid had the wit to become actively involved in the Republican primary campaign, so as to get the opponent he wanted in the fall...... She is unlike Reid in almost every way except in her relentless determination..... she and Reid are in a dead heat in the polls ...... Reid, a teetotaller who doesn’t gamble ..... beginning in 2007, and escalating in 2008 and 2009, Nevada went spectacularly bust. Last year, the state lost population for the first time since the Great Depression. Next year, the state legislature will meet to balance a budget that, on a two-year cycle, has a three-billion-dollar deficit, on total spending of less than seven billion dollars. The construction industry—Nevada’s second-largest, after casinos, during the boom years—has nearly disappeared. More than half the students in the Clark County public school system are eligible for the federal school-lunch program........ “You had a large group of people from California who took advantage of the system. Come here, buy a house, no money down, take out a HELOC—a home-equity line of credit—use it to buy another home, get a second mortgage, get some cash. And then they’re gone—poof. They all came at the same time and they all left at the same time....... MGM is not just Nevada’s largest employer and taxpayer; it is proportionally among the largest single taxpayers in any state, supplying eleven per cent of the budget of Nevada’s government. ....... Angle’s campaign ignores what would seem to be a basic rule of elective politics: that you have to promise to deliver government services to your constituents, especially in hard times. ...... European governments get into trouble by overloading on pensions and other expensive benefits; American governments get into trouble by practicing a kind of casino liberalism, in which credit flows too easily, everybody goes too deeply into debt, and if the growth ever stops, everything crashes.