Refocusing the national conversation
It’s hard to deny that the first nine months of the 112th Congress saw this country transfixed by Republican demands for austerity. Indeed, President Obama was met with a lot of criticism from the left for seeming to give in to this Republican-framed national conversation. Many on the left were frustrated that Republican jibber jabber about spending cuts seemed to rule the day.
First, there was the April budget showdown which saw the radical right itching for a government shutdown unless Democrats acceded to their demands for $100 billion in cuts and defunding Planned Parenthood and the healthcare bill. Instead, Republicans got $38 billion in cuts, the continued survival of the Obamacare albatross, and the uterati retained control over their lady-areas. Needless to say, Teabilly-in-Chief, Michele Bachmann was gutted.
Then came the Republican-manufactured debt ceiling crisis which resulted in Orange Julius crowing that Republicans had gotten 98% of what they wanted and some lefties again pissed off about — something. (Turns out OJ and these lefties were wrong.)
After the debt ceiling tears had dried, President Obama pivoted to the most important issue in this country – JOBS, JOBS, JOBS. Knowing that Republicans were going to do exactly two things about jobs — jack and squat — President Obama took his jobs act on the road. Criss-crossing the country, he made his case for his American Jobs Act directly to the people, and asked us to get involved by calling Congress to demand they pass the bill. (We all know how that worked out.)
Inescapably entangled in the president’s jobs message is the very simple notion that rich-ass people should pay more in taxes. Warren Buffet hopped on the Jobs train and became the figurehead for the Republicans’ worst nightmare: the growing outcry in support of a simple idea that the Riches™ should pay more.
And then came the game changer: Occupy Wall Street.
Arguably, the five-week old occupy protests that have captivated America (and, indeed, the globe) have done more for our national conversation than anything President Obama has done. Whichever way one slices it, however, it is clear that the conversation has changed from “austerity” to income equality.
Everyone in the country is talking about income equality now, and that conversation all leads to one conclusion: tax increases on the rich.