Don’t go blaming Obama and the fiscal cliff deal on your smaller paychecks this week. The Social Security rate that you pay is going back up to 6.2 percent after being held at 4.2 percent for the past two years.
The price break for us working stiffs was “stimulus,” you see. (Stimulus over, make daddy sad, baby go hungry.)
That 2 percent amounts to about $2,000 a year. Hope you all enjoyed Christmas 2012, because Christmas 2013, things might be a little tight.
Hooray for big government! That little 2 percent increase means $120 billion extra dollars for the 113th Congress to misappropriate. Super.
Now about that fiscal cliff.
I don’t know about you, but I sure am glad we didn’t go off the cliff together. I mean, after what we’ve been through here in Southern Nevada the last few years (rampant home foreclosures, high unemployment, businesses closing left and right, schools cutting budgets at every turn, homegrown casino magnates learning Chinese), I’m not sure I could bear another economic jolt the size that awaited the country should those obstinate politicians in Washington, D.C. not come to some sort of agreement.
Talk about a bubbly New Year’s sigh of relief. I am ecstatic that those power couples making just shy of $450,000 a year won’t see any tax increases — of course except for that pesky Social Security payroll tax increase. But hey, what’s 2 percent when you make almost half a million dollars a year?
That’s a grand bargain for the just short-of-wealthy. Republicans should hang their heads high. Obama and the Democrats were seeking to raise revenue on the backs of those poor slobs, the solidly upper-middle class couples that earn $250,000 a year. Republicans would have none of it! Why, $250,000 a year doesn’t get you as far as it used to, didn’t you know? Add that 2 percent Social Security increase and quite a few highly paid accountants, doctors, lawyers, bankers and real estate brokers (at least the good ones) would have had to join all us bottom feeders putting our hands out every time the presidential motorcade passes by.
Our hero, that man with the orange skin (hepatitis or just a bad tan, I’m not certain) wasn’t backing down. Nope. Taking no for an answer wasn’t an option for the Republicans’ chief negotiator, Speaker of the House John Boehner. All hail Burnt Orange Boehner. That resounding 220-192 vote Thursday in the House to keep his speaking engagement going should really bolster Republicans hopes for the future. A burnt orange future, indeed.
Of course, us poor slobs making less than $450,000 a year aren’t the only fortunate ones in this fiscal cliff swan song. Some of our best corporate buddies made out like bandits, too.
Corporations are people, you know, they have feelings and wallets just like you and me. We in the liberal media (hey, that’s me!) forgot to focus any attention on how the fiscal cliff deal was going to benefit multi-billion dollar international conglomerates, until of course the deal was law of the land. So Washington.
Gee, let’s take a look real fast at how Burnt Orange Boehner and our benevolent Hawaiian leader Obama treated our corporate brothers and sisters. Well, first, some corporations are enjoying an extension of tax credits — amounting to about $76 billion a year. (I guess the stimulus isn’t over for everybody.) Some are pretty surprising. General Electric gets to keep pouring its American profits into foreign bank accounts to avoid paying corporate taxes again next year. Sweet deal.
Citigroup, that bastion of good governance, got a similar sweet deal. So did some other familiar faces — Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Diageo, a liquor company that slings Captain Morgan Rum, and the Motion Picture Association of America even got tax credits for film production. Lots of lefty-sounding companies got tax credits, too — the American Wind Energy Association, bio-tech companies, bio-diesel companies, turbine makers, etc.
Of course, in defense of the politicians who no doubt traded their support for this latest corporate welfare for contributions to their favorite PACs or maybe a job for their wife’s slightly Mongoloid sister or what have you, some of these tax credits weren’t new. By no means. And heck, according to some reports, corporate lobbyists were busy as far back as this summer trying to find the most accessible piece of legislation to slip some of these into. Many of these were existing handouts that our corporate brothers and sisters (did I mention these are people like you and me!) wished to see extended beyond their expiration date.
And thank goodness for it. Maybe GE will hand out free refrigerators to every family making less than $450,000 a year — now that’s what I’m talking about. (New lefty slogan alert: Corporations wanna be people? Let them be their brother’s keeper.)
Alas, no one wants to see Hollywood, or GE, or algae farms fall off any cliffs — though I wouldn’t mind seeing Goldman Sachs take a nasty fall on an icy flight of stairs — but, more importantly, I think a lot of us want the political theater surrounding these constant economic debates to soften. Why does everything have to be WWIII for Republicans? Why are Democrats, coming off a resounding presidential election victory, so easy to roll over? (That’s easy, the same greedy hands feed both dogs.)
Now on to the debt ceiling debate, where America’s embarrassingly broken political system will again take center stage. Can’t wait. Can you?