A cunning legerdemain is in the works, and, if it were me, I’d follow and do what Obama is doing. Think about the Fiscal Cliff/Sequestration for a moment. Faultless tax increases and faultless spending cuts, and, more importantly, among those spending cuts are juicy, delicious Defense cuts. This is a big spending Democrat’s wet dream. If you don’t believe me, ask Howard Dean, who said that the Fiscal Cliff:
“…is actually the best deal progressive Democrats are going to get. And here’s why. One, we get the Clinton tax rates on everybody. Will it cause a problem? Yes. There will be a short recession, and it will be painful. But two, we get Defense cuts. Republicans are never going to agree to that. And three, there are some human services cuts, which we’re not going to like. But it’s the least possible damage.”
So, if I was a big spender turned on by the sloppy inefficiencies of big government, why the heck would I not want to go over the cliff? And does anyone deny that Kaptain O is a big spender? The guy has racked up over $6 trillion in debt in one term and is on track to rack up more debt than all the other presidents combined. What’s even more impressive is that he has nothing to show for it! Try to do that if you’re fiscally prudent. You can’t. It can’t be done unless you’re awash in other people’s money and blow through it like a Secret Service agent blowing through a line of cocaine off a hooker’s belly. So, if I were a Obama, I’d do what I could to guarantee we careen well over the cliff and land somewhere well beyond the slope–pull a Thelma and Louise and jettison 80 mph into the canyon.
But there’s a catch. I don’t want to get blamed when things hit the fan (note the little recession bit Howard mentioned above), so I can’t look like this is what I want. The trick will be twofold. First, maintain that it’s the other side’s fault so they’ll get the blame, even if you know I want the cliff more than Michael Moore wants another box of Cracker Jacks. Second, when negotiating with the other side, be sure to make demands so ridiculously over the top that there’s no way the other side will agree to it. Then the negotiations will fail, there won’t be an agreement, and the cliff will pass under us as we hurdle ourselves into the soft fluffiness of other people’s cash. (As I’m writing this, it occurs to me that life would be so much easier if I was a Lefty. You just need to get other people’s money to pay for things you want, so you don’t have to. And right now, that seems really easy. I mean there’s a woman, Sandra Fluke, who stands to make about $160,000 a year to start once she graduates from a private, elite university that’s demanding we pay for her $15/month birth control! Sheesh, if she can get away with that, I should be able to get cash from you for doing nothing!)
Accomplishing the first one is easy. Just state you’re for tax cuts on the middle class while defining the other side’s “tax cuts for all” as “tax cuts for the rich”. And just keep saying it over and over again. The parrots in the press will unquestioningly pick it up and work it into a meme for you. The dullards will believe it, won’t ask questions, and will unwittingly agree to hand over more of their money to you and blame the other side. No problem. Try to not talk about any spending cuts whatsoever, but if you must, when asked about cuts, a curt “yeah, they’re on the table, we all know that” (even though they’re really not) will suffice to placate the press .
The second one is also not that hard. When the other side meets your tax increases, pull a Lucy and increase them by a substantial percentage. Heck, maybe even double them. Ask for $800 billion, they agree, reply with, “oh, I mean $1.6 trillion”. For good measure, include a demand that requires the other side to surrender one or two of their Constitutional responsibilities to you. Pick one. The “power of the purse” is a good one. You’ll hit them right in the mind with that. There’s no way they’ll agree to it. You’re asking them to immolate themselves. They will not, and they’ll look even more inflexible when they’re ineptly hemming and hawing in the media about the absurdity of the proposition, meanwhile the doe-eyed commentators will express confusion by their resistance to such a reasonable “compromise”.
If you do all of the above with a smile, a strut, and a Hawaiian vacation or two, you’ll look cool, in control, and flexible. You’ll be sure to get what you want, and the other side will get the blame. Perfect.