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Hullabaloo


Sunday, August 07, 2011

 
Yes, both sides are wrong

by digby

So the president's spokesman Dan Pfeiffer is pushing back on Villager Mark Halperin's insistence that "both sides" are to blame for the S&P downgrade.

@Markhalperin my point is that compromise is possible, but to date GOP hasn't been willing. This isn't a case of both sides being wrong.


I just have to say that this isn't true. Both sides are wrong. Terribly wrong. But it's not because they have been equally intransigent in dealing with the deficit, but because we shouldn't be focusing on the deficit at all.

I am once again struck by a very creepy feeling of deja vu, going back about eight years or so when Democrats were arguing furiously with the Bush administration about its relentless push to go into Iraq without UN authority. "My God," they cried, "this thwarting of international norms is terrible, we cannot unilaterally invade a sovereign nation! We must have the world on our side!" Bush dutifully went to the UN and they diddled around for a couple of months before the whole thing blew up and Bush went in with his "coalition of the willing" without UN support.

But the problem was never that he didn't have UN authority. It was that he wanted to invade Iraq at all. It wouldn't have mattered if everyone in the UN had signed on to that lunacy, it still wouldn't have made any sense.Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, inspectors were in there and not finding any WMD and the whole operation was likely to inspire even more terrorism and isolate the US at a time when it needed friends not enemies. Everything about it was ridiculous, but half the Democratic party signed on anyway and the other half argued against it on procedural and technical grounds. It was the very height of the up-is-down Bush era.

Now, like then, we are in a headlong rush to solve a problem that isn't a real problem and in doing so we'll make the real problems we face even worse. Cutting spending and raising taxes is not the right thing to do at the moment. It's true that the wealthy are doing well and can afford to pitch in more in taxes --- and should. But this is not a one-sided deal, is it? The deal is for the wealthy to pay a little bit more in taxes in exchange for cutting the safety net.

Liberals are all out there today pointing out that the S&P said that Republicans refusing to pay taxes was the major factor in their decision. The White House is pointing out that the Democrats were more than willing to do everything that was requested. We are all standing up and saying "see, they wouldn't meet us halfway, the selfish jerks! This is on them!" I get that. On a partisan level it makes some sense to try to avoid blame for the downgrade.

But making this claim also means we are all signing on the Grand Bargain, in which a few rich assholes paying the equivalent of tip money is equal to senior citizens and sick people being asked to give up a much large percentage of their meager income, health and security. Just as the problem with Iraq really wasn't that Bush failed to follow proper international processes, the problem with the Grand Bargain isn't that Republicans failed to agree to revenues. The problem with the Grand Bargain is that it's a very, very bad deal for ordinary people and the exact wrong policy to fix the real problems in this country, regardless of whether or not the GOP kicks in some revenue --- which it won't. All of our protests about the UN process didn't really add up to much in the end. And we are still in Iraq.

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