Sunday, August 21, 2011


Today, in an editorial, The New York Times, perhaps a tad naively, urges the business community to demand that Republican politicians accept stimulus spending and higher taxes on the wealthy, as a means of attaining what would seemingly be big business's goal, namely a strong economy.

I'm especially struck by this sentence in the editorial:

It will be difficult for business leaders to change the minds of the Tea Party lawmakers, even those who rode to office on ads paid for by the chamber [the U.S. Chamber of Commerce] and similar groups, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't try.

It would be difficult? I don't believe that. Money rules American politics. If rich business establishmentarians really wanted to, they could decimate the tea party caucus in one election cycle. And if the teabag legislators really are willing to defy their donors, they're the only politicians in recent American history of whom that's true.

I think one round of opposition research used by the establishmentarians against one teabagger would be enough to put the fear of God into many of the rest of them -- who doesn't have a skeleton or two in the closet?

But the obvious point is that the establishmentarians were just fine with the results of the debt crisis. In the same way that a lot of lefties think Barack Obama feigns liberalism but is getting precisely what he (secretly) wants, I think the establishment fat cats got just what they wanted from the standoff -- as it went on and on, the president and congressional Democrats were pushed further and further to the right until the very end. The end product had plenty of cuts and zero tax increases. And Treasuries, although downgraded by S&P, are still a good buy. What's not to like?

The likelihood of a double dip? Who cares? The fat cats are doing fine right now with the economy in the doldrums -- corporate profits are going great guns -- and I really think they all feel we're so cowed that, however small the pie gets, we'll all agree that they should get whatever share they demand. And meanwhile, no tax increases! And the likelihood of a president and Congress next year who'll deliver even more tax cuts and a regulatory free-for-all!

So don't tell me about plutocrats who are at the mercy of defiant teabaggers. I don't see a conflict.

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