The ol' razzle dazzle

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The most predictable governing body on the planet, the U.S. Congress, is again doing some of its sleaziest sleight-of-hand work at year’s end, with the comfort of knowing that we lowly proletarians are focused on holiday festivities.

The average American is totally confused about the flurry of year-end legislation and political posturing coming out of the nation’s capital, and with good reason: Politicians work hard at creating confusion.

Now, let’s see if I understand this. The Dems want to “cut taxes” by extending a “tax holiday” on some of the money workers pay into the Social Security retirement “fund.” Could it be that Democrats aren’t as liberal as some of us have believed them to be? After all, they can’t be so bad if they actually favor a tax cut.

Would that it were true. But, unfortunately, it’s not. The truth is that it’s nothing more than a gimmick to keep American piglets mesmerized while feeding at the government’s entitlement trough.

I realize many true-blue conservatives and libertarians believe any tax cut is a good tax cut. In theory, they’re right. But cutting payroll taxes is an illusory tax cut. It’s attacking the symptom (payroll taxes) rather than the cause (Social Security). And like it or not, for now Social Security is a fact of life in the People’s Republic of America.

That being the case, if enough money is not extracted from workers to pay Social Security benefits to those who currently qualify for them, it has to be taken through an invisible tax (“inflation”) or paid for by politicians’ favorite tax targets – our children and grandchildren (by borrowing the money needed to cover the shortfall).

So far, so bad.

NOW TO THE second part of the year-end razzle-dazzle game: extending unemployment benefits. Has any Republican member of Congress taken the trouble to ask, “What do unemployment benefits have to do with extending the payroll tax cut?”

Will Republicans ever say “no” to an extension of unemployment benefits? Absolutely, positively not. After all, principles can get in the way of capturing votes. Progressive Republicans in the House and Senate are very convincing when they rail against wealth redistribution in front of the TV cameras – then turn right around and vote for it even more convincingly. Truth be known, Republicans have never met a piece of wealth-redistribution legislation they didn’t like.

Segue to the third piece of Congress’ year-end game of razzle-dazzle – the Keystone XL pipeline, which has absolutely nothing to do with either payroll taxes or unemployment benefits. It’s just more of the same – spin, twist, obfuscate and lie convincingly enough, and the anesthetized public, too fatigued from Christmas shopping and football, can be counted on to not understand that they’re getting wronged – again.

What the Keystone XL pipeline issue does is give accommodating Republicans the escape hatch they always seek to falsely claim victory in their losing efforts against Democrats. After all, how can you not applaud Republicans for agreeing to a bill that gives the illusion of moving forward with an oil pipeline from Canada, a project that promises to create thousands of jobs and help wean America off its dependency on foreign oil?

AND IF THAT’S what it did, maybe you could forgive Republicans for again extending unemployment benefits in exchange for getting their way on the Keystone XL pipeline. But that is not what it does. As always, there’s an out for our humble leader in the White House.

The out I’m referring to is that the wording in the bill requires Obama to grant a permit for the pipeline unless he decides that it’s “not in the national interest.” Gosh, I wonder what the likelihood is of his deciding it’s not in the “national interest”! Sounds a bit like “that depends upon what the meaning of is is.”

Interestingly, Obama’s former national security advisor Jim Jones, who almost never contradicts his one-time boss, said last week, in a press call sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, “(A)ny threat to this project, by delay or otherwise, would constitute a significant setback. The failure to (move forward with the project) will prolong the risk to our economy and our energy security (and) send the wrong message to job creators.”

Risk to our economy, risk to our energy future, sending the wrong message to job creators – sounds to me like it’s a Christmas wish list for Barack Obama. After all, you can’t expect a mere $4 million Hawaiian vacation to satisfy a high-falutin’ community organizer of his stature.

(The writer is an author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur.)

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copperhead 12/24/11 - 07:25 am
hussein slid that 1 TRILLION

hussein slid that 1 TRILLION dollar spending bill right past the citizens while holding our attention elsewhere!

JohnRandolphHardisonCain 12/24/11 - 08:49 am
Let's see. The Republican

Let's see. The Republican meme is "tax cuts for the rich GOOD, tax cuts for the 99% BAD", right? Not to fret Tea Party faithful. President Obama will cave on the XL pipeline as he has on nearly every other environmental issue including deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and mountaintop removal mining. However, the XL pipeline will not generate anything like the number of jobs that oil company funded studies promise. President Obama has done nothing to address the critical issue of global warming. Take solace Republican faithful. Obama's fate will be that of Bush 41. The economy will sink his re-election bid. The American establishment wins whether Obama or Romney is elected President in 2012. But average Americans, the U.S. economy, and the environment will all be losers. The oligarchs will remain in control because American voters are easily led and believe the nonsense spewed by opinion shapers in corporate owned media like The Chronicle and right wing talk radio as well as state run establishment media like NPR. Truth is elusive, complicated, and anathema to establishment media and bought-and-paid-for politicians. Active disinformation campaigns by the media and intellectual laziness on the part of ignorant voters guarantees America will get what it deserves - more of the same. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

Riverman1 12/24/11 - 09:15 am
I thought capitalism was the

I thought capitalism was the best economic system, but we've created something that beats all. We don't have to pay into social security anymore, yet will be paid handsomely. We can go two years without working and receive hundreds of dollars a week. We don't have to pay for our medical care. We live in government subsidized housing and have our food purchases supplemented.

This system gives us everything the Soviet Union gave their people without even having to work. You had to work where they told you there. This is much better than Communism ever was. No work, same benefits.

Everyone had best stock up on staples and have enough gold to bribe the border guards as we attempt to escape this money printing house of cards where the joker is left in and President.

itsanotherday 12/24/11 - 10:18 am
Very astute analysis

Very astute analysis Riverman. Too bad those holding their hands out and their promoters are too blind to see.

augusta citizen
augusta citizen 12/24/11 - 10:24 am
Don't forget the beans

Don't forget the beans dichotomy!

crkgrdn 12/24/11 - 01:00 pm
Long ago I learned that in

Long ago I learned that in politics, the people get what they deserve.

allhans 12/26/11 - 11:47 am
I have talked with more than

I have talked with more than a few hard working voters and without exception they said they would rather pay the money now than have it make the social security program even less "secure". What a shame that in trying to save his presidency Obama has to take from the already
severly deprived social security system.

Haki 12/25/11 - 01:22 pm
Obama 2012!

Obama 2012!

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