At Religion Dispatches, Peter Laarman provides a much-needed religious-ethical perspective on the shoddy deal American top legislators have just made, re: the bogus "fiscal cliff" crisis. His opening salvo:
I wish it wasn't necessary to say this, but it is: religiously and ethically, the "Washington consensus" tax deal is a disaster.
The New Year's Eve pas de deux between Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell produced a deal that people with lots of money will love. America's really rich won't be soaked at all under this deal; they will be stroked. If the loonier House Republicans weren't so totally obsessed with hacking domestic social spending right this minute, rather than waiting a couple of months, they would have snapped up the White House-Senate deal without all the pouting and posturing.
And then he concludes:
I don't know about yours, but my Bible has a lot to say about grinding the poor and the laborers in order to deliver more luxury and comfort to the rich. I don't believe the God of this Bible is interested in hearing "but that's how Washington works" or "it's the best we could get." Barack Obama wasn't re-elected with the votes of working America so that he could make a deal with the Devil on the Devil's terms.
Who's loving the deal and praising Obama for his canny negotiating and bipartisanship? Centrist insider commentators who always love any deal at all that keeps the disempowered GOP minority in Congress in the driver's seat. Centrist insider commentators are now typically using the "neither left nor right" frame that they love to use as they comment on what occurs in Washington, situating themselves as omniscient, objective observers with insider knowledge unavailable to us lesser beings who live in the hinterlands and move in circles less exalted than those of the mainstream media and the beltway.
Not a few of these centrist commentators were strong supporters of Mr. Obama during the election. But they seem to forget rather quickly that they previously supported the Republican administrations that have brought us to our current impasse in American democracy, in which a minority that does not represent the will of the majority, which retains power only because the super-rich buy gerrymandered House seats for it, is permitted to control the future of the nation via temper tantrums.
And so I have to conclude that their support of the president is all about assuring that he continues to kowtow to the unrepresentative minority that continues to control the future of the nation, so that the hegemony of the 1% remains firmly intact. And that is, as Peter Laarman rightly notes, the bottom line in all this toing and froing to meet totally invented "crises" created by this minority, as they hold the nation hostage until their control of things is set in stone through legislative and judicial acts that in no way consider the fate of the poor, let alone the working citizens who form the backbone of the nation.