I don’t imagine Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner ever expected to end up as the philosophical poster-child of The New American Left. The Left is famous for raising taxes. Geithner may or may not even bother to pay his in any given year. Yet it happened during a light moment he experienced while testifying up on Capitol Hill. His statement to Congressman Ryan could accurately describe the attitude of The Obama Administration as it stands 150 days out from what will obviously be a referendum election.
We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to our long-term problem. What we do know is we don’t like yours.
Geithner spoke narrowly and described only the current issue of how President Obama’s latest budget proposal would have differed from Congressman Ryan’s with respect to dealing with rising entitlement costs. The words have their own life beyond what the hapless SecTurbo Geithner intended. They could have been Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s slogan as he ran for Governor in The Wisconsin Recall Election. They describe a Zeitgeist that will leave America paralyzed and in sclerotic decline as long as people like SecTurbo Geithner are in positions to make important decisions.
This Zeitgeist is what Peggy Noonan described in 2005 as “A Separate Peace.” She writes of The Geithner Mindset below.
I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, “I got mine, you get yours.” You’re a lobbyist or a senator or a cabinet chief, you’re an editor at a paper or a green-room schmoozer, you’re a doctor or lawyer or Indian chief, and you’re making your life a little fortress. That’s what I think a lot of the elites are up to.
It plays out in the US Senate as well. 2009 was the last year Harry Reid had total parliamentary dominance over the GOP. 2009 corresponds with the last year in which the US Senate even bothered passing a budget and participating in a proper reconciliation via The Budget Control Act.
They haven’t even adopted any of President Obama’s since 2009 either. Why would they? They got all the toys they could ask for in 2009. With the game so rigged in their favor, their optimal outcome is for history to end in Fukayamian fashion.
The same dying stasis plays out in Jerry Brown’s West Coast Wonderland. Walter Russell Meade describes how California’s goose has been illicitly cooked.
California is falling to pieces but its administrators are far too busy banning luxury foods to care. The state is failing to educate its kids, cannot house its prisoners or pay its bills; what was once the most vibrant and forward-looking state in the country has become a dismal failure — a social catastrophe that is a drag on the whole country’s performance. It’s pathetic. A law passed in 2004 that bans foie gras across the state will come into effect on July 1.
Yet the Leftist rump clings to its power centers with slipping, bloodied fingers. Wisconsin Liberal Activist, Adam Schabow reacts to the failure of The Wisconsin Recall the way any rational individual would as his entire way of life begins to die. That realization caused the laughter I initial felt inclined to unleash to die in my throat. This man isn’t acting. He is genuinely scared and grief-stricken.
This fear leavens the hatefulness and cynicism of Howard Myerson’s latest polemic against Governor-Elect Scott Walker in The American Prospect. Myerson’s fears of a jihad against the workers are laughable, but sincere. His rants about Social Darwinist agendas almost make me wonder if he considers evolution optional rather a scientific law. He apparently really doesn’t want evolution to exist; at least in terms of how American governments on all levels reconcile their budgets and plan for the future.
Matt Welch describes the typical situation that E-VIL usurpers like Scott Walker or Chris Christie walk into after the Howard Myersons of the world have made their “Separate Peace” and enjoyed themselves the fiscal equivalent of a Visigoth Holiday at taxpayer expense.
It is a fact that the majority of state budgets are in the red, that overall state spending increased by 81 percent from 2002-2007, and that rare-in-the-private-sector defined benefit pensions for government workers (along with post-retirement medical benefits) are a large and growing portion of state and local budgets, even while being chronically underfunded. The situation is terrible now, and will be much worse in the near future. So, progressives: Tell us concretely what you plan to do about this. The state of California’s public-sector pension contributions have increased 304 percent in a decade, up to $2.2 billion of a $91 billion budget, and growing faster by the minute. Pension contributions account for 20 percent and 27 percent, respectively, of the city budgets of San Diego and San Jose, whose citizens have responded by passing initiatives asking government workers to contribute more to their own pension and health care. Cities from California to Rhode Island have initiated bankruptcy over pension costs.
So Howard Myerson bemoans the fate of the worker. He doesn’t offer a plan to fix what’s been fornicated. He sees what Scott Walker, Rick Scott of John Kasich would try and recoils like a vampire confronted with a crucifix. It’s back to avoiding reality with the same conscious effort with which Tim Geithner avoids paying his taxes. If you are slick enough and heavily lawyered-up you may well successfully hoodwink the IRS.
Reality, isn’t even that empathetic. This is what makes the 2012 Election so vital. Geithnerism can be at least temporarily killed when the Presidency of Barack Obama is finally attenuated.