Thursday, April 14, 2005

Great Week for Dreamers, Bad Week for Reality

Any con-man will tell you that the best suckers are optimists. Only an optimist really thinks that he is going to win at three card monte. Only an optimist believes that a Nigerian minister is going to pick out his email address to help him with a multi-million dollar transaction. Americans are an optimistic group, and the Republican con-men in Congress have spent this week exploiting our naive nature.

Two seemingly unrelated items of legislation are prime examples. First, the Republicans just turned the bankruptcy courts into collection agencies for the credit card companies. Second they just increased the deficit by giving a tax break to dead millionaires. The only reason they are able to get away with such nonsense is because of our foolish optimism. None (or very few) of us really expect to wind up in bankruptcy court, and many of us hold in our hearts the hope that if things go right, we could wind up fantastically wealthy.

The Republicans in Congress are close to passing incredibly repressive Bankruptcy legislation, protecting credit card companies from their own destructive behavior, and making a tough life even tougher for the thousands of Americans who wind up in over their head. About two million Americans each year, however, find themselves involved in bankruptcy due to medical bills - even if they have insurance! The average American should be marching on Washington in outrage over the Republican sell-out to corporate money, but nobody thinks bankruptcy will happen to him . . .

Meanwhile, the Republicans in the House have passed legislation which would repeal the estate tax - a tax which only applies to the wealthiest 2 percent of dead people. In a time of insane budget deficits, this is equivalent to taking money from our children and passing it onto the Rockefeller children. Oddly enough, though, the average American is not outraged about this tribute being paid by the Republicans to their country club masters - the average American believes that she may win the next Powerball, or that some unknown rich uncle is going to die and release her from having to shop from the value menu.

I hate to rain on America's optimistic parade, but the fact of the matter is that even if you're a hard-working, insured, frugal person, you are a hundred times more likely to wind up in bankruptcy court than you are to encounter the estate tax. The fact that you don't want to think that way is the reason that the Republicans are able to win this game of three card monte. And when the Republicans are dealing, you should know that the wealthy are going to win.


Post a Comment

<< Home