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fiscal cliff thoughts

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

I have to admit I’ve been paying so much attention to the gun control/mental health safety net debates that I haven’t really been keeping up on the fiscal cliff thing. So I don’t know the specifics, how close the Dems/GOP are to a deal, or anything of the sort. And my impressions may be completely off here.

That said, the general impression I’ve gotten is this: Dems want to raise taxes on the super-wealthy and prevent doing this to everyone else (which is effectively the middle class since the poor don’t earn enough that this would matter for them). In exchange for this the GOP wants to slash government programs which seem to benefit the poor more than anyone. Basically we want to demand more of the upper class while maintaining the status quo of the middle class, and are willing to sacrifice the lower class to do it.

This is not a new problem in American politics, but it seems both sides are particularly brazen about this goal with the fiscal cliff. I’ve been a bit shocked by how many of my fellow Christians seem more or less okay with this. I mean, I think everyone should be outraged (if not particularly surprised), and I get that wanting to alter government’s role in helping the poor isn’t the same thing as saying “just ignore the least of these, their needs don’t matter. But the way we talk about the fiscal cliff as if preserving the best results for the middle class strikes me as distinctly un-Christian. And distinctly immoral, but that’s a different conversation.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 21st, 2012 05:47 am (UTC)
TBH, I believe most Dems (I know I do) feel that the effort to "protect the middle class" is an effort not to talk about how the measures they want to keep will also benefit the poor. Social Security, health reform, and so on are meant to help the least of us as well as those of us in the middle. But if they talk about that part of it, it will alienate the Republicans and jeopardize getting anything at all done.

Because the sad fact is that we are always going to have to settle for less than is needed to help *everyone* (including the poor) because for our ponderous two-party system to get anything done, there has to be compromise. And as Joss Whedon pointed out in his sneaky little election ad, the Republicans *fear* the poor. (Of course, the solution to having to be afraid of the poor is to help them NOT be poor anymore by giving them the opportunities they need to thrive. And the other elephant in the room is that most middle class people these days are only one missed paycheck from slipping right into the "poor". I know, because we have very nearly been over that particular cliff at least twice in the last three years.)

Compromise is necessary, but it is not exactly pretty. It would be nice if we had enough viable third, fourth, fifth and so on parties to make polarization less difficult to overcome.

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )



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