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The Brutality of the Rich and the Morality of the President

Jonathan Edwards, the forebearer of the deficit scolds

Our elites are beating people up, which seems unfair, since they have all the money and power. The hyper-rich elites are very unhappy because they wanted us to vote for one of them for president. Now that their candidate lost, they getting even by firing people right and left, sadly, prayerfully, it’s just business, folks, we have to do what’s best for our money, which means dumping a bunch of employees onto unemployment lines. And the political elites are paying off their supporters by beating older people, retirees and sick people and people who are likely to become older, retired or sick.

It’s easy to understand the feelings of the rich. They wanted something, they paid for it, and they didn’t get it. They are rich, dammit, and they are entitled to run the world. Their wealth tells you that they are better than you, smarter, prettier, better dressed, and much more entitled. They aren’t just citizens, they are hyper-citizens. When they tell you to show up at a rally for their candidate, they want you there and in appropriate costume. When they tell you to make political donations to their candidate, they expect the checks to go out that very day. When they gather you together to tell you how to vote, they expect you to rush to the polls and pull the lever.

These guys, like the people in this list, are big on brutality, heavy on the sarcasm and the overt loathing for those they despise, which is pretty much everyone.

Old money and financiers are much more graceful. Their politicians get elected, and are thrilled to join the beatings. Republicans and Democrats alike are slavering at the opportunity to destroy Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, led by the kinder, gentler Barack Obama.

Obama is acting at the urging of old money, the kind that likes to stay hidden behind a wall of sincerity created by public relations flacks. I’m talking about Peter G. Peterson, of course, and the other members of the oligarchy he quietly represents. They have insinuated that Social Security and Medicare are the causes of the budget deficit, and that “we” can’t afford to keep our promises to the elderly, or make similar promises to our children and grandchildren. That word “we” hides a lot. Peterson means the Papal We: “I, Peter Peterson, and my children and my rich friends, refuse pay taxes to keep the promises made to the elderly, or to make the same promises to your children and grandchildren.”

Obama and way too many Democrats and all the Republicans join that sentiment. They want to make the hard choices to screw you and your parents and kids and grandchildren. They really don’t want to tax the Peter Petersons, the Mitt Romneys, the Papa John Schnatter’s of the world. If we have to tax them, then we should gift them something in exchange for their taxes, something they want, like a political victory they lust after for no reason other than sheer meanness, served up by the usurpers who defeated their candidates, betraying their supporters in the most hideous way imaginable. Obama and the Democrats, justified by faux groups like the Third Way, will happily oblige.

But they can’t do it the way the thugs do it, brutally and directly. They have to come up with some other explanation. So they talk about “shared sacrifice”, as in “we have a fiscal problem, and we all have to share in the sacrifice to fix it.”

This is not the language of debt. If we were talking about debt, we would start by asking how the debt was incurred. We would observe that the hyper-rich insisted on tax cuts and then loaned their tax savings to the government to make up for the lost revenue. We would observe that the debt is held by the same hyper-rich bastards who are whispering in Obama’s ear.

If we were using the language of debt, we would respond by imposing a tax on the wealth of the hyper-rich, and raising the estate tax, and let them pay those taxes with Treasury obligations. That way, only the rich and their children would be sacrificing. And the morality is clear: they didn’t pay a fair share of taxes, they just loaned the money, so now they pay the tax and cancel the debt.

No, Obama makes a moral demand on all of us: we are all sinners in the hands of the angry God of Debt. As the American Preacher Jonathan Edwards might have put it:

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked. His wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the fire. He is of purer eyes than to bear you in his sight; you are ten thousand times as abominable in his eyes as the most hateful, venomous serpent is in ours.

You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince, and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment.

The solution is obvious: you must offer yourself and all that is yours in painful sacrifice.

It’s an immoral demand. Obama is saying that innocent people are morally obligated to pay for the crimes and misdemeanors of the hyper-rich. But we didn’t cause this horrifying financial disaster, we didn’t crash the economy, we don’t fire people spitefully. We did not create this pile of debt. We owe no sacrifice to benefit the loathsome hyper-rich thugs who committed those crimes against us and our families.

It is horrifying to see Obama preach morality to the hard-working people of the United States while allowing the people who murdered the economy to go free.

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