I said in a reply to Jim yesterday that if anything like the Republican plan passed it would just prove beyond any doubt that Washington no longer represents the interests of the American people. I was wrong, having been drawn into the news cycle and framing of the debate in the beltway. As Joshua Holland eloquently reminds us in his Alternet essay from the 25th, that ship has long sailed. Washington doesn’t make any pretense of representing the American people. Both parties misrepresent their “mandate,” the Republicans making up a mandate out of whole cloth (as though any voters chose them in 2010 because they wanted huge cuts in social programs), and the Democrats completely misreading the results of the election, as, sadly, is their wont.
As I knew, and Holland reminded me, the main things the American people want are to keep social security and medicare and to raise taxes on the wealthy (essentially, get rid of the Bush tax cuts, which alone would not completely solve the budget problem, but would so reduce the immediate stress on the system that it wouldn’t be the issue it now is), and that neither of those things can even be discussed in the beltway as something that is possible.
I don’t think Americans are upset because they want to see compromise and bipartisanship that is lacking in Washington. We are upset because we see no one in Washington, Republicans, Democrats, the president, no one, representing our interests or fighting for us. A bipartisan compromise (you know, a Washington that works) that guts social security and moves even more of our nation’s wealth to the top one percent that already has 90 percent of our wealth will not make the American people rejoice at how wonderful compromise and bipartisanship is. No, we want someone who will fight for what every poll shows the American people really voted for and really want, and need.