Somewhere in the United States, right now, a billionaire is paying his taxes. This makes some people — not naming any names — very unhappy. In our nation, it is imperative that hedge fund managers, for example, pay roughly 15% on earnings via a handy loophole, whereas someone like, say a writer-girl, coughs up over 30%. That strikes some folks as just about right. Call it pursuit of happiness.
Other people’s happiness.
So we have some disagreement there. Elsewhere, others feel that taxing the daylights out of Americans who can’t afford to pay for gas to get to work sounds about right. And that, at one of the worst moments in financial history, forcing Americans to buy health insurance they don’t necessarily want or need so that the healthy insured can subsidize the less-healthy insured is a great idea.
Not saying that insuring everybody as a solid, pie-in-the-sky ideal is not commendable but, Obama, did you ever hear of bad timing? This is why everyone in the opposition thinks you’re batshit-crazy. Why don’t we entertain nirvana after mastering the merely tolerable?
What we are now seeing is the culmination of the white-knuckle deathmatch between the Obama Dream of Nirvana vs. the Boehner Welfare Plan for the Wealthy.
Both sides want to win so badly and are so determined to look like they mean business, they are willing to lay our country’s fattest golden calf down on the altar and begin sharpening knives before they’ll bend. (The golden calf being our nation’s creditworthiness — the one thing we can’t afford to lose right now.)
The fact this could even happen means our once-stellar reputation is already slipping. Credit-rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have put U.S. credit on review for a potential downgrade. The only way to avoid a catastrophe, says S&P, is to produce a sweeping, long-term deficit-reduction plan. Fat chance, seeing as neither Obama or Boehner (or their respective et alls) can stomach it.
The rich will not suffer higher taxes and the poor will not survive without the entitlements they have been allowed to believe will keep dropping like manna.
After last week’s humiliating rounds of hand-wringing and mud-slinging in Washington, the U.S. now will have to answer to a much higher power: the global investors who have for so many years invested in its Treasury bonds.
It’s not that the U.S. can’t pay its debts. It is that some of us just don’t feel like it.
Meanwhile, investors the world over, despite being extraordinarily patient thus far, will proceed in making their final judgments. And they certainly aren’t about to take cues from the slower-than-Methuselah ratings agencies before they act.
As a result, many are bracing for a bloodbath when the U.S. market opens today.
There is a reason why Wall Street is ravenously buying gold, which now has punched above $1,600 an ounce. It is because the U.S. dollar and the flimsy foundation upon which it sits are no longer seen as trustworthy.