Obama’s tax compromise evokes Charles Dickens

Posted Dec. 07, 2010, at 6:01 p.m.

Tax reform was dead to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of its burial was signed by Olympia Snowe, Mitch McConnell, the “bipartisanship” undertaker, and alleged chief mourner. Obama signed it.

Obama knew it was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Obama was not sole executioner, he had help from Congress. Actually Obama was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, he solemnized it with a kickback to the wealthiest 2 percent of the country.

The mention of tax reform’s funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that tax reform was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.

Obama never painted out tax reform’s name on his shingle. He needed to be associated with it even if he never delivered it. Just as Richard Nixon was the only man who could open the door to China, a “change” candidate was the only one who could guarantee that things remained unchanged for the wealthy. Even as their greed caused more unemployed Americans to walk the streets than had ever done so in the past.

Obama delivered what John McCain could never have: total capitulation to the obscenely wealthy. No, Obama brought no change at all. And the ever-expanding ranks of the poor suffer because of it. The deficit will grow and greed runs amok. Obama succors those who destroyed our economy.

Obama was elected announcing that he would raise taxes on the wealthiest in an effort to reign in the deficit. All he and his democratically controlled Congress had to do was deliver on that promise.

But let’s face it, the congresspersons who pushed for these extended tax cuts — holding unemployment benefits hostage at Christmas time — are a cold lot. No wind that blew was bitterer than they, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty.

Congressional pawns refuse to acknowledge the insatiable nature of their backers even though blind men’s dogs would know them; and when they saw them coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, “No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!”

But none of this greed would be possible without Obama’s submission to drive the tax cuts home. Sadly, a bleeding heart is no substitute for a working heart, dark master, and those who insist on further bankrupting our futures have co-opted the man in charge.

We can only hope that Obama wrestles with the phantoms of those who came before him and actually repaired a broken country. Obama after all lives in the chambers once occupied by Franklin Roosevelt.

If only Monday night Obama — even though he had not given one thought to Roosevelt since he nailed the coffin closed on tax reform earlier that afternoon — had returned home, having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker, not a knocker, but Roosevelt’s face.

And we could hope that Roosevelt later appeared in Obama’s bed chamber having observed, “You don’t believe in me.” And Obama admitted that once he had, but did no longer. So the spirit raises a frightful cry, with such a dismal and appalling noise, that Obama holds tight to his chair, to save himself from falling in a swoon.

“Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?” asks the president.

And Roosevelt replied leaning down to take a length of chain that bound the president and was before invisible to him, “You wear the chain you are forged in life. You made it link by link, and yard by yard; you girded it of your own free will, and of your own free will you wear it.

“Oh! captive, bound, and double-ironed,” cries the phantom and with that, vanishes.

I thank Charles Dickens for the words I wove into this piece, but sadly, those other three ghosts aren’t coming to save Obama and our country from greed. We must. So call the White House and rattle Obama’s chain.

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