At the end of the day, Washington politicians kicked the can down the road instead of over the fiscal cliff, thereby doubling down on a bucket list of absurdities.
Several of those terms were included in the annual word/term banishment conducted by Lake Superior State University and announced on Jan. 1. “At the end of the day” was supposed to have disappeared years ago, but it seems to have a half-life usually associated with Twinkies.
I like “bucket list.” It has meaning that the other overused terms don’t offer. Doubling down has been turned into a political jab to signify someone’s level of intensity or audacity about something. The first time I heard it, I thought it was pretty cool and meaningful. The ten thousandth time I heard it, mostly in the past three days, it triggered my gag reflex.
“Job Creators,” “Superfood,” “Guru” and “Passion/Passionate” were also on the banishment list. I hadn’t been aware that “Superfood” or “Passion/Passionate” had been overused to the point of saturation. “Job Creators” certainly got far more coverage than “they” deserved during the presidential campaign, especially considering no one really knows who or what “they” are — or even whether or not “they” exist as an identifiable entity. Businesses have always hired and fired employees, and if they perceive productivity and profitability will improve with one or the other decision, they will take it.
One of the funnier things I heard this week, after the House voted to accept the so-called Fiscal Cliff compromise, was that the president had broken a promise. This from a couple of conservative heavy hitters. He’s such a foreflusher (see also four-flusher) that he welched on his promise to limit tax hikes to those whose income was more than $250,000. Instead he “doubled down” by raising the bar to $450,000. They seemed to be mad at him for breaking a promise. I could understand if it had been a couple of our more liberal representatives. Go figure.
Every politico who got face time on the networks and cable channels over the past several days said we need to reform the U.S. Tax Code so we wouldn’t have to go through these agonizing negotiations all the time. The very people who are responsible for the tax code, have always been responsible for the tax code, will apparently always be responsible for the tax code are calling for reform of the tax code — as if it should suddenly materialize out of thin air — rather than as a result of careful, thoughtful efforts by these very people. Anyone wanna bet there won’t be a tax code reform any time soon?
Two sections of the bill now known officially as H.R. 8 extend increased benefits and excise tax payments to producers of rum in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It’s actually more complicated than that of course, but that’s the gist of the two elements. I wonder if those were the pieces of the legislation that caused so much heartburn between our nation’s leaders and made the agreement virtually impossible to get for the past year-and-a-half.
The Superstorm Sandy relief debacle highlighted the Grinchier side of some members of the conservative wing and prompted N.J. Gov. Chris Christie to opine that it’s no wonder “the American people hate Congress.”
I can understand someone with a strong belief in and commitment to watch-dogging government spending, but it’s pretty tough to imagine being the guy who says publicly that he wouldn’t vote for disaster relief because it’s too expensive. Disaster relief is when big government is supposed to act big. That’s what I expect every time I pay my taxes. And when a giant storm of wildfires or a monster earthquake does to us what Sandy did to New York and New Jersey, I hope those east coast guys won’t do what some of our own representatives are doing to them.
Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday.