Julian Assange has been released from a British prison and is now giving interviews from the splendid estate where he is confined under what his lawyer describes as “mansion arrest.” He is, as he should be, unrepentant and feisty, pledging more document releases and legal battles. If only the Democrats in the White House and Congress had one tenth the backbone of a Julian Assange the poor in this country might stand a fighting chance.
Unfortunately, such strength is in short supply down in DC, where the Democrats capitulated late last night, passing Obama’s millionaire tax relief bill after token opposition from the so-called “liberal” caucus. Arguments have been made by the “less liberal” caucus that this bill was a necessity to ensure that unemployment insurance could be extended, but no matter how much lipstick you slather on that pig, it’s still a pig. This bill creates no jobs and, with its supposedly temporary payroll tax holiday, basically guarantees that the social security trust fund will become insolvent. Republicans are not stupid. Mean, arrogant, batshit crazy, yes, but stupid, no. They know that starving Social Security now will make it all that much easier to sell a gullible public on the idea that there is an urgent need for “reform”, which would likely take the form of privatized accounts with the certainty of Wall Street involvement.
Some Democrats recognize the danger. From the Times:
“Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, said he feared the one-year cut in the Social Security payroll tax, to 4.2 percent from 6.2 percent on income up to $106,800, would weaken Social Security because Republicans would insist on it being made permanent, and Democrats would relent. “We know that politically once you make that tax cut it will be impossible to restore it,” Mr. Nadler said.”
It’s interesting, and a little pathetic, that Nadler takes it for a given that the Democrats will roll over on the issue of restoring the tax, but he’s probably correct. Certainly there’s nothing in the recent actions of Congress or the Administration that would lead one to believe they’re spoiling for a fight. On anything.