Sunday, May 15, 2011

Peacocks Preening

The bird moved forward a little. Then it turned its head to the side and braced itself. It kept its bright, wild eye right on us. Its tail was raised, and it was like a big fan folding in and out. There was every color in the rainbow shining from that tail....The bird made this strange wailing sound once more. 'May-awe, may-awe!' it went. If it'd been something I was hearing late at night and for the first time, I'd have thought it was somebody dying, or else something wild and dangerous. --- Raymond Carver, Feathers

It has been that kind of "wild and dangerous" week in Washington, the showing of the feathers -- May-awe, may-awe! -- the Democrats crucifying the oil industry in Congressional Hearings, with the irony of Jay Rockefeller, a great-grandson of Standard Oil Company's John D. Rockefeller, grilling oil executives over tax breaks, even though the "mere" few billion yearly in such breaks wouldn't even move the needle on the national debt. And, of the $4 dollars being paid at the pump, those tax breaks are negligible. Not that I understand their need for those tax breaks: let the politicians battle that one out. But what I do understand is grandstanding when I see it. May-awe, may-awe!

What our Congressional leaders should be addressing is the need for a national energy policy, but we've been talking, talking, about that ever since the gas lines of the early 1970's. We have the technology but not the will to do what is necessary and every administration has kicked that can down the road.

It shows the dysfunctional nature of our government and we are paying for it, literally, in our national debt, at the pump, and at the supermarket, etc. Senator Rockefeller, when you made your political accusation to the oil executives, " I think you're out of touch, deeply profoundly out of touch," you should have been addressing Congress instead.

Speaking about being out of touch, we also had the preening of the Republicans, best represented by House Speaker John Boehner's remarks at the New York Economic club: "It's true that allowing America to default would be irresponsible...but it would be more irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling without simultaneously taking dramatic steps to reduce spending and reform the budget process." May-awe, may-awe! As Congress would like to raise the debt limit by $2 trillion, that means $2 trillion in cuts which sounds idyllic, just like ending oil tax incentives. But we are supposed to hit the debt ceiling within days or weeks. Can one imagine Congress being capable of engineering $2 trillion in cuts in such a short time? Impossible. So there it is, an implied ultimatum to the President: no tax increases and show me the $2 trillion or we don't care whether there is a default by the US on its debt. Catastrophic for our country, but that's the Rambo image our "leaders" like to project, no matter what the consequences to our economy and jobs. May-awe, may-awe!