Congress voted Wednesday to reaffirm “in God we trust” as the national motto, re-enshrining the slogan as okay for public buildings, schools and other government edifices. Before Wednesday, the official national motto was “in God we trust.” The House basically introduced a law expressing its support for the existing law about which saying we like, and then it spent the afternoon voting yes. Meanwhile, the Republican delegation has filibustered the President’s jobs bill. Regardless of how you feel about that proposed piece of legislation—or its constituent parts, which will rise from the dead and lurch toward the Senate floor for the rest of the year—it’s worth noting that Congress did not spend Wednesday debating alternate jobs plans. In the midst of our protracted economic convalescence, the United States Congress has decided to hold still and declare our trust in God.
Thus does the United States stand as a powerful symbol of doing nothing and hoping that everything turns out okay. Yesterday, President Obama’s $60 billion infrastructure package came before the Senate to be filibustered, too. Not one Republican broke ranks, which closed around objections to how roads, bridges, mass transit systems and a $10 billion infrastructure bank would be paid for: with a .7% surtax on incomes over $1 million a year. That decimal point is not a typo. Here I would like to note two things: one, there are only 47 Republicans in the Senate. They’re not just willing to vote down a jobs/infrastructure bill during a recession to save millionaires .7% of their plus-million incomes a year; they’re willing to employ the filibuster to do it. Two, Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of submitting a package that was “designed to fail” in the Senate because it contained the tax. You know, like the way Tina Turner planned to make Ike hit her by letting him drink.
Maybe Congress is especially sympathetic to millionaires because the net worth of sitting congressmen has increased 25% in the last two years. If you think that’s scary, check out this chart:
I don’t know about you, but my net worth has not increased 25% since 2009. Considering that this Congress is working hard to secure its place among the most friendly to rich people in our nation’s history, the news that 85% of them are millionaires does not inspire great confidence in our present government. It is, after all, the same government that recently decided that money is speech. Here’s a fun quiz: is the American political system A) a republican democracy or B) a corporatocracy? If you answered (A), describe what the Congress of a corporatorcracy would look like.
In times of great intransigence like these, we must turn to the old hands, the distinguished American statesmen who can roll up their sleeves and get things done. They’re trusting in God, too. The Washington Post described the progress of the congressional deficit-reduction supercommittee as “no movement” yesterday, largely due to inability to agree on revenue increases. First of all, the young woman in the background of that Washington Post picture is definitely not sleeping with Erskine Bowles. Second, the Republican counteroffer to Democratic members’ $3 trillion proposal “contained no tax increases. Instead, it offered to generate new revenue solely through economic growth and through the less-generous inflation index, which would push people into higher tax brackets faster.” Now that is some God-trusting shit, right there. The plan of half the supercommittee is to raise revenue by watching the economy grow, and the other half plans to keep submitting ideas that have already been rejected. I propose a bill that would change the national motto to “Tick tock, assholes.”
The motto of Texas will continue to be “and you don’t have any horns.” By now you have surely heard about Rick Perry’s disastrously successful attempt to loosen up in New Hampshire, which has resulted in maybe the second-best CNN headline ever. The best one remains “Woman beheaded in supermarket attack was ‘full of life,'” but they took it down. Rick Perry’s extremely colloquial speech to the Cornerstone Action annual dinner, on the other hand, will live forever. It was a veritable episode, and we all know that the best thing about the internet is how readily it supplies us with old episodes. In fact, let’s watch it again right now:
“You know who people love?” Rick Perry said on his campaign bus. “Dane Cook.” The bus was empty. Rick Perry watched the seats resolve themselves from darkness, the steering wheel a silhouette against the night sky. Somewhere in the distance, a dog barked.