Political philosopher Blanche Lincoln has produced a novel theory in support of her proposal to further reward the very rich. Lincoln, who dabbles in senatorship when not engrossed in her studies, boldly rebuts critics who say she's merely taking orders from the Walton family and others similarly well-situated. Hah, she replies; don't we know that the superrich are uninterested in acquiring more millions? “Those people don't care about this bill. They're in a whole different echelon.”
Too rich to be greedy, eh? It's surely comforting to believe there are such people around, and some of them here in Arkansas. But the record shows that the superrich are often very interested in getting richer. Even Waltons and Tysons retain their acquisitive edge, and some of their fellows go positively berserk in pursuit of greater wealth — Enron, AIG, Bernie Madoff. To name a few.
Senator Lincoln is not being entirely frank, or even partly so. It is only the very rich who care about her amendment to cut the estate tax. Less than one percent of Americans, only the very wealthiest, pay the tax at all, and they can easily afford it. No family farm, no mom-and-pop business, has ever had to close because of the estate tax. Lincoln's professed concern for such victims is false; she knows they don't exist. So does her co-sponsor, Jon Kyl of Arizona, and her Arkansas colleague, Mark Pryor, and all the other senators allied with them in support of Lincoln's amendment, Blue Dog Democrats and Yellow Dog Republicans, united to do Big Money's bidding, in hopes of getting some of that Big Money for their own political campaigns. They indulge their unhealthy appetites while their country is in economic crisis. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has called the depredations of the Lincoln-Kyl gang “stunning” and “outrageous.” Stronger language is needed.
A president and a gentleman
Many joyous images emerged from President and Mrs. Obama's trip to Europe last week, none more gratifying than that of the American president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel walking together. The chancellor is smiling, at ease, clearly unafraid. We didn't always see her like this during meetings with former President Bush, who was given to sneak attacks on small chancellors as well as small countries. Who can forget the terror on Chancellor Merkel's face as the American president delivered an unsolicited “massage”? He's gone now, chancellor, back to Texas. He may be frightening the cows on his ranch, poor creatures, but America's allies have nothing to fear from him. Nor Americans, for that matter, and God knows we feared too.