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Orcs v. Goblins: Crazed Republicans Turn on Each Other in Ugly Fiscal Cliff Battle

The little people look on as evil threatens the land.

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Fear gripped Middle Earth. The little people looked nervously toward the horizon, wondering if their few remaining possessions would be snatched away by marauding bands of goblins and orcs. For years the simple, honest folk had suffered as the twin forces of greed and hatred darkened the land. But this time, maybe there was hope; maybe the goblins and the orcs would turn their fury upon each other as they battled on the edge of a cliff over which both might fall….

And so things appear as Americans watch the fiscal cliff deadline draw near. There’s just a week to go for lawmakers to make a deal to avert automatic tax increases and spending cuts. Last week, negotiations broke down as Speaker Boehner failed to get enough votes to pass a bill that would have required the wealthy to pay a minuscule increase in taxes at a time when income inequality is crippling the nation’s future. With the House gridlocked, attention turns to the Senate, where some Republicans appear to be in favor of Obama’s call for a partial deal that insulates most Americans from the tax increases but defers a resolution on spending. A deal may yet pass, but it’s getting very ugly in the GOP.

Goblins v. Orcs

The Republican Party, particularly in the House of Representatives, is so blinded by greed and stupidity that factions are turning on each other.

One group, let’s call them the goblins, is just plain greedy, but not completely crazy. These are the folks who favored Mitt Romney for president and simply want to continue shovelling money toward the one percent as they have been doing very successfully for the past three decades. They are willing to make a deal because they know that any deal, particularly one that will shred the social safety net with cuts like those Obama has proposed to make to Social Security (the widely condemned chained CPI adjustment), will work out very nicely to their advantage. They are thrilled that instead of focusing on the jobs crisis, the country has been railroaded into premature deficit-reduction deals that serve as a cover for conservative wealth redistribution schemes. They also know that many Americans are catching on to their scam, and so they tend to rely on subterfuge and the appearance of moderation or “centrism” to get what they want, which is, in essence, more of your money.

President Obama is comfortable with goblins, and is often secretly thought to be one of them, as Bruce Barlett recently explained in the Fiscal Times. They like him okay, too.

Then there are the orcs. These are the lunatics who favored your Santorums, Gingrichs, Bachmanns, Herman Cains and so on -- the assorted nuts in the GOP who are willing to fight ideological warfare with the battle cry “no taxes” and the battering rams of bad math and Ayn Rand-style social theory to send the land into total chaos. It's not enough for them to cut Social Security at a time when the retirement of hard-working Americans has not been so vulnerable since before the Great Depression. These monstrous right-wingers would rather see every American’s taxes rise than increase taxes on a single millionaire by a nickel. The orcs have got the upper hand in the House and it is they who have blocked a deal on the fiscal cliff. They were last seen dancing around a bonfire made from Econ 101 textbooks and an effigy of John Boehner.

The Money Wizards

Part of the problem is that the goblins and the orcs are acting on behalf of different money wizards.