To avoid the local media daily gossips about sex, crime, rape and blood stories (by the way this can be the best way to make money if you want to start a media business one day in the US, preferably in Illinois or Chicago), I have decided to put some time aside to write you this weekly letter.
Please kindly note that I still stay with the family at the same postal address. And the local postman is a friend of ours. This precision is meant to make assurance double sure, in case you doubt that your response returns with the mention – undelivered!
Knowing that the outside air temperature is freezing in DC, I pray this letter brings warmth and comfort to you. Uncle, these days people here are talking a lot about you, not so much in good terms as they used to.
In their usual Kreol dialect (here they say it’s a language and in fact it recently has achieved legitimate recognition and status), and thinking that I don’t understand a word of what they say, they try to depict you in the most unfriendly manner.
The bad talks about you here are related, from what I gather, to your last political stand regarding the notoriously famous Bush Tax Cuts (BTC). In Kreol, they use the offending word “tire caleçon” to describe your stand. And when I hear it live and direct, this hurts me Uncle. They say that during the campaign, you ferociously attacked the BTC, only to learn now that you have capitulated to the Rs political blackmailing. Just because elected Ds are in reduced numbers on Capitol Hill after the mid-term poll.
Uncle, for Heaven’s sake, forget those who rehearse the “tire caleçon” side of the story. Semi intellectuals or the intellectually limited look at it differently. For them it’s about leadership and choices. The thing about economy and politics though is that one would never know which way a strategy or a policy would settle until we take notice of its final consequences. So only time can tell of its success or failure. For example, your presidential campaign confirms the wisdom of your strategy. It yielded success. Or remember our local NRPT.
In the case of the BTC, we are told that within a decade from now, the richest Americans, an average 2% of the population (meaning multiples and multiples of the 14 families’ syndromes of the 70s here) would save nearly 4 trillion USD under the item tax bonanza. And in this hour of huge budget deficits, cost cuttings and expenditure and revenue side of the Treasury, this means the US Public Funds would lose, under item revenue, 4 trillion in form of forgone taxes. The writing is on the wall. Main Street, as usual, will be asked to pay for it. By the way, who saved Wall Street from near collapse?
I know you hate this fiscal injustice George initiated in 2001 to reward Wall Street, another word for R’s top financiers. But to avoid the middle class paying more taxes starting 1 January 2011 and to get some of your policy decisions for the needy going, you opted for a lesser evil, which is extending the BTC for two more years.
But here in Paradise, some (mostly “militant coaltar”) would have wished you stand to your convictions and send the Rs and BTC to hell, in other word meaning going for an open war with the Rs.
Under option retained, they argue, you run the risk of actually offending your political “dépôt fixe” as they call it here, and may be losing their support in the long term. In 2012, if the Ds win the White House and both Houses, there would be reasons to salute your wisdom. In case of failure, the Ds would regret you surrendered to the Rs on the crucial issue of BTC, and you will earn this new trademark – political cowardship.
In Mauritius too, we have parties and politicians. Under the local BTC (Bérenger Tax Cuts, as they jokingly say), a handful of local billionaires also had their share of tax bonanza, something near 8 billion rupees, in the notoriously famous Illovo deal. Our local Rs lost power not because of this, but partly because of it in July 2005.
In both the US and Mauritius, voters tend to think that elected governments work for them and the country. Not always, as we have seen. The rich always have their way. The poor have no say.
But dear Uncle, in your case, the US voters have themselves to blame. They have not listened to the words of wisdom, and befitted by emotions and collective amnesia, they lost their self-control and reasoning power.
After the Reagan era of all-out deregulation and globalisation process, after the BTC of 2001, after the financial crisis and an economic meltdown, and after the Rs were found guilty on all counts, still this November fall US voters deemed it good to put them back in the driving seat in the middle of this socio-economic downturn. The first symbolic political bargain of the Rs was to extend the BTC.
Do you know how the “militant coaltar” would describe this situation provoked by the behaviour of US voters here? Simple, dear Uncle – sap dan poêlon tombe dan difé!
Lastly and before I forget. Dad and Mum will be flying to an unknown island next to Diego Garcia for holidays this Christmas and they insist you join them there. They also insist you bring on the family and Bo also.
* Published in print edition on 10 December 2010