The hot new thing in sequestration-based sentimental gestures is for lawmakers and government officials to give away part of their salary, to show "solidarity" with all the people in America who are getting fired, getting furloughed, losing their rental subsidies, or losing their tuition assistance. President Barack Obama is doing it, by parting with 5 percent of his salary, for the time being.
So, is this "moving the needle" and helping to bring both sides "back to the table"? I'll let the Republican National Committee answer that question for me:
— RNC (@GOP) April 5, 2013
I tell you, what a shock.
Look, this salary-reduction strategy is just a stupid idea, all around. And it would be a stupid idea if Obama just gave back his entire salary. Which, by the way, he could do. It's not like he needs the money. In fact, the chances that the United States of America will ever elect a president who authentically needs a salary of any kind is approximately "the null set" for the foreseeable future.
And as Alex Pareene points out, the decision to part with a small portion of a salary really doesn't make any sense from a political standpoint: "If you are trying to convince Republicans to reverse savage government spending cuts that they have all decided that they are fine with, and you are also someone Republicans hate, cutting your own salary seems like an odd negotiating strategy," Pareene writes.
Nevertheless, we know the impetus for this salary-giveback comes from being shouted at for months and months and months by Beltway Centrist Hacks, who honestly and authentically believe that Obama needs to make more magical gestures to secure a "Grand Bargain."
These pundits want the GOP to give on revenues, and they're even willing to admit that Republicans are being intransigent, but they believe that this is Obama's problem to solve, and that he must solve it with a series of powerful displays of sentimental force. Obama is trying to bridge the gap by offering up substantial cuts to earned benefit programs that would impoverish elderly Americans. Impoverishing elderly Americans is also something that the Centrist Hack set desires, rather badly, but they know that this is a deal Obama would rather not have to make. And that's a huge problem for them -- Obama should want to bargain away Medicare and Social Security, with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. And until he does that, he is not showing "leadership."
Naturally, I do not expect even this group of pundit nimrods to look with favor upon Obama's slight gesture of returning 5 percent of his salary. We can all agree that it is woefully insufficient as a means to move legislation of any kind. But it's better in one sense than anything else the "Leadership Surrealists" have come up with: actual money ends up in the U.S. Treasury.
Looks like we are back to having a series of really awesome steak dinners to secure a "Grand Bargain" that will likely screw most Americans in the short pants, I guess!
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