A recurring theme in the novels of Charles Dickens is referred to by economists as "The Victorian Compromise." Summarily, it promotes the idea that if the deserving poor adhere to the Protestant Ethic -- work, save, and deny the flesh -- a rich person passing by will take notice of their good behavior and reward them with a smile, a job, or a Christmas goose. Think David Copperfield or A Christmas Carol and you've got it in one.
The creative power of the novelist allows for the shaping of powerful characters so that they will, say in the case of Scrooge, see the light and transform the world of Bob Cratchit into Christmas every day. Over the years we have grown to love this story and can see it every year without tiring of it.
It is such a good story that the Republican Party has adopted it as its sole platform for re-energizing our economy and taking over the White House in 2012. If you do your part cheerfully and gratefully -- work, save, and deny the flesh -- and let your betters deregulate and skate on taxes, they promise (sort of) to give you a smile, a job, or a Christmas goose.
The problem with the story is that it is just a story and a profound and damned lie as well. All the data -- ALL the data -- ALL THE DATA -- from every reputable source concludes that a party unwilling to end corporate tax dodges during our fiscal crisis is a party willing to burn the house down so it can rule the ashes.
And will they rule the ashes? It's possible. The Obama administration has held no one accountable for the greed and lawlessness that has bleed employees, homeowners, and shareholders dry. It has caused no legal, moral, or financial consequence for the engineers of the mess. Instead, it has appointed them to high places and offered trillions of dollars in spending cuts for a few hundred million in revenue increases.
If "the business of America is business," then Calvin Coolidge might as well be president. In the mean time, work a little harder, save a little more, and keep your pants on.