A thought on the shutdown

As the government shutdown drags on and solutions are conspicuously absent, I wonder why the most obvious tactic has not been tried. Were I in Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s position I would make Trump and the Republicans an offer they could not refuse: repeal the disastrous tax cuts in exchange for border wall money. At face value it’s an easy sell: the tax cuts will add the necessary 5 billion dollars, making this proposal revenue neutral. This is especially relevant in a time of declining federal revenue and spiraling debt. From a more tactical standpoint, it pits the republican donors and elites agains the rank and file. Politicians will be forced to reconcile their contradictory ideologies about immigration, taxes, and security. In short, this proposal would force the party to eat itself.

But there has been nary a whisper about this on the hill. I find it difficult to believe that this thought has not crossed the mind of some dems. My more cynical mind tells me that the nearly two-year campaign for what appears to be a vulnerable presidential seat is too tempting for any of the democratic leadership to risk alienating wealthy voters and donors.  The long fight ahead will be costly, and even the most ethical candidate needs to play real politik along the way to the halls of power, but this travesty that is hurting far more people than the 800,000 who are not getting paid demands a resolution. At this point, I fear that the best we will get is a more victory. The tax cuts that will continue to drain funds from necessary public services and render new and innovative projects impossible will remain in place, in spite of a golden opportunity to put an end an ill-conceived, pernicious policy.

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Author: jupatch

Justin Patch is assistant professor of music at Vassar College, where he is also affiliated with Asian Studies, Media Studies, and American Studies. His work investigates the role of sound in social life and has appeared in Soundings, Journal of Sonic Studies, Ethnomusicology Review, The European Legacy, The Journal of Popular Music Studies, and others. Discordant Democracy: Noise, Affect, and Populism in the Presidential Campaign was published by Routledge in 2018.