Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Latte-sipping Beltway consensus

You know what would be really helpful, Howard Schultz?
Starbucks is getting into the debate over the looming “fiscal cliff.” CEO Howard Schultz has posted a letter online explaining that for the rest of the week, employees in the megachain’s Washington, D.C., stores will write “Come Together” on customers’ coffee cups.
1. Not confusing the Fiscal Slightly-Downward-Angling-Slope with a debt crisis:
In the spirit of the Holiday season and the Starbucks tradition of bringing people together, we have a unique opportunity to unite and take action on an incredibly important topic. As many of you know, our elected officials in Washington D.C. have been unable to come together and compromise to solve the tremendously important, time-sensitive issue to fix the national debt. You can learn more about this impending crisis at
2. Not propagating the false narrative that old people with an entitlement complex, rather than two off-balance-sheet wars, double-digit unemployment, and a medical cost system which Obamacare is only praying to bring under control, is driving our current unsustainable economic/fiscal course.

3. Prioritizing good policy over Beltway split-the-difference pseudo-moderation by having what your employees write on cups be good policy, like, say, protecting Social Security (which is not relevant to the Fiscal Slightly-Downward-Angling-Slope and does not contribute to the deficit in any way), instead of useless platitudes like "Come Together".

The problem here isn't that politicians are unwilling and unable to come together. The problem is that what the GOP is willing to offer (to the extent that we can tell any specifics of what the GOP is offering) is well across the Democrats' red line, and that the Democrats' red line is well past what their constituents -- hell, well across what the GOP's constituents -- want.

Look, Howard, let's everyone admit it: the Republican Party is bad for business. If we had a sane opposition party, a bipartisan plan investing in the country's infrastructure and getting Americans back to work would have sailed through both houses, financed by money borrowed at negative interest rates. Instead, you're trying to sell coffee to people who are struggling to make ends meet because it takes more than four months to find a job.

So if you're going to make a gesture, don't make one which pushes for what's worse for your employees -- and for yourself.

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