You're right. It's not amusing, it's hilarious
More gallows humor.
Or "humour", to the Canuck.
it's all about pandering to every group with its hands out
"Democracy can survive until the majority learns they can vote themselves a share of the treasury."
- the epitaph on the grave of Helenistic Democracy, dusted off by unreformed Monarchists ~230 years ago when we began our own jaunt down that road
For the past three generations, we have been handing out more and more "public" money to more and more private causes, based on sympathy, pity, , self-indulgence, imposed collective guilt, emotional extortion and, recently, not simply biting the hand that feeds you, but gorging on that hand. It can only end one way: default, regional fracture, foreign maneuvering, balkanization. That's the historic inevitability that awaits nations doing what we're doing.
"Those who fail to learn history shall be doomed to repeat it."
I would guess the same things holds true for those who refuse to acknowledge history rather than merely failing to learn it, as well as those who claim they are "too special" to be subject to historical patterns.
And apropos of nothing, and certainly not in reference to a popular political sentiment being tossed around less than a month before our celebrated fiscal cliff: French Prez Francois Hollande [socialist] announced several months ago that the top personal income tax rate - which was lowered during the reign of his predecessor [conservative], would be raised back to 75% from somewhere in the 40s [I recall]. Within days, thousands of wealthy French citizens had applied for foreign passports - the first necessary move before taking that form of Capital Flight known as "offshore investing" - and several dozen of the CEOs of the wealthiest French industries [including Peugot and Louis Vuitton] announced that they were going to seek extra-national headquarters for their industries. Louis Vuitton is going to Belgium.
Also apropos of nothing, 4, 5 years ago when Britian did the same thing to their "top earners" who didn't pay their "fair share", of the 16,000 British millionaires affected by the first year of that "eat the rich" tax, only 6,000 were left to suffer the second year of it. 63% moved their money and/or themselves out of reach. Within a year. UK tax collections decreased. By billions.
Apparently the Laffer Curve, which has been steadily laughed at by neo-Keynesian drips, is also hilarious in a gallows humor way.
the political class has drifted from that point
It may have started as a mere "drift". LBJ upped it to an Arrogant Stroll. We had the cocky Nixon Amble, the dispossessed Carter Shuffle, the carefree Reagan Skip-to-my-Lou, the elder Bush Trot, the ... no, Clinton had his feet shackled, against his wishes, and which his adherants to this day refuse to understand, but we more than made up for it by the panicked younger Bush Scamper, and we're in a full-fledged Obama Sprint today.
The finish line? whoever is left with the biggest IOU when the foreign creditors come to collect wins. All the dirt they can eat.
Yeah, we're haulin *** away from that noble sentiment.
It's one of the reasons that a weekly activity is to check Costa Rican, Mexican and Honduran real estate. The rich have always taken care of themselves when their government has become punitive and confiscatory, and those who understand what's happening have the sense to follow.
SIG: If you're going to create the drama, at least supply the popcorn.