A journalist friend who spends way more time on politics than I do suggests that if the Democrats cave and include a capital gains tax, it will probably pass--but puts the odds of the Democrats caving at slim to none, since they can now blame any resulting crash on the Republicans.
I didn't think it was possible to be more disgusted with politicians than I usually am, but I find it impossible to express the seething contempt that I feel at this kind of opportunism. I don't mind when they screw with the normal operation of the economy for venal personal gain. But risking a recession in order to get a cut in the capital gains tax? Letting it tank because you can always blame it on the Republicans?
The Democratic politicians betrayed their constituents with their bought-and-paid-for complicity, but the Republicans actually obeyed their constituents. They removed regulation safeguards and lowered taxes for the rich. They let a shadow banking system grow up that made a relatively few people incredibly rich. Greenspan, Paulson, Bernanke--all helped the White House let Wall Street run wild and free. And "libertarian" Megan McArdle cheered them on, constantly applauding the end of regulation and supporting bad decisions that violated common sense. Naturally she hemmed and hawed, adding enough caveats and warnings, as well as lies and evasions, to cover her rear if she erred out of bad judgement or ignorance.
Megan, who believes that the more money you have the more moral you must be, despises teachers, food stamp recipients, the ill and handicapped, and many other people not fortunate enough to be born in relative affluence. Because she despises them she assumes the worst of them. Likewise, Megan despises liberals, for whatever inexplicable reason that cankers her soul. So anything liberals do must be immoral and despicable. If liberals don't vote for a bill that they feel will not solve the problem and will unfairly be financed by the taxpayer, well, Megan feels (not thinks, feels) that they are doing it out of spite. It is something she understands, after all.
Liberals also own stock, run companies, and of course have a stake in the well-being of their own country, where they are raising their children and where their ancestors were born and died. But out of personal spite and immorality, as well as practical job considerations, Megan writes a foolish and inaccurate post that indulges in spite while not adding anything to the public discourse.
However, Megan is also insulting Republicans, saying they'll tank the bargain to get a capital gains tax cut. Most Republicans voting against the bailout seem to be listening to their constituents, with an eye on coming elections. A few others are acting out of genuine ideological principle. Either way, they are doing what they think they should do. It doesn't necessarily follow that they just want lower taxes. No Republican will miss a chance to try to screw the Democratic Party over when an important bill comes up; they can't help it.
So by attacking both parties, Megan is trying to divert blame from the country's economic policies, many of which she enthusiastically supported. (More or less.) In other words, Megan sneers and insults and is filled with "seething contempt," but mostly she covers her own expensively upholstered ass.
spelling error corrected