I am an amateur magician, a member of the Academy of Magical Arts, the Magic Castle, since 1982. I love magic, the performance, the training, the connection to the audience and their suspension of disbelief. It’s an art form, and the best magicians are artists, actors, raconteurs, comedians, and some are even successful businessmen and women. You know the best magician in the business? Mitt Romney! He can make the entire middle class disappear.
Romney performs without a cape or a wand, but has a troop of friends, and the profound suspension of disbelief of the Tea Party, religious extremists, very rich people, and my next door neighbor, who is not among the top 1 percent of the richest people in America. I mean, even if he learns magic, he’ll never be a multi-millionaire, and Mitt will never invite him to perform at the White House. And yet, he will cheer and applaud as the middle class goes bye-bye. Go figure.
This week’s display of magical skullduggery sees Mitt trying to pass a 20 percent across the board tax cut without anyone noticing. In the business, it’s called misdirection. In reality, it actually boosts the income of the wealthiest taxpayers while reducing the income of the middle class (according to a nonpartisan report of the centrist Tax Policy Center). Ah, that Mitt; he’s a tricky one.
“Trickle-down” is another of Mitt’s classic illusions. They tried that trick in the 1920s and voila: the Great Depression.
It took another kind of magic, the New Deal, and a new magician, FDR, to create jobs, create much needed infrastructure (now in need of repair), new highways, Medicare, and other government programs to help lift the poor out of poverty and actually build the Middle Class in America. Old tricks, maybe, but they worked. Trickle-down only works in the Alps.
The Great Recession of the 2010s has made it harder for people to remain in the middle class. It may take a little magic to make the voters give a damn.