Touring one of the few places in America where government investment had given American manufacturing a leg up in international competition, President Barack Obama Thursday urged constituents to let lawmakers know they were frustrated with Washington gridlock in a moribund economy.
"The last thing we need is Congress spending more time arguing in D.C.," Obama told a cheering crowd at Johnson Controls, Inc., in Holland, MI, where the company manufactured advanced batteries. "What I figure is they need to spend more time out here listening to you and hearing how fed up you are!"
Some lawmakers had already heard exactly how fed up the electorate was at a series of raucous town hall gatherings and street corner protests.
On Monday, Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) faced an angry crowd in Lincoln that demanded he raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans to address the nation's budget deficit.
"Big corporations and the rich have to pay their fair share," said Jennifer Wendelin, one of the more civil constituents, who actually waited for her turn to speak. "If we have to bite the bullet, they do, too. We can't be forced to shoulder the entire burden."
Johanns, who specifically wanted to force Wendelin and ordinary Americans to shoulder the entire burden, continued to oppose ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
"The wealthy just horde the cash!" someone shouted.
Johanns allowed, "there are things you could do with tax reform," although, being a Republican, he probably meant there should be even more tax cuts, tax breaks, and tax subsidies for the rich. Johanns remained eager to gut Medicare and Social Security, and hand all the money from those programs to his wealthy cronies and patrons. "That's the most unpopular message I could deliver," he admitted, remaining intransigent nonetheless.
In Michigan, Obama told the crowd, "Tell Congress to get past their differences and send me a road construction bill so that companies can put tens of thousands of people to work building our roads, our bridges, our seaports!"
America needed $2 trillion in infrastructure repairs, a recent study revealed. With millions of unemployed and trillions in infrastructure repairs going begging, "it doesn't take a genius to put the two together," New York University economist Nouriel Roubini told Charlie Rose.
Unfortunately, not only was America not governed by geniuses, it was in fact governed by brain-dead greed zombies. Instead of increasing spending to stimulate the economy, politicians were fixated on slashing spending to depress the economy. The greed zombies aimlessly roamed country clubs and golf courses across the land, moaning, "Tax cuts for the rich...tax cuts for the rich...tax cuts for the rich..."
Protesters gathered outside the Dublin, OH golf course House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was roaming to demand action on jobs. "What do we want? Jobs! When do we want them? Now!" came the call-and-response.
Boehner declined to meet with the crowd.
Protester Sheri Dever, an unemployed MBA, had come down from Dayton. "I hope to explain to him...what it's like," she told ABC news. "Stop the bickering, get the jobs back to Ohio, not overseas, but bring them back here. We are dying out here."
Tax policies that over-emphasized profits encouraged downsizing, mergers, off-shoring and outsourcing to fatten the bottom line at the expense of jobs and investment.
Tea Party zealot Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), expecting the fawning accolades of sycophants enamoured with his unconscionable government hostage-taking and economy-busting plutocrat placating, was jolted by a seething crowd in Wauconda, IL.
Walsh, in full Tea Party mania, was blasting entitlements, and warming up to the GOP theme of dismantling Medicare and Medicaid so his rich cronies could run off their funding. "This country, for years, has put off the discussion, how are we going to pay for that? Let's have the discussion!"
"Let's tax the rich!" shouted a constituent. The crowd applauded. Discussion over.
Taxing the rich was understandably a recurring theme at town hall gatherings, as recent polls have revealed 66% of Americans wanted to raise taxes on the rich to address any deficit reduction, and 72% wanted to tax those making a quarter mil or more a year to maintain Medicare and Social Security funding.
Self-proclaimed war hero Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) didn't receive a hero's welcome at a Tucson town hall, where a jeering crowd repeatedly shouted him down.
McCain was booed and taunted as he tried to justify cutting the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%. "Sir, you've got to let me finish, and then I'll let you talk, OK?" McCain struggled, forgetting he was the public servant and not a medieval lord addressing his peasants. Cat-calls cascaded through the hall. "Let's cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%..." McCain started again, as the crowd shouted in anger. McCain stumbled on, trying to talk about closing loopholes.
The crowd was fed up with multi-national corporations like General Electric posting $14 billion in profits without paying any corporate income tax. GE took advantage of a loophole shielding overseas profits. It was not immediately known whether this was a loophole McCain favored closing, as his interrogation session at the Tucson-Hanoi Hilton descended into more shouting.
GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was also sick of people picking on the multinationals, and told fair goers in Iowa that "corporations are people, my friend!"
"I'm not going to raise taxes!" Romney insisted while the jeering crowd chanted, "Wall Street greed!"
As America desperately needed a robust stimulus program to kick start the moribund engine of the world's economy, Republicans remained focused on slashing spending, and dismantling the entitlements that millions of Americans depended on and that pumped billions of dollars into the economy.
In certain small corners of the nation, some voters, at least, recognized that continuously coddling the wealthy hadn't created jobs, or improved conditions, or strengthened the nation despite thirty years of GOP greed zombies moaning it would.
And, in some certain tiny, tiny corners of the zombie-infested Republican nether world, minuscule hairline cracks might have been appearing.
"I did sign that pledge when I was first running (in 2004)," Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) told his town hall gathering how he'd once knelt before Grover Norquist and proclaimed himself Norquist's liege man. "I informed the organization I don't consider (the pledge) binding. I don't care to be associated with it."
"We have a broken tax code that is skewed to the wealthy and corporations (that) know how to move capital around," he said.
Dickinson wrote, "Hope is that little thing with feathers..."