The Way We Live Now: stocking up on outrage. You can't blow all your outrage at once during this long and protracted class war. You have to parcel it out. Like budgeting for food, or cable, or your upcoming funeral.

Big banks are moving up their bonuses this year, so potential tax increases don't take a bite out of the pay of their biggest earners. At the same time, a bill that offers military service members a pay increase of less than 2%, along with "recruiting and enlistment bonuses; an extension of Tricare coverage for dependents of troops until age 26; increases in hostile fire and imminent danger pay; and aid to schools with high enrollment of children from military families," is being held up in Congress by Republican opposition to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

In other words, the rich are planning feverishly to deprive the US government of tax revenue, and the party of the rich is working to deprive largely poor people who risk their lives in wars started by said party of a minuscule raise to their already minuscule pay. And the benefit of all this is discrimination against gays.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi economy is facing a "disaster," even college grads are having a relatively hard time finding jobs, and Americans, all of whom own iPhones, are so broke that we're reverting to television rabbit ears, a technology that was outmoded the very instant that it was invented.

To the extent that anybody listened to what Ben Bernanke had to say, they didn't like it.

So here we are, our 2008 Sea of Hope transformed into a roiling storm of rudderless ships, me-first demagoguery, and blatant, even proud displays of contempt for those less fortunate than ourselves. That's what the people want. And it's what you'll get. But Santa Claus, my friends, is always listening.

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