As evidenced by “Grimm,” “Once Upon a Time,” and GOP talking points on the economy, fantasy is back on TV in a big way! And the lines are blurring like Rick Perry’s vision at a New Hampshire fundraising dinner: “Once Upon A Time” features a beautiful, evil queen vexed by her children, like Sarah Palin; while “Grimm” has a wolf who struggles to repress his true self (Marcus Bachmann), and a crusader for justice who’s the only one capable of seeing evil, which must be how Michael Moore sometimes feels.
Both shows are great fun if you miss the fairy tales you grew up with even as you realized that not all princes are charming and snow is sometimes yellow. But being Republican means never having to let go of your fantasies in the face of reality. They still believe in fairy tale tropes like:
MAGIC BEANS: In their heroic attempt to balance the budget, conservatives are trying to convince desperate Americans to trade everything they have—Social Security, health care, improved infrastructure, affordable education, food, water and kittens—in exchange for continued tax cuts for the wealthy that will make the economy grow like a mighty beanstalk! You can wish upon stars, fairy godmothers, talking fish, or a unicorn’s magic testicles, but this isn’t and never has been true. Despite record debt and a top tax rate of 91%, America’s post-World War II economy boomed for decades; by the 1960s, under a top rate of 70%, we enjoyed the longest uninterrupted economic expansion in our history. More recently, President Clinton raised taxes and the economy surged along with his libido, while a decade later President Bush lowered taxes—twice—and our economy experienced the weakest expansion in a century. In short, hang on to your cow; those beans will just give you gas.
GIANT KILLERS: These are the shining knights appointed to protect the kingdom from the lumbering scourge of giant unemployment—“Job Creators,” if we can only shield them in turn from the dark curses of taxes, regulations, unions, pensions, minimum wages, health insurance, environmental protection and other evil spells. Already benefiting from lower costs, frozen wages, and historically low taxes, U.S. business productivity, growth, and profits are all up. But instead of creating jobs or slaying giants, our most successful corporations continue to eliminate jobs, dodge taxes, and accept government stimulus while hoarding record sums of cash—citing “uncertainty” about the future, although the future seems as clear as “happily ever after” when it comes time to hand out bonuses and exorbitant CEO compensation.
ROYAL BALLS: Okay, this one is real! I’m referring of course to the giant testicles of our ruling plutocracy. King Midas learned a valuable lesson when everyone he loved turned to gold at his touch. If the Koch Brothers could enrich themselves by destroying ordinary people, they would. In fact they have, accumulating a worth of $50 billion dollars (an increase of 800% since 2004), partly by speculating on energy, which drove up the price of oil for everyone else. Huzzah! Collectively, rich conservatives spend hundreds of millions of dollars of their windfall profits to fund and elect conservative candidates to ensure the continuation of legislation that will further enrich them. The don’t-hate-me-because-I’m-rich agenda includes deregulation, low wages, decimating collective bargaining… and let’s not forget lower taxes, because when you make $7 billion dollars in a year, you just can’t afford a return to a pre-Bush tax cuts era where you’d have to pay an additional 4% to support the democracy that made it possible for you to live in a giant magic castle in the sky. Fairy tales are supposed to have happy endings.
So, has the clock struck midnight in America and you’re about to find yourself inside a rotten pumpkin with broken glass in your foot? Maybe not, but here’s a bad omen: when the curse in “Once Upon A Time” sends its fairy tale characters to “some place horrible,” it turns out to be here—America in 2011. On the plus side, it’s a place where bounty hunters are beautiful and kids love books… so maybe some dreams do come true.