In the aftermath of the fiscal-cliff deal, Republicans in Congress issued a heartfelt apology to the top 1.5 per cent richest people in America, offering "messages of profound condolence" for allowing their taxes to increase slightly.
"Our hearts go out to them," said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), still teary-eyed after hanging up the phone with a multimillionaire in Orange County, California. "We came to Washington to do the work of 1.5 per cent of the American people, and we didn't get it done."
The House Speaker said that he had spoken to several members of the top 1.5 per cent who were "understandably despondent" over seeing their taxes rise marginally as a result of the deal: "Some of them were so upset they even considered moving to Canada, until they found out the taxes were higher there."
Mr. Boehner said that he tried to offer the wealthy consolation by reminding them that because of an increase in payroll taxes, millions of middle-class and working-class Americans would be suffering more than they would: "That usually put them in a better mood."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) assailed the fiscal-cliff legislation today, calling it "a classic example of putting 98.5 per cent of the American people ahead of the rest of the country."
Offering words of hope to the top 1.5 per cent, Mr. Cantor said, "In a few months we'll have the next debate about the debt ceiling. As God is my witness, we will try to do a better job of bringing this nation to the brink of Armageddon."
But to billionaires such as Harland Dorrinson, a longtime super-donor to the G.O.P., such assurances ring hollow: "If the fiscal-cliff deal is the kind of performance we can expect from Republican politicians, what's the point of owning them?"