Friday, November 16, 2012

Fiscal Cliff My Ass

This Cliff is more real

As people who are a lot smarter than I am have tried to point out in recent days, there is no steep “fiscal cliff” that we as a nation are about to go over unless some drastic action is taken in the next few weeks. This is made-up b*llsh*t designed by politicians who either want political cover for their own heinous plans (the Democrats) or want to hold everybody hostage until they get what they want (the Republicans).

The corporate “mainstream” media – which, as we all know by now, are worth about as much as a polluted swimming pool in Antarctica – are of course going along with the program, trying to instill fear into the hearts of Joe the Plumber and Jill the Soccer Mom by insisting the sky is falling and beating the drums for desperate measures in these oh-so-desperate times.  Meanwhile, Congress and the White House bicker for the television cameras about whether or not to slash anti-poverty programs, cut Social Security and Medicare, and extend the Bush tax cuts for the richest two percent, among other proposals.

In the last few days I've heard that the markets are unstable in anticipation of the looming crisis, President Obama is playing politics with the economy, the only way we’ll see an increase in revenue is if we “reform” the tax code and fast, negotiations are tense and all hell is about to break loose.

It’s no wonder people are tuning out the noise and focusing on holiday preparations. After the last several months of gutter politics, ugly TV commercials, lies, spin and accusations, I bet even the POTUS wants to down a couple of brewskis on a beach somewhere and forget about all this caustic crap.

I wrote about the debt ceiling and the deal that was struck in the summer of 2011 a lot (see here and here and here and here). I now want to point out to “What’s the Diehl?” readers that although things haven’t gotten much better – Texas’ threat to secede notwithstanding – all this talk about cliffs and crises is a bunch of malarkey. (H/T to the VP.)

I read an excellent op-ed by Richard Eskow of Campaign for America’s Future, a D.C.-based nonprofit center that seeks to advance a progressive agenda. (According to its website, AFS works “against privatization of Social Security, for investment in energy independence, good jobs and a sustainable economy, for an ethical and accountable Congress and for high quality public education.”) The essay, entitled, “The ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Is a Hoax...and a Mel Brooks Routine,” takes aim at both political parties and points out in easy-to-understand language why the whole fiscal cliff calamity is manufactured, more of a slope than a cliff, and entirely reversible through legislative action (an oxymoron if I ever saw one). The best part of Eskow’s piece is this:

Why would deficit talks include two ideas that won’t reduce the national debt, especially when “tax simplification” will undoubtedly increase that debt substantially? That’s an easy one: Because this phony “crisis” has nothing to do with deficits.

It’s all part of a long-range plan to scam the public into transferring even more of its wealth to the wealthiest among us: first by giving them lower tax rates, and then by cutting a program the public has already paid into. That way there’ll be less pressure to increases taxes on the wealthy later on. (They may also want to raid Social Security’s trust fund to pay for the deficits caused by their tax breaks.)

Interesting how some people are promising that the deficit will decrease significantly once the automatic, Draconian expenditure reductions kick in, while others are warning that it’ll actually balloon as a result of GOP plans to address the “crisis,” isn't it? Even the economists aren't united in their predictions.

Maybe we should ask Nate Silver what he thinks. I heard he’s pretty good with predictions.

P.S. Visit this link to watch Chris Hayes rant about the “fiscal cliff.”

Sources: Campaign for America’s Future,

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