Taking Charles Pierces signature phrase out for a test drive.
Lately, the so-called “financial cliff” reporting makes me too want to guzzle anti-freeze. The dominant narrative every day about the scary, scary “financial cliff” drives home the fact that we really do have a horrible press. Let us count the ways:
1) We are not Greece. If I hear one more politician or reporter compare the US to Greece, I swear, I will scream.
2) Our budget is not like a family budget, in that it has to be balanced.
3) We have a fiat currency, in that we are sovereign in our own currency, and we can never go broke.
4) They–The Republicans–always run up the debt when in office, then scream about it as soon as a Democratic President is in office–see Bill Clinton.
5) They don’t really care about the debt–Cheney famously said that “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.”
6) They only care about tax cuts for the wealthy, full stop.
7) Creating lots of Government debt as an excuse to cut social programs has been their plan since Reagan–“starve the beast”
8) In a related aside, They have been trying to undo New Deal and Great Society social programs–Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid–since the ink was dry. This is their latest attempt.
9) Austerity, ie. cutting social programs and benefits in an economic downturn has a proven track record of failure–see Keynes, John Maynard, and the recent experiences in Britain and Europe. Even the IMF belatedly agrees.
10) Embracing austerity is just a way to dismantle the welfare state, by using the “shock doctrine.” Erkine Bowles, chief deficit fetish groupie calls it the “Cialis project,” borrowing from the advertising slogan for an erectile dysfunction drug, “When the moment is right, will you be ready?”
But, of course, in our what passes for news, there is no context, no history. It’s all brand new, every day. And, all the serious people, both Republicans and cowardly Democrats, agree that the bold, brave course is to cut social programs that poor and middle-class Americans rely on.
Let’s end this screed by quoting the master. “Ever since the Powell memo set out the template for the rise of the modern infrastructure of the organized Right, one of that infrastructure’s great triumphs has been to channel what is perceived to be the acceptable national political dialogue ever to starboard, and to truncate severely the notion of what is an acceptable political idea…A lot of this falls on us. We can be better informed. We can stop believing in nonsense. We can be a more active citizenry. We can choose not to accept the limited parameters of our national debates by turning off the commentators who seek to reinforce them, and by turfing out the politicians who choose to work only within them. We can demand a better range of options. We can demand that obvious problems be confronted, and that real solutions to them be proposed. (Where is the outcry for a national policy on climate change from the drought-ravaged states of the west and the south?) We can demand a political imagination greater than the one currently evinced by our political elites, or we can tell them that we’re changing them out for better elites.”
Just give me a double Prestone.