by Don Washington on 2011/11/14
It’s about time for the kabuki theater that is our government to break out into its budget-deficit-debt ceiling-austerity dance. It’s kabuki theater and a dance because it’s a monstrous injustice of epic proportions. The idiot media storylines are simple; we are facing a massive debt and we have to make cuts or how will these negotiations impact the 2012 Presidential election. That would be telling us a lie on one hand and covering a horse race on the other. I’d call it shameful but that would be how you know that ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and sadly PBS are the corporate media. The thoughtful media, like Democracy Now tells us that the Republicans are holding the government hostage and give us great explanations of what the debt ceiling-deficit and/or what a responsible budget would look like. They even do a great job of discussing how austerity is going to hurt us. It’s very good media but it too misses the point, which is surprising because they are so tantalizingly close to telling us why this entire “debate” is just a charade.
Here’s the deal. Over the past thirty years the government has dropped the top marginal tax rates on the wealthy from 90% to 33%. The government has shifted the tax burden from corporations, to individuals and from wealthy individuals to middle class individuals. Then, to make up the 60 plus cent difference in taxes, which middle class individuals could never hope to make up, the government borrowed the money from the wealthy at interest. This means two things, one more pernicious than the next. First, the interest we are paying on the debt is being paid to people we should be taxing and it is accelerating the economic inequality that is killing our country. Second, those interest payments have the perverse effect of decreasing government services at a time when economic hardship means we need more government services instead less government services. It is an oxymoronic state of affairs whose absurdity should tell you that something is seriously wrong.
What is seriously wrong is the song and dance our government is going through to distract us from what the obvious solutions. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are saying that we have to tighten belts already scraping our backbones. The Republicans are demanding that as more people are evicted from their houses in 2011, than in any other year since the foreclosure wave began, the government do not just nothing but actually less than nothing. The irony here being that they have are, in a self-fulfilling kind of prophecy way, correct. The existing situation just puts money in the pockets of the people responsible for destroying our economy and feeding on us while impoverishing us. The Democrats are saying that we have to be pragmatic and make some cuts here and there to preserve the future. They are telling us that we need to do what we can to make the market stronger and that there will be shared sacrifice.
The embarrassing thing here is that both parties are really telling us he same thing. From here on out government is going to do less for citizens and more for the very wealthy people and corporations so that they can keep lending us the money they should be paying in taxes. Both parties are engaged in a two-stepping, soft-shoe dance that is designed to distract us from the truth of the matter. Our political system has been captured by the 1% of the population that it is borrowing money from. They are well-heeled loan sharks who own the corporations that first sent our blue-collar jobs overseas and now the white-collar ones. They are the same people who are hiding and investing their profits overseas because they see their future profits in markets that are anywhere but America. As far as the Fortune 500 and their bankster partners are concerned the going concern that is America exists only to send military forces abroad to protect their investments.
If you absorb anything from all of this is that the situation is not complicated, the solutions are simple and our government has been enlisted into the service of the 1%, who are using their wealth to create greater inequalities in our society. Everyone who could do something knows the scale and gravity of the problem and what is needed to address it. Austerity, “jumpstarting” the economy or rebooting the financial sector is just another way of saying trickle-down economics and continuing the thirty-year class war that top 1% have already won. This is just a mopping up operation unless we step up and organize. Occupy Wall Street needs to be just manifestation of our shared discontent. We’re not unfocused we are disenchanted and we know that if our government can find $21 trillion dollars to save banks that were too big to fail and then allows them to get bigger then it can find more than $800 million for the rest of the country. Our politicians are only going to stop dancing when we make them.
Don Washington is an AP-Award winning writer, political expediter and problem-solver, proprietor of the agitational, informational, interactive website and show the Mayoraltutorial.com. You can follow him as drobsidian on Twitter and he is the keeper of two large and mischievous cats.