by Stephen Lendman
Congressional/administration hype, theater, gamesmanship, brinksmanship, and duplicity define yearend fiscal cliff discussions. Years ago, Republicans and Democrats conspired to destroy America's social contract. Militarism, imperial dominance, tyranny, corporate/super-rich priorities, class war, and widening the unprecedented wealth disparity followed.
Economist Jack Rasmus calls fiscal cliff subterfuge "austerity American style." Media scoundrels conceal what readers and viewers most need to know. Fiscal cliff hype shows what they're up against. Eleventh hour discussions continue. The New York Times headlined "Senate Leaders Set to Work on a Last-Minute Tax Agreement."The Washington Post said "Agreement within reach on 'fiscal cliff' deal, officials say."
"Cliff Deal Hinges on Senators," headlined the Wall Street Journal. Senate leaders said they'd "launch a last-ditch weekend effort to avert the so-called fiscal cliff."
Unexplained is that none exists. Hype substitutes for reality. Budget and deficit problems are real. Effective fixes are spurned. Destructive ones are prioritized. Progressive Radio News Hour regular Paul Craig Roberts told listeners that suspending Afghan military operations for three months would solve things for now. Ending hostilities entirely would do so longer term. Prioritizing peace over war, using US resources responsibly, enacting sustainable economic growth legislation, re-industrializing America, and job creation would do so in perpetuity.
Obama and party bosses don't explain. Nor do media scoundrels. On December 26, a New York Times editorial headlined "Fiscal Endgame," saying:
House Republicans "rejected (Obama's) overly generous budget deal." They also "rejected their own leadership's proposal."
No deal means ordinary Americans will be hit hardest, claims The Times. Omitted was explaining bipartisan agreement to destroy social America. Details alone remain to be resolved. Pre or post-yearend doesn't matter. Continuing resolutions extend many policies when agreements aren't reached. Before Congress adjourns, grand plan resolution won't happen.
Expect talks to end by kicking the can down the road. Temporary resolution will likely be reached. More time will be bought. Major issues will be delayed for 2013 Q I and later discussions. Endgame intentions are clear. Crisis conditions fester. Ordinary Americans will suffer most. Both parties prioritize making them pay for dire conditions predatory bankers caused.
A December 27 Washington Post editorial headlined "Avoid the 'fiscal cliff,' " saying:
Democrats and Republicans remain "at loggerheads." America "faces a harmful and gratuitous economic shock that would be inflicted by its own leaders." Both sides share blame. Before January 1, expect nothing more than stopgap legislation. Passage will avoid "disaster." Obama and Congress have days left to agree. Failure would "abdicat(e) their responsibility to the nation."
WP, NYT, and other major media consumers have no idea what's going on. Scoundrel editors, commentators, and staff writers don't tell them. Economist Michael Hudson discussed "America's Deceptive 2012 Fiscal Cliff." He published part one of a two-part article. Victors and powerful interests write history, he said.
"Holding the bottom 99% in debt, the top 1% are now in the process of subsidizing a deceptive economic theory to persuade voters to pursue policies that benefit the financial sector at the expense of labor, industry, and democratic government as we know it." Powerful special interests blame unemployment and America's "loss of industrial competitiveness" on spending and deficit woes. Junk economics turns truth on its head. Financial lobbyists claim "austerity can enable private sector debts to be paid."
In fact, "when banks load the economy down with debt," less remains for "domestic goods and services." Bad policies produce bad results. Destructive ones "reduce private sector market demand." Doing so "shrink(s) markets and employment." Distressed governments are told to sell valued land and natural resources. Buyers want fire sale prices. Bankers and other financial predators profit greatly. Lucrative bank loan financing is created. Privileged 1% players profit. Indebtedness and mass privatizations benefit them. Ordinary people end up severely harmed.
Austerity advocates lie. Central banks only print new money to wage war, destroy property, and benefit financial interests, other corporate favorites, and super-rich elites. Fundamental infrastructure and popular needs go begging. Effective policies are spurned.
"Governments need to provide the economy with money and credit to expand markets and employment. They do this by running budget deficits, and this can be done by creating their own money."
Bankers oppose what harms their interests. Washington is Wall Street occupied territory. What banking giants and other major financial companies want they get. They "captured mainstream economics." They're "winning (their) war against the economy atlarge." They want ordinary people to think there's no alternative. Political Washington and media scoundrels support them. Much better alternatives than force-fed austerity and debt peonage exist, says Hudson. Part two will explain more. Late Friday afternoon, Obama expressed modest optimism. He met with congressional leaders. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said:
"We had a good meeting at the White House, and we are engaged in discussions.... in hopes that we can come forward (with a plan) as early as Sunday." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called discussions "constructive." He added that "whatever we come up with" won't be perfect.
Expect a December 31 Senate vote. Majority Democrats will pass what Obama endorses. House Republicans may or may not agree. Failure will let yearend tax breaks and unemployment benefits expire. Explaining it to constituents won't be easy.
Obama wants wealthy Americans "to pay a little more." Republicans object. Expect eventual compromise. Obama said what fiscal conservatives want to hear. He wants spending cut "in a responsible way." At issue is destroying America's social contract, enacting corporate tax cuts, largely protecting super-rich elite benefits, and generously funding the Pentagon's war machine. It's also about making ordinary households pay for militarism, permanent wars, and predatory capitalist waste, fraud, excess, and abuse. Making them bear the burden is official policy.
Both sides agree. Temporary or final resolution will harm millions least advantaged. Living standards will be hit hard. Expect House Republicans to come around in stages. On or around yearend, modest agreement will be reached. Enough to last weeks or through 2013 Q I. Investors and markets will be assuaged. Negotiations will continue. Before end of March, other issued will be resolved. Later discussions will involve major tax code changes. Corporate tax cuts will be prioritized. Obama agreed earlier. Doing so bought business support. Republicans won't spurn major campaign donors. Compromise will benefit privileged Americans at the expense of all others. America's social contract is on the chopping block for elimination. Death by 1,000 cuts is planned. Responsible solutions are spurned.
Privatization will ruin Social Security, Medicare, and other government-run programs. Financial predators will strip mine them of worth. Third-worldizing America is planned. Homeland repression will target nonbelievers.
America never was the land of the free and home of the brave. It was never beautiful and isn't now. The worst is yet to come. Bipartisan complicity assures it.
After the June summit of the leaders of Russia and the United States in Geneva, it appeared to many that Putin and Biden finally gave rise to dialogue. However, something went wrong