Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Simpson- Bowles the Sequel: Can You Say 'Neoliberal Lickspittle'?

Alan Simpson (left)  and Ernest Bowles 2 years ago,  after Simpson suggested Americans on Social Security are like 300 million sucklings "on 300 million government teats”

The Neoliberal cognoscenti are going bonkers with the rollout of Simpson-Bowles II, or 2.0 if you will, an update of their original codswallop to cut the deficit. No one liked the original and let Obama know it as well, raking him for even letting these Neolibs through the national issues door. Well, they will like 2.0 even less. Let’s not even get into the fact that if these punks were truly serious they’d be going after the latest Pentagon white elephant, the B-35, which has now doubled in cost estimates because of overruns and problems – to nearly a half trillion bucks.(TIME, Feb. 25, 'The Most Expensive Weapon Ever Built’ ,p. 26)

Simpson –Bowles v 2.0 arrived with mucho fanfare, featuring a huge rollout sponsored by Politico (the hackiest, most Neolib political blog), where Neolib puppet Mike Allen hosted and interviewed the pair this morning in Washington. Make no mistake that when Neolibs come together they will have orgasms and wet dreams over any plan that appears “bipartisan” on the surface and takes aim at those nasty budget vampires called “entitlements”. You can also be sure that every Neolib hack- and- a -half in the Beltway, from Bob Woodward, to Fareed Zakaria to the latest  nabob (Joe Klein of TIME) will get excited at the prospect of a new way to snatch that money from oldsters’ pockets. All to “protect the kids”, never mind the real elephant in the room is defense spending - which budget slice is greater than the 45 next largest nations combined.

For example, in his recent TIME op piece (Op. cit., p. 17, ‘Aiming Low, Missing Greatness’) Klein thrashes Obama for "aiming too low" in his SOTU speech. He further accuses Obama of displaying “views of budgeting and spending” bearing a “totally unconvincing expression of prudence”. What does Klein want? What all Neolib hacks want! As he asks:

“Why shouldn’t government view capital investments – in education and infrastructure- as a necessary requirement for long term growth, as opposed to entitlements?”

Good question! Maybe because those “entitlements” help prop up aggregate demand for the economy, while providing oldsters with a measure of dignity and independence so they don’t have to move in with Junior or Missy – just graduated from college. BUT...Joe does mean that in order to ensure seniors' future security the richest give up some of their yearly $55,000 tax cuts! (Actually, $1m for the top 0.1%)

Now, according to the Neoliberal rules of journalistic objectivity, supporting SB v 2.0 establishes your Neolib creds and extols you as a DC “serious person” and real player - as opposed to a pretender. Never mind that to the rest of the nation you’re a congenital asshole. Thus, it is good from time to time that people from the real nation sometimes arrive in DC and shake their asses up, such as when some  mean hecklers interrupted the Simpson -Bowles orgy. . In an apocalyptic sign for the deficit hawks, Simpson worshippers and other fetishists, the hecklers got a lot more attention on Twitter than the new Simpson-Bowles plan did. Can they of the "300 government million titties" fame recapture the magic?  Actually, I think that cow escaped the barn long ago, and 'Muricans are too smart to buy into it. Not when waste like the F-35 is on display!

S and B are doing their best meanwhile to explain why we need a new, different modernized cut plan ($3 of cuts to every $1 of revenue). One reason is that, in their eyes, the situation has gotten so, so much worse since their last plan, that we now need more deficit reduction than we needed last time. The other reason is that the point of this plan is to be a model for a “compromise” between the current supposed GOP sequester-avoiding plan and the Obama administration’s sequester-avoiding plan, and it does this by adding tax revenue that the GOP has explicitly ruled out — but not as much as the original Simpson-Bowles plan, which had a lotta taxes — and demanding even more spending cuts than the original plan did. So the new centrist common sense bipartisan compromise is way more conservative than it was a few years ago, but still not conservative enough to win any Republican support (beyond insincere rhetorical support, I mean).

The cuts come from Medicare and Medicaid, because while the Obama administration laid out a plan to get as much deficit reduction as Simpson-Bowles originally demanded, the Obama administration did so in the wrong way, without trying to cut a ton of money from those programs and Social Security.

As many readers may have heard, e.g. on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the United States will eventually — in a few decades — have a big debt problem, mostly because we have committed to paying for healthcare for old people and healthcare costs are ballooning. In order to “fix the debt,” we’ll probably just have to pay doctors and drug companies less. (That will make a lot of doctors and drug companies mad, but the alternative is “let old people die” so they should just suck it up.) Voila! We have solved the long-term budget deficit, let’s all go home. Kudos to Bob Woodward, Joe Klein, Jonathan Alter ('You mean we can't let Obama cut 5% from those programs?') and the other overfed Neoliberal elites.  

Meanwhile, Politico, the fave blog of the Neolib elites,  is pretty excited about Simpson and Bowles but in the end, whether v 1.0 or 2.0 or any further n.0,  no one in Congress or the White House really cares about it and so far as we know it’s put out there merely to appease the Neolib DC media and their lackeys, hangers-on

But that won't stop them all from pumping out more BS, bollocks, palaver, and propaganda. The problem for them now is we're all onto their shtick. Or...we should be!

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