Today is sequester day and we all know the cumulative spending cuts won’t hit at once but be more of a slow rolling calamity. Though assorted idiots make light of the amounts (Joe Scarborough referred to “only $44 billion” in real hits this morning) but make no mistake that even a billion is a LOT of moola if hundreds of thousands depend on it.
Meanwhile, a clip of John McCain played on MSNBC this a.m. with the Arizona Senator screeching his lungs out at the audacity and recklessness of slicing $46 billion from the Pentagon budget. McCain would have done better to point the finger at his own Tea Party faction. This group ultimately is behind the cuts and not allowing John Boehner to accept reasonable tax increases after the Repukes nearly drove the nation off a real cliff with their deficit spending (on wars, prescription drug payola to PhrMA, and tax cuts) during the Bush years.
As a deep politics researcher, my job is to spot actual conspiracies (not "theories") before the empty suits in the mainstream media do, and I spot a big one here. In fact, it doesn’t even take a deep politics background to see it, but merely looking at recent and past events and applying rigorous logic.
First some history: Sequestration emerged as a hopeful and presumptively rational counter-strategy soon after the TeePees took over the House in 2011, then proceeded to hold hostage the full faith and credit of the United States during the debt ceiling debacle. This, notwithstanding the Constitution’s injunction that the public debt of the United States “not be questioned.” At that time, I’d repeatedly implored Obama not to cave in to these miscreants but to invoke the 14th amendment instead, even if it meant a possible “constitutional crisis”. See e.g. http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2011/07/will-there-be-blood-in-water.html
Meanwhile I’d exposed the Tea Party’s myths about the Constitution here:
Anyway, having taken the only feasible weapon (in the 14th amendment) off the table, Obama and the WH agreed with the TP-driven Reeps to harsh and arbitrary “sequestered” spending cuts if they couldn’t come up with a more reasonable deal in the interim. Be aware too, the Tea Peas had no intention of agreeing to a more reasonable plan. They knew the only way to dismember the federal government was through large spending cuts without tax increases and they knew they could get their own side howling with patriotic fervor by including steep defense cuts too.
This debased fringe cabal knows of the pain to come but they don’t care. Their ideology drives all, just like fanatic ideology drove Hitler’s National Socialists to tear apart the German Reichstag as a positive governing force ca. 1933, setting the stage for a fascist dictatorship. The National Socialists knew, like the Tea Peas do now, that when the masses sense their security is undermined they will often yelp for a strong directing arm, or man. They got it in spades with Adolf Hitler. (As my sister-in-law Krimhilde frequently reminds me!)
Thus the Tea Peas, like the National Socialists 80 years earlier, yearn for the next hit they can make on government for the people by denying any extension of the government’s spending authority, which expires March 27. This means they are prepared to send the nation into credit default in order to try and twist Obama’s arm to cut “entitlements”. But if he plays into this tableaux again, he’s an even bigger played- for -fool than he was in 2011 when he left his biggest 'gun' on the table while expecting rationality from his opponents.
Do the Tea Party skunks welcome more joblessness because they want Americans to be even more fearful and angry? Of course! Tea Peas consistently use fear and anger in their war against the government – always blaming the anemic recovery on government deficits and the government’s size, and selling a poisonous arsenic/snake-oil mix of austerity and trickle-down economics as the remedy.
Like the National Socialists in Germany in the early 1930s, the Tea Party wingnuts are prepared to use the ensuing disruption and paralysis to try to persuade Americans their government is palsied and necessarily dysfunctional, and American politics is inherently bad. Thus, the inevitable continuing showdowns and standoffs are part of the plot, much like the Nazis' aims after the 1932 elections in Germany. (The SS beat the hell out of workers and forced national slowdowns, strikes and turmoil to send the country’s debt into the stratosphere as they sowed dissension)
What is Obama’s response? Evidently, from the White House website he still wants a so-called “grand bargain of balanced spending cuts” (including cuts in the projected growth of Social Security and Medicare) combined with tax increases on the wealthy. Tragically, actual facts haven’t measured up to the rhetoric since he has agreed to a gross imbalance, over $1.5 trillion in cuts to Republicans’ $600 billion in tax increases on the rich. This was why many of us were hopping mad at the fiscal cliff travesty noting that the $400,000 income level for tax raises was nuts, and would by its anemic level of revenue, force more spending cuts.
The existence of the plan on the WH site discloses Obama apparently still believes Republicans are serious about deficit reduction, when in fact the squalid Teepees running the GOP only care about dismembering the government. Obama, then, extends an unrealistic excess of good will (and respect) to the other side which they do not deserve. In this way, he pathetically resembles Weimar Republic President Paul von Hindenburg before acquiescing to Hitler’s Chancellorship in 1933. As one history website (historyplace) puts it:
“In January 1933, Adolf Hitler took the reins of a 14-year-old German democratic republic which in the minds of many had long outlived its usefulness. By this time, the economic pressures of the Great Depression combined with the indecisive, self-serving nature of its elected politicians had brought government in Germany to a complete standstill.”
A complete parallel to what the Tea Party Nazis now plan to do, and believe me they are elated to do so. If you don’t believe me, please read this on the GOP House's effusive reaction to the coming cuts:
Hence, like Weimar President Paul von Hindenburg, Obama can’t or won't see the vile evil before him and its intent. If he did, he’d never agree to the “grand bargain” he has allowed on the WH website. Besides, as Robert Reich has noted in a salon.com piece, “the deficit is now down to about 5 percent of GDP – where it was when Bill Clinton took office”. Maybe Obama is blinded by a secret desire to appease the Beltway Neoliberal Gurus (like Bob Woodward) in order to himself be regarded as a "serious President", thereby establishing the basis for a "serious legacy". But this would be a tragic error! (Unless Obama is a secret Neoliberal himself. After all, he did praise 'free market capitalism' barely 2 years ago.)
Meanwhile, the ebbing growth trends have little or nothing to do with government programs but a continued low aggregate demand environment. In fact, Medicare is far more efficient than private health insurance as I will show in a near future blog.
My advice to Obama? Forget about making any “grand bargain” with a gaggle of extremist rats. Stop talking about the “budget deficit” and playing into the Tea Peas’ hands and start talking instead about the widening inequality – as you did in the campaign.
Lastly, grow up and cease seeing the Reeps as seriously interested in making a deal, since any such will be contaminated by the Tea Partiers who now run the Republican Party.
As Robert Reich put it: Obama would do better to drop the rose-tinted glasses and “see the Tea Partiers for who they are — a small, radical minority intent on dismantling the government of the United States”. So long as Obama allows them to dictate the terms of public debate they will continue to hold the rest of us hostage to their extremism, like the National Socialists did in the early 1930s in Germany.