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What the Debt Limit Crisis Should Have Taught You

2011 July 31
by Ian Welsh

This is not primarily about the Tea Party

It is about what rich donors want.  The Tea Party does not even have the amount of muscle progressives do.  Progressives can bring tens of thousands of people out, the Tea Party can rarely even get above 1,000.  They are a convenient excuse to do what the Beltway and the oligarchs already want to do.

Where are you going to go?

Both Dems and Republicans are onside with cutting Social Security and Medicare. They are only third rails if there is someone else to vote for.

The deals being offered will cause a second downleg of the Depression and a worse one

We’re in a Depression.  This is fact.  Anyone who doesn’t call it that is gutless, stupid or uninformed.  This will make it worse, not just for the US, but for the entire developed world.

Representatives work for the people who pay them

That isn’t really you.  They don’t become multi-millionaires on their salaries, you know.  It’s their donors, the people who hire their wives and children, the people who fund their campaigns, the people who give them good jobs when they leave government.  If you want Reps and Senators to work for you, you must pay them better, you must fund their campaigns (and sharply limit outside funding) and you must make it illegal for them to EVER make more money in a year than their government salary (index it to an average of the median wage, the minimum wage, and CPI).  You should do what Canada used to do and give them a good pension after 6 years.  You DON’T want them worrying about their next job, or what they’ll do if they’ll lose.

Point being, they don’t work for you.

This is a representative plutocracy

I believe Stirling Newberry, in the early 90s, pointed this out first.  Politicians are paid by people other than you.  You are the product.  Think of this as the Facebook rule, if you aren’t paying for something, then you are the product.  The rich pay politicians to rangle you.  The amount of salary and public funding most Reps get is trivial compared to how much money they get from donors, even during their time in elected office, let alone after they leave.  You are the product, not the customer, of DC politicians.  They do not represent you, and you should not expect your interests to be looked after except as an afterthought.  When the oligarchs all agree that something needs to be done (like cut entitlements), it will be done, no matter how unpopular it is.

This “Crisis” is what Obama wanted

Again, if he didn’t, he would have raised the debt ceiling in the lame duck.  Nancy Pelosi was always very good at getting those sort of basic housekeeping bills through. It would have passed.  Period.  Obama wanted to cut SS and Medicare, and he needed a “crisis” in order to do it.  He also needed a Republican House, which he had, because his policies during 2009 and 2010 didn’t fix the economy.

You should have been working on nothing but primarying Obama since the day after the midterms

If you don’t understand why, I can’t help you.

There is no war but class war

Break the rich, or they will finish institutionalizing aristocracy.  Period.

118 Responses
  1. Morocco Bama permalink
    August 2, 2011

    It really doesn’t matter whether you’re non-violent, or not, it won’t change the very real fact that there will be violence. I agree with Ian, it’s inevitable, but it won’t come from the “Left” because there is no “Left.” It will be misdirected by the very forces that created the environment for it to manifest, and since it’s not part of a coordinated effort from the ground up by a substantial cross-section of “ordinary” citizens, it will be, once again, the innocents who will suffer the most.

    A bunch of Latte-Drinking, Volvo-driving “Liberals” are about to get their non-violent, acquiescing incrementalism stuffed down their throats and up their asses because they don’t realize that they’re Lee Harvey Oswald in this equation. If you don’t think you’re Lee Harvey, then get the hell out of the Schoolbook Depository…….NOW!

  2. Celsius 233 permalink
    August 2, 2011

    The machine continues forward unabated; it will continue unabated. Nobody is acting/thinking outside of the box. The militarized police forces have the weaponry to passively disburse crowds and to the outside observer it will appear the mobs (if there are any) are disbursing voluntarily.
    The bulk of the American people are not going to support anti-government demonstrations as they did during the Viet Nam War; too anxious, too broke, too dispirited, too depressed, and too confused and brutalized by the unrelenting bullshit from the MSM and they’re own government.
    The daily dishing of real violence, directly aimed at the American people has done its job.
    With all of the tools available today (Internet, social media, imagination), there are ways to fight and organize.
    Outside of the box; go after banks, news media, local governments, all proven (anti-people) major corporations; starve the bastards by boycotting their services and products at all levels.
    Don’t broadcast this; keep it underground and let them discover the boycott by your actions; not useless verbiage and online, impotent, bitching.
    This last capitulation is the coup de grace. It’s not yet apparent if it was a fatal shot, but IMO it was…

  3. Celsius 233 permalink
    August 2, 2011

    …brutalized by the unrelenting bullshit from the MSM and they’re own government.
    Should be their, sorry.

  4. StewartM permalink
    August 3, 2011

    Morocco Bama:

    A bunch of Latte-Drinking, Volvo-driving “Liberals” are about to get their non-violent, acquiescing incrementalism stuffed down their throats and up their asses because they don’t realize that they’re Lee Harvey Oswald in this equation. If you don’t think you’re Lee Harvey, then get the hell out of the Schoolbook Depository…….NOW!

    Great metaphor. My compliments. :-)

    -StewartM

  5. Morocco Bama permalink
    August 3, 2011

    As I’ve mentioned, and admonished those who do, I don’t follow the blow by blow, as a general rule, but I happened upon this because everywhere there is a TV these days:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/house-passes-debt-ceiling-bill-gabrielle-giffords-votes/story?id=14208579

    This is better than Professional Wrestling…..seriously. I have to continue to pinch myself to make sure I’m not in a Matrix Nightmare.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2ft4u_wwf-wrestlemania-ix-undertaker-vs-g_fun

  6. soullite permalink
    August 3, 2011

    Anyone who fails to understand that getting your enemy to overreact to attacks against their elite by cracking down on their own middle, working and under classes aren’t really smart enough to argue against violent revolution. They don’t even understand it.

  7. anon2525 permalink
    August 3, 2011

    Here is the nytimes economic reporter David Leonhardt on Colbert’s program discussing the rating companies’ rating of u.s. debt, accepting the framing that the u.s. deficit is the problem that needs to be solved by cutting spending in order to get to a balanced budget. He also accepted the framing (un-contradicted by Colbert) that Medicare is one of the sources of the budget imbalance, instead of the medical-services industry, that “big cuts to Social Security” are needed “or we get downgraded,” that the rating companies are credible and without a conflict of interest, and that balancing the fed. gov’t.’s budget at this time is an economically sensible course of action. In short, he (and Colbert) accepts obama’s public framing of the problem and its solution. (He also accepts that the Tea Party won and Obama lost, but he’s the nytimes economics reporter, not a political reporter. And he accepts that transparency in gov’t. is not a requirement–closed rooms let the “elite” solve our problems for us and hand the solution down to us from on high. “Democracy” is just a slogan for the rubes.)

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/393728/august-02-2011/saving-america-s-credit-rating—david-leonhardt

    From the choices “gutless”, “stupid”, or “uninformed”, my guess is that Leonhardt is mis-educated. I wonder if he’s ever read or heard a word that Dean Baker or James Galbraith has written or said. And the writings of his paper’s Paul Krugman appear not to have penetrated his brain at all.

    Also from Leonhardt: “We’re the country everyone wants to move to.” Anyone want to contradict that one? :)

  8. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    August 4, 2011

    @anon, not buying it. You don’t in good conscience bail out criminal Wall Street assholes with $15 trillion, extend $4 trillion of tax cuts to billionaires, then cut working Americans’ pensions which they paid for out of their own paychecks. Even a gutless, stupid, uninformed moron can see that.

  9. anon2525 permalink
    August 4, 2011

    Even a gutless, stupid, uninformed moron can see that.

    And yet Colbert doesn’t challenge him on any of the framing. Are they both corrupted? (Of course, Colbert is a performer, but he makes his points through satire. Here, he simply accepted the explanation.)

    Why does it matter? Because people need to be outraged about what is being done to them. You can’t be outraged if you think that it is a force of nature or that it is appropriate. And Leonhardt gives me (and I’m guessing many viewers) the impression that he thinks it is appropriate. And this could cause many people to stop thinking and accept what he says: Social Security needs to be cut, Medicare needs to be cut, the fed. gov’t's budget needs to be balanced.

    Here’s Keith Olbermann expressing some appropriate outrage about what has just transpired:

    the four hypocrisies

  10. anon2525 permalink
    August 4, 2011

    That link to Olbermann appears to be poorly constructed. Here’s another attempt: four hypocrises

  11. Celsius 233 permalink
    August 4, 2011

    anon2525 PERMALINK
    August 4, 2011

    Why does it matter? Because people need to be outraged about what is being done to them. You can’t be outraged if you think that it is a force of nature or that it is appropriate.

    =====================================

    I’m beginning to understand the rampant apathy on the part of the people; The Shock Doctrine!

    Naomi Klein’s book is the complete blue-print for the last decade especially here in the U.S.
    The financial collapse had to be constructed so these last measures could be implemented on the witless, clueless, gutless, thoughtless, individuals we/they call the people.
    And damned if it didn’t work!
    Even with her book as a best seller (how many here read it?) the shock doctrine was pulled off right under every-bodies nose.
    I’m well over 1/2 way through the book and it’s all there. Hell, it’s a primer on how to pull it off.
    And those bastards did just that…

  12. Morocco Bama permalink
    August 4, 2011

    Ah, the brilliance that is Colbert and Stewart. Sheer brilliance. They alone, have managed to instill that apathy of which you speak. Liberals can tune into them every night for their “Daily News” and laugh at the Tea Party, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, as the so-called “Liberal” leadership plays them for the fools they are.

    Yesterday, they trotted out the poor, unfortunate gobshite, Gabby Giffords, tomorrow……Midget Tossing is on the docket. The Show That Never Ends.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbr8qNMgCR4

  13. Morocco Bama permalink
    August 4, 2011

    (how many here read it?)

    I did…..well over a year ago, maybe two. Yes, it’s the blueprint. Creating realities from thin air…….very thinning air.

    http://www.helium.com/items/1965918-keeling-curve-co2-and-loss-of-atmospheric-oxygen

  14. anon2525 permalink
    August 4, 2011

    I’m beginning to understand the rampant apathy on the part of the people; The Shock Doctrine!

    Part of the reason for the apathy is pointed out by Colbert in that interview, above, namely, that congress has not yet specified which programs are going to be cut. As he points out, the Central Committee of the Communist Party “Super” Congress is intended to allow congress not to be held responsible for the decisions about what is to be cut. Until those cuts are specified, many people who will be effected by them will not pay attention. And the plan is to put the cuts off until after the election. Of course, the economy is having some say about what congress will be able to put off.

  15. anon2525 permalink
    August 4, 2011

    I’m beginning to understand the rampant apathy on the part of the people; The Shock Doctrine!

    We can see Pelosi responding–yet again–to the shock doctrine in this article: How Pelosi voted

    (The author of the article is a nominal liberal, David Corn, writing for a liberal publication, Mother Jones, so we ought to be able to presume that the article is not being written with the backing of the TBTF banks.)

    In the article, Pelosi is given credit for “saving” Boehner’s and Obama’s ass, and for saving the economy. Why Because she didn’t “signal” to the Democrats in the House to vote against the bill, which in turn signaled to the “sophisticated” members to vote for it:

    Pelosi didn’t have to send any signal. Her Democrats, she says, are a “sophisticated” group, and they could see that without Democratic support the bill would fail.”

    Even though Pelosi “opposed” the bill, she and half of the House Democrats voted for it ostensibly because of the “lesser evil” argument or, equivalently, the “greater good” argument:

    Default, she notes, “would have been terrible,” and blame for it would have landed at the doorsteps of Obama and the Republicans.

    So to prevent default, Pelosi held her nose and halfheartedly encouraged fellow Democrats to vote for legislation that she insists will “deter economic growth.”

    If you are telling yourself that you are “sophisticated” and that you are acting in the “greater good,” then you can support anything. Added to that was the excuse that there was “no time” to bargain for any alternative (no mention of the start of congress’s summer vacation):

    In a routine situation, if the House speaker were to bring a bill to the floor and only obtain 174 votes of his or her own party, he or she would pull the legislation and then talk to the other side, which would expect concessions or sweeteners in return for the votes necessary to assemble a majority. In this case, Pelosi maintains, there was no time for further bargaining.

    This argument is the same combination of reasons used to get votes for the medical-services industry protection act of 2010 and the TARP vote of 2008. Until we manage to tell them “No!” and “Hell, no!”, they are going to use this again and again.

    Who would the default threat hurt? Possibly many people, but most importantly to rich people, it would have hurt rich people. Like Pelosi. She will tell us all day long that this conflict of interest did not affect her vote, and she will “believe” it (see Upton Sinclair). But if she was paid the median wage in the u.s. ($26,200 in 2009) and was threatened with losing Social Security and Medicare and her job and her dwelling, then she would have found a reason to vote against this bill, despite all of her “sophistication.”

    The straightforward reason that they could have found to vote against it was that they were not going to give in to the default threat (it is not a “debt ceiling crisis”–it was a threat), and that they were going to put it on obama’s doorstep for him to respond by declaring that the debt ceiling law is unconstitutional. Of course, if they did that, then the shock doctrine would have been defanged.

  16. Morocco Bama permalink
    August 4, 2011

    Here’s a documentary that puts the likes of Colbert and Stewart to shame. It doesn’t make me laugh, it doesn’t make me apathetic…it makes me ANGRY…..very ANGRY. That’s what it should do, because you have to get ANGRY about this in order to get off your Keesters and do something about it.

    If you treat it like a game, then you’re playing the game….and it’s a rigged game where you lose. Play it and analyze it ad nauseam, and in perpetuity, at your own peril.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdVODFombco&feature=player_embedded

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