Thursday, February 28, 2013

If Only Congress Had a Friend Like Jim Brown Maybe It Could Get Off Of The Austerity Sequester Crack Rock

I have graded 75 papers. I have 25 to go. Me thinks I need a drink and a laugh.

The trillion dollars in mandatory cuts to the federal budget over the next ten years begins tomorrow. These imprecise "cuts"--in many cases just reductions in the growth of certain budget items--are a manufactured crisis. It was made by political actors. It can be undone by political actors...if they so chose. Manufactured crises are designed to exhaust the American people and to make them even more passive, hostile towards the idea that government can be made to function properly, and is one more step towards inverted totalitarianism.

In all, this charade is one more play towards check and mate for corporate democracy where the realm of "the public" is so atrophied that in a generation or less, the social safety net will look nothing like it did even ten years ago (never mind in the 1960s or 1940s). Young people who come of age in that moment will have never known a government that enhanced positive liberty by guaranteeing basic economic or social securities.

Obama and his advisers decided some time ago to pursue an austerity-lite plan. The Republicans want to destroy the federal government and radically renegotiate the social contract. Government must be drowned in the bathtub. There can be no significant taxes on the rich. The sequester allows the Right to advance their goal of killing the State via a death of a thousand cuts. If the sequester goes forward, and the government then "shuts down" in March, the Tea Party GOP will be seen by the American people--quite correctly--as the group most responsible for this mess. This will further damage their brand name. 

This pleases me. 

But, while I am happy to see the Tea Party GOP weakened further, I would much rather have a responsible Republican Party that is working with the Democrats to fix the economy. 

[Many in the public do not realize that the Great Recession could be reasonably described as the Great Depression 2.0. Moreover, most also do not know that during the Great Depression there was a period of several years where it seemed that the economy was going to turn around and then the federal government made a series of horrible judgments which truly pushed the world economy over the edge.]

As I wrote here, it is fun to watch the train wreck on the Right until it results in serious harm to the American people. We are all sad clowns come tomorrow. Congress has abdicated its most basic responsibility to intelligently exercise "the power of the purse." They will not be held accountable.

Too bad our political leadership class does not have a friend like Jim Brown who can put his hand around their shoulder, get the partisan crack pipe out of their hands, and ask them "so what's it gonna be?" in the interest of the Common Good and a We The People democracy.


CNu said...

Young people who come of age in that moment will have never known a government that enhanced positive liberty by guaranteeing basic economic or social securities.


Then they can learn to pull their own weight and live within their own productive means - billions do this worldwide.

Long overdue time that the freeloaders in the most extravagant and unsustainable economic sinkhole on the face of the earth learn to do so, as well.

Oh, and if you're parents don't make sufficient investment in your capacity to pull your weight and live within your means, then go the way of every single other non-viable specimen in this terrestrial biosphere.

chauncey devega said...

Okay. But you are a public employee right--directly or indirectly? How do you reconcile your hobbessian worldview with the practical reality that you, me, and other are part of a broader society that we benefit from? Are you an island onto yourself? If so, why use public infrastructure like the Internet? Nevermind roads or bridges or highways?

You had a big snowstorm right? Did you clear the snow off of the roads yourself?

What is the role of gov't in your political theory? I am legitimately curious. As a practical person, and a realist, I believe in a robust social safety net for issues of safety and security. Plus, capitalism is horribly inefficient and at allocating many goods and services, never mind rights...thus my reaction to hyper-conservatism/neoliberalism.

Michael Varian Daly said...

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

CNu said...

lol, I just now had a big straw storm...,

Young people who come of age in that moment will have never known a
government that enhanced positive liberty by guaranteeing basic economic
or social securities.

It is not the business of any level of government to guarantee basic economic or social security.

Issues of safety and security can be solved far more expeditiously by the prudent allocation of firepower.

chauncey devega said...

Now you are just doing a stand up routine.

Are you going on tour anytime soon?

The exact purpose of government is to enter into political society. I guess you live in the state of nature with its police, fire departments, snow removal, money, banking securities and regulations, laws, public schools, and municipal contracts for employees.

No basic levels of food, health care, schooling, environment protection, or the like either?

If you honestly believe what you say--and I think you are more a provocateur than anything else on these points--why don't you move into an unincorporated part of the country, or even on an a private island, or a war zone like Sudan or parts of Syria, where the State has totally broken down and just live your dream?

It can be like that movie The Mosquito Coast, a man who believes that he is an island onto himself...or maybe actually is.

I like you. You should write some speculative fiction. I bet it would sell well in many circles.

Ted Parker said...

President Obama has under estimated the power and the hate that's alined against him, the people will be able to destroy them with that hate, there will be lots of casualties and suffering because of it but we are a resilient people and the country will come out stronger and more inclusive. The people must be kept informed by people that see.Keep on Keeping On till the bottom rail is on the top.

CNu said...

More straw and hyperbole.

The cruel logic of banksterish austerity will prevail, as it is cheaper to spend a bullet on non-taxpaying, non-productive eaters - than it is to indefinitely feed them.

The banksters will have their debt service - no matter what. Everything else is merely handwavy, wishful conversation. Watch.

Dubious Brother said...

I think the real question becomes about social costs, when they are paid and by whom.

While there may be no constitutional source for any explicit "guarantees" as you describe, an individual who lacks "basic economic or social security" for long periods usually become entangled with the state in several ways, think prisons for one, and we all pay for that, eventually.

Your view succumbs to the libertarian fantasy that the polity and the state are in some way distinct from the individual. Don't get me wrong, we all like our individual rights and prefer well-spent tax dollars to throwing good money after bad. Trouble is, giving the individual complete primacy over any sense of obligation to a larger connection with the polity, and removing the role of the state in protecting the commons (ready to join your volunteer PD or Fire Dept.?), brings us much closer to that state of nature that, I believe, none of us truly wants.

We are there already, by many accounts. Check out Hedges and Sacco's "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt", for a stark view of places where the bottom has dropped out, and government support is either barely there, non-extant. That, my friend, is the future of austerity.

Bad Company said...

"partisan crack pipe"! It's partisan alright. Let's not forget who engineered this Grand Bargain showdown at the Ofay Corral.

"Obama and his advisers decided some time ago to pursue an austerity-lite plan"

The partisan crack ain't the main problem. That's a cynical diversion. The problem is they are mainlining austerity. Too bad they don't have a friend like Jim Brown. Too bad they do have a pusher like the Ice Berg Slim.

CNu said...

my malthusian reputation has evidently failed to precede me, permit me to clear that up for you dubious brother.

a bullet in the face or the back of the head is actually a very inexpensive and very final solution to what appear intractable "social problems"...,

giving the individual complete primacy over any sense of obligation to a
larger connection with the polity, and removing the role of the state
in protecting the commons

"There are levels of survival we are prepared to accept".

chauncey devega said...

Not hyperbole. I am just asking you to live in a manner consistent with your principles. If you reject civil society or any broad sense of political community then one should live apart and separate from it.

Don't be an Ayn Rand talking all sorts of philosophy about the individual and the evils of "collectivism" and then die on the dole getting public aid.

CNu said...

I'm fine with civil society. But flatly reject your absurd definition of what my - or any other productive citizens obligations are - to feeding those who do not feed themselves.

Every damn day I see these diminutive little Grimm's fairy tale Guatemalan women who've made it up from literal 3rd world subsistence hell, and who are pulling their own weight in an entirely alien cultural milieu.

If they can do it, anybody can do it, and anybody incapable of doing it, well, I don't see the upside to subsidizing their continuing theft of public oxygen.

Constructive_Feedback said...

Ted Parker:

Is it YOUR OPINION that the "Obama Supporters" are FREE FROM HATRED?

When you say "WE" - WHO IS THE "we" that you speak of?

Does the $16.5 Trillion in Fiat Currency make you pause about this "Bottom Rail" theory that you have?

Constructive_Feedback said...

[quote]Obama and his advisers decided some time ago to pursue an austerity-lite plan. The Republicans want to destroy the federal government and radically renegotiate the social contract. [/quote]

I love you brother DeVega - but you have a bad case of conscious trichinosis

WHAT is is based upon?

Are you able to TRANSFER your "Contract Proceeds" to any other Black Diasporatic enclave that needs your jewels more than you do?

If its YOUR'S - then why not?

chauncey devega said...

"conscious trichinosis"

Does that cause diarrhea?"Are you able to TRANSFER your "Contract Proceeds" to any other Black Diasporatic enclave that needs your jewels more than you do?

If its YOUR'S - then why not?"

I ain't no charity. My taxes are too high anyway. We have crooks at the top and con game hustlers at the bottom. Both need to be in jail.

CNu said...

The Hon.Bro.Preznit.Double-O CUH-LEARLY defines the cutting edge of "tough-love" societal evolution for his staunchest supporters and defenders
said supporters and defenders getting EXACTLY the leadership they uncritically endorsed on purely racial bona fides - rather than history, loyalty, policy or any other demonstrable black partisan record.

CNu said...

oh, and as the black side of Rome burns, having been stacked mile-high with sequestration kindling by the Hon.Bro.Preznit - MHP on the air quoting Biggie and excoriating Scalia.

Priceless comedy gold being mined in the black public intellectual sphere this weekend.

Adam H said...

Did you read this op-ed?: ( ) I hope it's true. Not only is Obama (If he is in fact the author of these measures) going to label austerity a toxic brand of politics, and thus weaken the Republican party's only differentiating agenda, "Gov't spendings the problem", but it could also result in dems getting a house majority at midterms. This would be a great victory, and one perhaps unlikely to happen again for a while (

I know it may be wishful thinking, but I'm holding my breath for yet a better outcome, while acknowledging that it may crush thousands of honest and well deserving families and individuals in the process.

Bad Company said...

I can see him now, with a fat stogie, kickin back with his A-team. (Austerity): "Don't you just luv when a plan comes together?"

Constructive_Feedback said...


ADAM H!!!!! Wake UP!!!!

IF $85 billion in cuts is "Armageddon" - what do you think will happen if the $1,000 billion in annual spending deficits and the $16,500 billion Federal debt is reckoned with?


Did a WEAKENED REPUBLICAN PARTY help keep the economic of Detroit together?

Bad Company said...

The banksters are celebrating. "Our bought and paid for president has completed his mission!"

Adam H said...

I did in fact read the article before I posted it. I just don't think there is a bankster agenda here. It's entirely political: Republican GOP want's austerity, we'll give it to them by making cuts primarily to their constituents. The whole myth that dems like spending and republicans don't is so wrong. When republicans say they don't like spending, what they really mean is that they don't like spending on liberal policies.

Well it seems the 'mismanaged' white house is making them eat there words. Meanwhile the Republican GOP has their pants down, and are saying , "well when we said spending cuts, we didn't really mean cuts on this stuff".

Moreover the accusation that Obama is somehow being unfair in all this is completely ludicrous, he was reelected with a clear mandate to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, not to cut spending. Should Obama being playing ball with the American people or congress?

After all, who would ever get elected with the campaign slogan "Best horse-trader in Washington"?

For better or for worse, I disagree with Mr. CD that Congress won't be held accountable for this. I think in fact that it's not only likely, but it's the best possible outcome. Obama should not back down on his agenda; not when his position is so strong. The bigger picture is that with these cuts, Obama may be able to spend more than he might otherwise, by permanently making toxic the brand of "budget reduction" politics.

Adam H said...

That's just it. I don't think the "debt", or spending deficit needs to be reckoned with. Our country as a superpower was built off of Keynesian economic policy, and there is absolutely no evidence that national debt is a "problem" that needs to be solved. It's a talking point that scares people because they think a government should run like a household.

Bad Company said...

Too bad prez doesn't realize this: 'there is absolutely no evidence that national debt is a "problem" that needs to be solved'. Guess he's just not that bright.

Or maybe he does realize it and just wants to pull the austerity lever anyway. 'Cause his religion, neoliberal economics, tells him its the thing to do. So what if a few poor people get crushed. The suffering of the poor and middle classes is a price he's willing to pay for a solution that cannot possibly work. Now, what is it called when you cause harm without justification or reason? I think it's called evil. Satan sandwich, anyone?

Bad Company said...

Here is an apt description of our Trojan Horse faux liberal prez and the damage he is doing:
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and
*he wears their face* and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Adam H said...

I don't think I understand where you're coming from. At least where it might be a response to anything I've said. I don't agree with your analysis of the prez. I think he's a good politician with an objective that I tried to lay out.

I also don't think Bush was a fool. I think he was a brilliant tactician (or at the very least had brilliant handlers). Google, "Stephen Skowronek, Bush Presidency/Campaign" He's got a great couple of essays on Bush's political maneuvering and heresthetics... Not to be too nit picky or anything.

They're all wolves in sheeps clothing my friend -- it just depends on which wolf is fighting for what you believe in... which I'd be curious to know for your part?

Bad Company said...

That's just it. I'd be pleased as punch if Obama was fighting for me. He isn't. He's fighting for the banksters. He only pretends to be fighting for me. He's a betrayer. And as stated above: A murderer is less to fear.

Bad Company said...

"I don't think I understand where you're coming from"

Here's where I and Gaius Publius, Americablog, am coming from:
"We now have stunning confirmation that Obama is using the sequester “battle” as blackmail to get his Grand Bargain (Grand Betrayal) passed — and that ***“entitlement” benefit cuts are, and always were,*** part of the plan. It could not be more clear.

Barack Obama wants to cut entitlements, and he’s using the sequester to do it. This, and no other reason, is why the sequester is happening.

The person who made the statement quoted in my headline — that cutting entitlements is “in the DNA” of the sequester — is Gene Sperling, a “top economic aide” to Barack Obama, and someone who knows what he’s talking about."

What an asshole Obama is.