Anyone who has read The Shock Doctrine
understands exactly what this “Fiscal Cliff” scare is.
If you have already read The Shock Doctrine
Naomi Klein you have probably been rolling your eyes at all this
“Fiscal Cliff” scare talk. “Here they go again” you’re thinking… If you
haven’t read the book, you should. You really, really should.
The Phony “Fiscal Cliff” Scare
the end of the year the Bush tax cuts expire. When this happens tax
rates will rise modestly to where they were when Clinton was President.
Also at the end of the year budget “sequestration” occurs. This means
that the various cuts Congress approved to end the debt ceiling “crisis”
will begin to phase in. (Remember, the debt-ceiling “crisis” was when
Republicans refused to allow the country to honor its debts, holding the
economy hostage, unless they got deep budget cuts in the things We the
People do for each other.)
That’s it. That’s the “crisis.” All of
the people who had been hysterical about the budget deficit “crisis” are
now hysterical that taxes will go up and spending will go down. Go
figure. Maybe — just maybe — I shouldn’t even say it — these “serious
people” weren’t … serious … when they said they were worried
about the deficit. You see, the hysteria now is because tax rates at the
top will go up (cutting the deficit), and because a big part of those
budget cuts (cutting the deficit) is military spending. Unfortunately
the sequestration also cuts important things that help a lot of people
and our economy. But these cuts do not take place all at once (a
“cliff”), they will be phased in over time, and the Congress can act at
any time to halt any of these cuts.
The “Fiscal Cliff” is not a cliff and the language itself is intended to scare people.
The name itself is designed to create panic, evoking disaster imagery
of people and the economy falling off a cliff. It is the latest
manufactured “crisis” and we are all supposed to be terrified and demand
immediate and extreme solutions.
Again, the very people screaming
loudest about deficits are the people who passed tax cut after tax cut,
and military spending increase after military spending increase, and
started war after war. Then these same “serious people” terrify the
public, telling them that budget deficits will lead to the destruction
of the country — and soon. After a decade of screaming “9/11,” “9/11,”
noun verb “9/11,” they screamed “deficit, deficit, deficit.” Now they
scream, “fiscal cliff, fiscal cliff, fiscal cliff.”
Then after the
public is suitably stirred up and terrified they offer “solutions” they
say are necessary to cut the scary deficit (that they caused, for this purpose).
And the fixing all has to happen right now, in the “lame duck” Congress,before those new legislators We, the People elected can take office.
The “Grand Bargain”
The “serious people” are pushing for a “grand bargain” that they say will “solve” the “deficit problem” “once and for all.”
course, nothing in any “grand bargain” can bind the Congress, and any
part of this “grand bargain” can and will be undone by Congress at the
The outline of this “bargain” involves “tax
reform” and “getting a handle on entitlements.” Tax “reform” does not
involve raising tax rates on the wealthy, it “reforms” taxes by getting
rid of various deductions andlowering tax rates. “Getting a
handle on entitlements” means cutting Social Security, Medicare,
Medicaid, Food Stamps and the rest of the things that We, the People do
for each other — the things we are entitledto as citizens in a democracy.
— Social Security by law can not and does not contribute to the deficit
— they just threw it in because it is “in crisis.” The Social Security
“crisis” is that under certain economic projections its funding might
run a bit short many years down the road. Compare this possible future
shortfall to the huge, vast, bloated, enormous military budget which,
unlike Social Security, has no separate funding mechanism and runs 100%
short every year. But that is not a “crisis.”)
So a fix
for a budget problem caused by cutting taxes, massively increasing
military spending and crashing the economy will be “solved” by … not
fixing those things. Once again the income and wealth of the
country will be shifted away from We, the People and upward to the same
1% who have been benefiting from everything in our economy since the
election of Ronald Reagan and the disaster-capitalism formula: cut
taxes, raise military spending, then use the resulting deficits to scare
people into accepting extreme “solutions.” Rinse and repeat.
The Shock Doctrine
The Shock Doctrine is
a book by Naomi Klein that describes a “disaster capitalism” strategy
used by wealthy and powerful people to take advantage of crises — even causing crises
— to herd people into accepting “solutions” to those crises that really
just enrich the 1% at the expense of the rest of us.
In times of
crisis (real or perceived) the public is in a state of shock, distracted
and ready to grasp at straws to get out of the panic. This is the
perfect time for “serious people” to come in and offer pre-planned
“solutions.” These solutions usually involve privatizing public
institutions and wealth, cutting public services, cutting taxes on the
rich, seizing property, lowering wages and pensions … well, just look at
Europe’s “austerity” and you get the picture.
disaster capitalism model has become standard practice. We see this
happening over and over again: crises occur or are manufactured, the
media whips people into a panic, and then the “solution” is introduced.
The solution involves a “reform” that transfers wealth or institutions
into a few private hands.
The Real Problem And Real Solution
have a jobs problem, not a deficit problem. The best way to deal with
the deficit is to put Americans back to work. The real job creators are
working people with money in their wallets. We can’t cut our way to
growth. These are not just slogans, these are solutions to real
We need to invest in our economy, restoring and
modernizing our infrastructure, retrofitting our homes and buildings to
be more energy efficient, upgrading our public schools and universities,
and fighting to create the manufacturing ecosystems for the new
industries of the future,. All of these investments create jobs while
they are underway, and pay off by improving our economy for the long
by reading The Shock Doctrine
. Inoculate your friends by telling them about the book, and how this game works, over and over again.
“Nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes.” — Republican Majority Leader Tom Delay, 2003
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