LABORnotes 11 12 2012 “Seniors and supporters demonstrated in nearly 100 cities to stave off cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. They demanded “hands off” the programs and an end to tax cuts for the top 2%. If Congress and the President reach a “grand bargain” in the lame-duck session, seniors, the poor, and the disabled will pay for it—and it won’t be a good buy. … a deal that would give the Republicans something they want—cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—in exchange for something the president wants: letting the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy expire on December 31.”

After months of vigorous campaigning for Obama, the AFL-CIO and allies made a “hard pivot” and held picket lines and other actions in close to 100 cities November 8, demanding that the lame-duck Congress keep its hands off.”

Obama has already given away the game. In exchange for a minor tax hike for the rich he’ll let the Republicans begin the process of gutting Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid in much the same way and for the same reasons he gutted the ‘single payer’ and ‘public option’ alternatives, abandoning health care reform for insurance reform. (In the late forties and the 1950′s tax rates on the rich were realistic as you can see in the graph below (2). Two things are of note – the low tax rates just before the Depressions of 1929 and 2007 and the 90% tax rates on the rich under Truman and Eisenhower.

A look at what would happen if we fall off the fiscal cliff was recently published by the Washington Post, and deserves serious study.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/what-going-over-the-fiscal-cliff-would-mean—/2012/11/11/5cc99fbe-2c2f-11e2-a99d-5c4203af7b7a_graphic.html

Whether Obama and Congress push us off the fiscal cliff or drop the Austerity Bomb the wages and benefits of workers will continue to fall catastrophically, the Depression will deepen (3)  and unemployment will rise (4), as they did in Europe under the impact of German ordered austerity measures.

A few months ago I published a post with the title Καλώς ήλθατε στην Ελλάδα! (Welcome to Greece). We’re a lot closer to that situation now. In fact, we face a crisis. Since the Carter and Reagan administrations the looters -the ruling class – have campaigned to lower wages and bust unions, (5) and make no mistake about it this latest development will be a major blow to our standard of living and a big victory for the rich.

It will also inevitably deepen the radicalization and expose the misleaders of the AFL-CIO and CTW, creating new openings for the growing union left and the smoldering movement of the un and underemployed. Now the tables will be turned and for the looters and the banksters things are about to get interesting, in the Chinese way.

(1) Brian Beutler of Talking Points Memo seems to have been the first to use the phrase “austerity bomb” for what’s scheduled to happen at the end of the year.AMERICAblog.com

(2) http://taxtherich2012.org/uploads/2/9/2/1/2921341/2069710.jpg?621

(3) http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/11/14/opinion/111412krugman1/111412krugman1-blog480.jpg

(4) http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/11/15/opinion/111512krugman1/111512krugman1-blog480.jpg

(5) http://my.firedoglake.com/donal1944/2011/10/06/the-perfect-storm/