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Goldman Sachs’ Blankfein issues Obama his orders

12:57 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

Lloyd Blankfein a few hours ago:

“Broadening the personal income-tax base by closing loopholes will generate substantial additional revenue while minimizing increases in marginal rates that could stifle risk-taking and robust growth.”

Republican Senator Boehner talked the loopholes scam a week ago and I assumed “his side’s” initial negotiating position would be President Obama’s final one, but now the money has spoken and said the same as Boehner.

So, we can be certain — markets, are you listening? — here’s how it will go down:

In the end Obama will enthusiastically extol ‘closing loopholes’ — which will take the rich and their tax attorneys five minutes to figure out how to get around — and that will be what ‘our side’ gets. No change in tax rates on the 1%. On the other hand, the 1% Democrats and Republicans will get definite and painful cuts in Medicaid and Medicare, and a perhaps smaller cut in Social Security that won’t be called a cut (it’ll be called ‘a change in the way cost of living adjustments are calculated’), but that will amount to a 3% slash after ten years, 6% after twenty, and so on.

If Romney were President I don’t think he would be able to get away with this … but he was worser evil-wise, apparently.

‘Social Contract’ in this Age of Austerity

12:03 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

Great comment on the British riots at Lenin’s Tomb:

Paul Lofthouse 2 days ago

It is in a way odd that the mainstream portrayal of these riots is opportunistic thieves because if the only thing maintaining the social contract is the police then the media is essentially admitting that for sizeable segments of British society the status quo holds no benefit. All stick and no carrot so to speak.

EDIT: Also the involvement of gangs seems to be being mentioned more frequently. Again the fact that these youths are resorting to alternative social organisations is not an excuse to handwave their concerns away but another sign of how mainstream society has failed them.

So the social contract — provisionally accepting the notion just for sake of argument and possible insight – according to the politicians and 24/7 media/propaganda now goes like this:

“You must obey the law.” [That's it, that's now the whole social contract.] 


“Because if you don’t we’ll catch you and punish you.”

“What if that’s not true, what if I run fast? What if the punishment is not severe enough, cost-benefit-wise?”

Anyway, there’s no liberal bleating to strip away during this Age of Austerity. The PTB as much as say the social contract is “Do as we say or we punish you.” No talk of benefits — ‘Keep yah nose clean kid and there’s a union factory job in it for yah’ — it’s now just about screwing people over and calling out the police thugs to deal with the resulting anger.

I don’t see that holding. 

Reading the post ”Could the Riots in England Have Been Averted?“ – a post in denial about why multiple non-violent protests over police violence got no media attention and no response from the British government — inspired more  ’social contract’ thoughts. Here’s a slightly expanded/modified version of my comment:

fairleft August 11th, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Looking more widely, beyond the issue of deliberate police violence, I think you misunderstand the power relationship between the police and the political status quo and the formerly non-violent rioters.

True, the riots occurred at least in part because numerous non-violent protests and marches were ignored. But why were they ignored? No, not because police and politicians “need formal training in understanding civil citizen action, and how to respond to it as part of a relationship.”

No, non-violent protests were ignored because the ruling class has no satisfactory response. The only ‘response’ would be:

“We’re taking more for ourselves now, so there’s less for you. You’re understandably angry about that, and that’s why we’ve upped police violence: we think social control over people we’re putting the squeeze on is easier to maintain when the police are violent thugs.

So yeah, you figured it all out, congratulations and f#@%kin’ boo hoo for you.”

The ruling class have made their play over the last several years. An Age of Austerity is the final step, and a permanent one if they can maintain it. The only question is will their media and police power win them that future?

See also:

‘The Austerity Crusade’ Wins in Greece

Black Hoover & The Austerity Crusade

‘Shared Prosperity’ is anti-neoliberal meme. What’s the program?