Thanks to the Daily Howler for pointing out the perfect portrait of the U.S. media/political elite, i.e., the ‘they’ that is the enemy of the rest of us:
NYT’s Mark Leibovich: On a recent Friday night, a couple hundred influentials gathered for a Mardi Gras-themed birthday party for Betsy Fischer, the executive producer of “Meet the Press.” Held at the Washington home of the lobbyist Jack Quinn, the party was a classic Suck-Up City affair in which everyone seemed to be congratulating one another on some recent story, book deal, show or haircut (and, by the way, your boss is doing a swell job, and maybe we could do an interview).
McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, arrived after the former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie left. Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren had David Axelrod pinned into a corner near a tower of cupcakes. In the basement, a very white, bipartisan Soul Train was getting down to hip-hop. David Gregory, the “Meet the Press” host, and Newsweek’s Jon Meacham gave speeches about Fischer. Over by the jambalaya, Alan Greenspan picked up some Mardi Gras beads and placed them around the neck of his wife, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, who bristled and quickly removed them. . . .
Yes, that was former Fed Chief Alan Greespan, Ayn Randian most responsible for the deregulated crap storm we’re doomed to experience forever (i.e., until us average working people overthrow the neoliberal corporate-globalized market fundamentalists). And his wife, insider neo-journalist Andrea Mitchell.
And what are ‘they’ in an uproar about right now? No, not 10% official (near 17% unofficial) unemployment in the U.S. Nope, deficits; government deficits during a very deep recession when we desperately need economic stimulus have got elite knickers all in a twist:
NPR’s Mara Liasson: Washington is gearing up for a big debate: What to do about the exploding national debt, the unsustainable annual budget deficits and what to do about the Bush tax cuts that expire at the end of the year. . . .
"The arithmetic is, unfortunately, quite clear," [Greenspan's successor, Ben] Bernanke said. "To avoid large and unsustainable budget deficits, the nation will ultimately have to choose among higher taxes, modifications to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, less spending on everything else from education to defense, or some combination of the above.
The Miami Herald: . . . the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform faces no easy task when it holds its first meeting on Tuesday, searching for a bipartisan consensus on ways to reduce the deficit to within 3 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product [yeah, the same stupid goal the European Union demands of its members; where do they come up with this crap?] by 2015.
Under Obama’s proposed budget, this year’s deficit is projected to reach $1.5 trillion, or 10.3 percent of the GDP, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. It’s expected to decrease slightly to $1.3 trillion next year, or 8.9 percent of the GDP, and to 4 percent of the GDP by 2014. The CBO says it will resume rising again after that, however.
This kind of thinking followed through on is potentially catastrophic, both for recovery from the recession and for the last strongholds of the welfare state in the U.S., health care for the aged and Social Security. And yet, how can we resist St. Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Bipartisan-in-Chief?
Marshall Auerback: President Obama has long decried our “out of control” government spending. He clearly gets this nonsense from the manic deficit terrorists who do not understand these accounting relationships that we’ve sketched out. As a result he continues to advocate that the government leads the charge by introducing austerity packages – just when the state of private demand is still stagnant or fragile. By perpetuating these myths, then, the President himself becomes part of the problem. . . .
Governments that issue debt in their own currency and do not promise to convert their currency into anything else can always “afford” to run deficits. Indeed, in this context government spending financially helps the private sector by injecting cash flows, providing liquid assets and raising the net worth of some or all private economic agents.
Unfortunately for Greece, Spain, and the other EU countries now and forever (or until us average working people yada yada . . .) victimized by global financial wealth suckers, they can’t issue debt in their own currency, having ceded that sovereignty for the borderless, deregulated, neoliberal dream.
So, okay, on the flip side what are the media/political elite celebrating now? That would be the recovery/’recovery’ of GM, which, responding to St. Obama demands that it cut wages and benefits and fire people in exchange for a government bailout – GM Bailout: Billions to Put People Out of Work – fired people and cut wages and benefits.
GM had 217,000 employees at the end of 2009, down 11 percent from the prior year.
Industry dropping wages and benefits and increasing unemployment, governments cutting deficits and the welfare state – the media elite celebrating the former and urging on or shouting TINA about the latter – how does all this produce anything except an ever-worsening spiral of economic misery?
I don’t know and they don’t care.
P.S. – A good read, from the Irish front:
Who is shouldering the burden of the recession? The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has this month released a report which seeks to answer this question.
The report argues that at the heart of government policy is a ‘determination to load the full cost of the collapse onto working people and the poor.’
The consequence of this strategy, argues ICTU, ‘could turn Ireland into a social and economic wasteland for a decade or more.’
In support of their argument ICTU examine the impact of recent budgets on wages, social welfare and pensions. The report outlines the loss of real income experienced by workers and the unemployed while highlighting those sectors of society who are gaining from the recession.
In 2009 300 individuals held a person wealth of €50 billion. Despite this, the total tax take from these millionaires was just €73 million. In the same year the budget took €760 million from social welfare claimants in cuts.
In 2009 the share of national wealth going to wages fell by €5billion while profits from trade, farming and rents are expected to rise by €3 billion.
These figures, and the disparities they highlight argue ICTU, are the consequence of a government policy that is determined to lower the cost of labour. And there is more to come. . . .
Oh yeah, they have much more in store for us. Unless the average working people yada yada yada.
[ Photo-enhanced version of above at http://pffugeecamp.com/diary/726/who-they-are-where-theyre-taking-us and http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2010/4/28/193537/425 ]