Call it the Nightmare Before Christmas, literally and figuratively. For the second time in as many months, our elitist Northeast has been pummeled by a freak storm. Floods last month, pre-Halloween blizzard yesterday, along with the obligatory power outages. Thanks to those readers who expressed concern, and mea culpa for my lack of blogitude these past several days. Laziness, coupled with an episode of climate change Armageddon that was amazingly unhyped, for a change.
So what did I miss during my blackout? Well, Old Man Austerity is making a comeback along with Old Man Winter. Apparently, the Grand Bargain is being rebargained in the Super-Committee Politburo. Apparently, these apparatchiks have not been paying attention to OccupyWallSt. The Democrats are offering chained COLA in Social Security, again. The Republicans are refusing to even consider tax increases, again. Stalemate! Congressional approval rating plummets to nine percent! (I have a feeling the nine percent comprise members of Congress, their families, their bloated staffs, their lobbyist bribers, and members of the corporate media whose lives and livelihoods depend on nonstop access to Spin City).
The Washington Post is running an outrageous front-page story claiming Social Security is going broke. Of course, it isn't. The trust fund is flush with cash, even though it's been raided and the government doesn't want to put back what it "borrowed", and current revenues are less than in previous years because of the tax holiday and unemployment. Paul Krugman has the most cogent explanation. It's short, and it won't make your head explode.
Meanwhile, according to "The Hill", the usual suspects are predicting a market crash unless the Super Committee does something. The Third Way, a neoliberal think tank with close ties to Senator-with-Close-Ties-to-Wall Street Chuck Schumer, is warning of a possible downgrade by Fitch and Moody's unless we cut, slash and burn to appease the investor class. This includes cuts to the Social Safety net. By cutting off Grandma's meds and doctor visits, we can have an infrastructure bank and build some bridges. It's the centrist American way.
My favorite line from The Hill article: "Supercommittee failure would undermine the credibility and political clout leaders need to sell their constituencies on continued deficit reduction, they argue."
(Read the whole article if you dare. It is absolutely guaranteed to make your head explode).