Ironies and paradoxes and incest abound in today's New York Times. The government is close to calling some of those bad Libor miscreants to account at the very same time one of the chief Libor enablers (Timmy Geithner) is negotiating with Congress on our supposed budgetary behalf. A former Goldman Sachs trader is close to being indicted at the same his unindicted boss is negotiating with Timmy Geithner on his own budgetary behalf: how deeply to cut the social safety net and further enrich himself and his fellow plutocrats.
Meanwhile, a very disturbing story about how both political parties are shafting the poor has been buried, inexplicably, in the Style section of The Times, under a subsection cutely called "Motherlode -- Adventures in Parenting!" The editors of the Gray Lady must think that people getting kicked off their heat, rent and disability assistance is a thrilled-packed Odyssey. Poor people are now equitably sharing space with society brides! It must be the new shabby-chic! See, things can't be as bad as all that.
The latest slant in the interminable Fiscal Cliff Disaster Theater coverage is not what Barack Obama will inevitably cede to the deficit scolds of the ruling class, but how he has miraculously discovered his own rock-hard, macho mojo. The pseudo-liberal class is thrilled that at long last, Barry hasn't caved before he's even started. He has left John Boehner in a state of sputtering impotence. The Democrats have political capital to spend, and they're on a spree. Root root root for the hometeam. Call Congress and tell them you want #My2K. (However, if you aren't solidly middle class or higher, with an internet connection, forget about it. The Democrats do not want to hear about your day care subsidies being slashed. Refer again to that buried Times story.)
Paul Krugman has pivoted back to reveling in Republican stupidity after a couple of great columns attacking bipartisan austerity. The commenting choir is harmoniously celebrating right along with him, paying little to no heed to the bitter pill Obama has already promised his loyal base. It's Give Em Hell Barry time in the land of kool-aid.
This time is different, insist even some erstwhile Obama critics from the left. Adam Green of Progressive Change, for example, gushes:“Eventually the Republicans have to name names on the cuts they want to make. They’ll likely propose entitlement benefit cuts, and then the president will hopefully be able to come back with budget cuts that don’t take a single penny from benefits.”
So stay tuned for the next episode, in which shocked Democrats arrive back in deja vu territory. The president has already vowed to cut "entitlement spending", that annoying austerian term for the taxpayer-funded insurance programs of Social Security and Medicare. He embraced Bowles-Simpson in his acceptance speech as stunned Democratic partisans dutifully cheered anyway. Never mind that the B-S Plan was shot down a long time ago. Its two zombie perpetrators have been reanimated as senile rock stars (The Debt Duo) who are making $40,000 a pop speechifying on how much fun it is to hate on poor people. They're getting puff-pieced to death by the corporate media, while society's victims are being spread-sheeted to death.
As the Roosevelt Institute's Bryce Covert writes in his ignored Times post, low-income Americans are the ones who will disproportionately suffer, grand bargain or no grand bargain. Watch for the national poverty rates to shoot up again next year as both parties blithely snip away at the safety net and we all grovel at Obama's feet for saving the lucky-ducky average middle class family two grand.
Forget about a war on poverty, though. It's a war on poor people, and it's bipartisan. But whatever -- as long as Barack got backbone.