Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Another Year, Another Deal

So, did you have an exciting New Year's Eve? I sure did. I wore a tacky necklace made out of purple beads and a plastic shot glass, watched a bit of Twilight Zone marathon, switched over to CNN to watch the orgy, and switched off the TV the minute the ghoulish ricti of Shrillionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his union-busting, Occupy-evicting girlfriend Diana Taylor appeared. It could always have been worse. At least he wasn't tonguing Lady Gaga this year.

"It could always have been worse" is the conventional wisdom of the Great Fiscal Cliff Averting deal apparently reached last night when I was all wrapped up in little Billy Mumy turning people into jack-in-the-boxes. At least we are waking up to a temporary continuation of unchained Social Security checks, and another measly year of subsistence unemployment benefits for a handful of jobless people, and not being turned into jack-in-the-boxes. So who can really begrudge the rich for getting their permanent tax cuts on their first half a mil, and the spawn of millionaires never having to pay a single penny of tax on the first many millions of their inheritances? It's a balanced approach. That is, if you equate pensioners eating a third meal with Paris Hilton being able to buy a third Porsche. Or conversely, pensioners scrimping on medication at the same time Paris Hilton writes out a check to the IRS on the petty mad-money million not stashed away in an offshore account. 
Paul Krugman has a cogent rundown of What It All Means. My response: 

Look at this way. The Republican-spawned phrases "fiscal cliff," "kick the can down the road," "job creators". and "double down" have now all been banned from the lexicon by Lake Superior University. Of course, the GOP will balk at this list, accusing the college of elitism because of its very name, and because it makes fun of rich people.

But to be serious (they should also have banned that one, along with "grand" and "bold"), the worst thing about this deal is that the gifts to the wealthy are permanent, and the crumbs thrown to the poor and middle class will be gone in a few years at most. As far as I'm concerned, this is political malpractice. It's a crime that the crisis of unemployment is not being addressed, other than to sustain a minimal standard of living for the chronically jobless for a maximum of only one more year -- and for only relatively small group of people.

Of course, we'll be called purist ideologues for not falling in line with the "don't let the perfect be the enemy of good" pragmatism that is trying to disguise itself as the new progressivism. But this time around, I do see some of the Obama personality cult being chipped away, which is a hopeful sign as far as citizen resistance is concerned.

Meanwhile, our elected leaders will have to be watched like hawks (they forgot to remove "deficit hawk" from the lexicon, too!) as they try to bargain away the New Deal under the auspices of yet another manufactured crisis.

Happy New Year, everybody!


Jay - Ottawa said...

This just in: Electorates habitually vote against their own self-interest.

Third party candidates most likely to do the right thing last November were ignored millions of times over as the mass of voters concluded beforehand that their choices were limited to candidates of the two major parties, parties that repeatedly failed them in the recent past. Now a few in the electorate are newly resentful when euchred by the wheelers and dealers they so recently put in charge, even though it was clear the same old candidates would continue to betray the public interest.

Being “realistic” means voting with a clear head against one’s own interests. Being realistic means taking a hand in our own undoing. Being realistic means simultaneously being the screwer and the screwee.

Democrats are correct when they say that the voters, almost half of the electorate, who voted for Romney and other luny Republicans were politically stupid. Romney never had the backs of the people who voted for him, the 1% excepted.

Democrats congratulate themselves for voting for Obama, who got slightly more than half of the nation’s vote. Obama is different. Obama will surrender our interests forever with a tear in his eye. For that tear we should be grateful. And, just maybe, that half of the electorate who voted Obama and his flaccid Democrats back into office is no less stupid than the people who voted for Romney.

James F Traynor said...

It's 3:00am in the political morning. They're snoring away, and them that ain't are groggy from the night before. Just read an article in the NYTimes obliquely lauding the the Latvian economic cure - slavery. Now's the time. The election of Obama, no victory by a long shot, gives us that time. For myself, I'm joining the Green Party. Looking forward to 2014. Or the next election for dog catcher - whatever.

Denis Neville said...

Eleanor Roosevelt was once asked how her husband’s polio had affected him. She replied, “Anyone who has gone through great suffering is bound to have a greater sympathy and understanding of the problems of mankind.”

Franklin Roosevelt empathized with the poor and the underprivileged, with people to whom fate had dealt a difficult hand. He was able to put himself in their shoes.

“We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, we now know that it is bad economics.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt

“We are here to celebrate your achievements.”- Christine Lagarde, IMF Chief, in Riga, Latvia last summer

The Latvian people were told they must suffer “shared sacrifice.” (where have we heard that before?)

The Austerians have their leeches and they applaud the bleeding as both moral and necessary. Bleed them until their morale improves! Then bleed them some more.

Some achievement! Latvian unemployment fell slightly less than six points, while emigration rose five points as young Latvians fled their homeland, some to Ireland for Christ’s sake!

The Austerians love this sort of human emigration (self-deportation).

And forced-deportation. In Germany, many elderly Germans are increasingly being sent (deported) to cheaper retirement and long-term care accommodation in Eastern Europe and Asia in an austerity move.


This is what Americans will soon face.

The Austerians also love apathy - “What can you achieve in the street? It is cold and snowing.”

Our government, political parties and institutions have failed and betrayed us. Understand what leeches do.

The only hope will be in the streets. If we’re not...

As Karen said, they’ll soon be back to bargain away the New Deal under the auspices of yet another manufactured crisis.

Suzan said...

Thank goodness (goodness?)!

We agree on what's upcoming.

Love ya and happy holidays!


we'll be called purist ideologues for not falling in line with the "don't let the perfect be the enemy of good" pragmatism that is trying to disguise itself as the new progressivism.

Zee said...


Is the "forced deportation" of Germany's pensioners a consequence of statist "austerianism," or is it the result of the same demographic changes that the U.S. will soon face?

"Germany's chronic care crisis – the care industry suffers from lack of workers and soaring costs – has for years been mitigated by eastern Europeans migrating to Germany in growing numbers to care for the country's elderly." --The Guardian

How does a state with dwindling, young, labor resources support a rapidly ageing populace?

By all accounts, Germany's economy has been doing pretty well, with only about 6-7% unemployment, much lower than other European states such as France, Spain and Italy:



Germany is already in the mid-range of taxation in relationship to other countries in Europe:


Germany doesn't have the huge defense spending that we have here in the U.S. that could be tapped to care for the aged in our country.

So where is the additional money to come from to care for Germany's aging population? Indeed, if their economy is in better shape than much of the rest of Europe, why are they facing this "crisis?"

I'm not asking just to be a conservative pain in the butt.

I'm asking as one who is curious and probably not as well informed as you.

What is Germany's "local" answer to this problem? Higher taxes on the rich?

Just askin'.

Pearl said...

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/02-4#.UOTo3F1V2e8.twitterProgressives:Washington's Fiscal Deal a Predictable, Terrible Mess | Common Dreams

This column had several analyses by progressives touching on the problems inherent in the fiscal cliff negotiations going on. You can lose your mind trying to follow the ins and outs and ups and downs during these past days but it is obvious that anyone with a brain sees disaster on the horizon. Basically until and when real change from the foundation begins to shift, there will be no end to the arguments, distortions, misrepresentations ,personal attacks, etc. It is like having an endless extension of a votingcampaign going on indefinitely.
I had one thought watching Obama and his many speeches daily, is it at all possible that he really sees disaster on the horizon and knows why but can no longer control its direction? Blaming the Republicans for everything, as even Krugman tends to do, is a distraction, and when Obama blames the opposition for refusing to pay for running up the debt, how can he honestly believe we don't see him continuing the same bankrupt policies? A simple thought, but besides the real progressive thinking along these lines, how about the rest of the democratic party voters who put him back in office? Has anyone interviewed them lately? It will be interesting to see how this plays out and wonder what our President (whom I didn't vote for) will say at his State of the Union speech among other events coming up.

Thanks Karen for keeping us on our toes with the current facts of political life.

Will said...

Good morning, fellow Sardonickists. (I like this variation on our name. Sounds dangerous!)

Couple of items today. First, an article about how corporate tax credits got in our fiscal cliff deal thingy:


Second, a scene from HBO's "The Newsroom" that's been around for 6 months or so. Saw it for the first time today and thought y'all would enjoy it: