Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Debt Ceiling Follies

The plotline of the latest Debt Ceiling Theater series is so hackneyed, so predictable, and so formulaic that you might be tempted to think that an AI program wrote it instead of the usual neoliberal suspects. 

It's all playing out pretty much as I'd predicted in my last post. Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy and various White House transplants from Wall Street all got together in a secret location to make the rewarding of the rich and the killing of the planet  and the fighting of endless wars for profit all seem like panaceas compared to deliberately crashing the entire global economy.

The main difference in this season of DCT is the lack of feisty courageous characters making their traditional fuss and thus extending the contrived suspense. The package already has gotten out of the relevant House committee, after just one GOP hard-liner "extremist" quickly bowed to pressure and relented to a full floor debate and vote. 

 For their own part, House Dems are making nary a peep. Of course, just  the right number of liberals will be allowed to vote Nay, for purposes of maintaining their alleged progressive cred, allowing them to brag to their constituents that they fought tooth and nail against this abomination of a bill. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the first renegade out of the pack to announce her own Nay vote. 

“My red line has already been surpassed,” Ocasio-Cortez said last week. “I mean, where do we start? [No] clean debt ceiling. Work requirements. Cuts to programs. I would never – I would never – vote for that.”

She should have used the more linguistically correct "My red line has already been crossed - not surpassed. But to be fair to her,  Joe Biden and his bipartisan buddies actually did not simply saunter past her thin little red line. They ignored it, flying high above it at supersonic speed. They seem confident that neither AOC nor Senator Bernie Sanders will ever call for a primary challenge to Joe Biden, or hurl personal insults at the corrupt Democratic leadership. AOC, in her use of "surpassed," has acknowledged that the neoliberals and neocons in charge of the place are superior to her. Her tacit meaning, what with her timid use of the passive voice (The line was simply ignored, not that Biden deliberately ignored it)  is that she believes that Biden and his bipartisan claque deserve to win.

 Notice, too, how quickly AOC's call for the president to invoke the 14th Amendment or to order the minting of a trillion dollar platinum coin has likewise plummeted down the memory hole.

Other "progressives," meanwhile, are merely leaning toward a No to a bill that enacts cruelty just for the sake of cruelty.  Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal is only "concerned" that middle-aged poor women on food stamps will initially be bearing the brunt of the social cuts.  Because going into full outrage mode apparently is a leap too wide for Jayapal to take over her own yellow-hued line in the sand. She is not even planning to send Biden one of those strongly worded letters in order to express her mild disappointment. It would never do to get shunned like she did not so very long ago when she politely wrote Biden and asked him to consider diplomacy to help end the Ukraine proxy war with Russia. It would never do to ask her party to be kinder to poor people who will now be forced to work or jump through more hoops for their paltry SNAP (supplemental nutrition) stipends. It would never do to point out that cutting these benefits is tantamount to class-based misogyny - not when Donald Trump is waiting in the wings to be cruel to women of all classes, including his own. The #MeToo ethos is mainly the property of women who don't have to go on food stamps in order to live. It's not geared to the basic human right to survive. It's geared toward the neoliberal objective of women breaking the glass ceiling and making as much of a six-figure salary as men do.

The sickening reality is that the people who manufactured this false crisis are actually patting themselves on the back for their "rare" burst of bipartisan upper class solidarity. They simply do not care about the rest of us. They know full well that poor people relying on the SNAP program  to pay for less than half their monthly nutritional needs don't have lobbyists or lawyers to represent them. They are disposable. The cuts are made to send a message that you don't count as a human being unless you have money. You need to be shamed, and you need to be made an example of for your own failure to lie, cheat and steal your way to the top, as these politicians and their lackeys and their funders have done. The proud display of cruelty is their whole point.

Only a sociopathic leader like Joe Biden can travel to, of all places, Hiroshima to canoodle with his fellow hawks to map out the escalation of the Ukraine war. Only a sociopathic leader and his G-7 cronies could have chosen such a tragic venue, the site of the first atomic bombing of innocent human beings, to announce his approval of nuclear-capable fighter jets for Ukraine. The fact that Biden then skipped a climate summit for the sole purpose of making a deal that rewards the worst polluters -  US-based energy companies and the US military - with unlimited funds speaks whole pathological volumes.

Meanwhile, they are reverently joining in solidarity to congratulate oligarchic war criminal Henry Kissinger on his 100th birthday.

The US Health Care System: Disemboweling the Demos (h/t Bill Hogarth)


Anonymous said...

Biden swore no 14th during "negotiations" on cuts. Now he might us 14th to ram through the cuts.

DebC said...

Darlin' your analysis and commentary of it all is THE SHIT!! Thank you for always being honest and real about this shit-show we call America!!

VLT said...

You nailed it, Karen. This debt ceiling crisis has been so predictable that I barely paid any attention to it.

VLT said...

I know that this doesn't have anything to do with the debt ceiling, but as a citizen of both Australia and the U.S., and a strong proponent of free speech and an uncorrupted media, I follow the Julian Assange case closely. While our gutless prime minister has reluctantly spoken out - a little - and our previous PM was out and out hostile to Assange - more and more members of Parliament are taking a stand, led by Independent, Andrew Wilkie. If it is OK with you, I'd like to pass on this short video.