It's Monday morning in America. That means we're about to endure another week of pointless debate over the precise methods by which our Federal government will impose more needless misery on the hapless population, instead of addressing its eminently fixable economic problems.
Readers of our nation's newspapers might be forgiven for believing that the citizens of our nation have been condemned to some sort of quotidian hell as punishment for our collective crimes, where we must suffer the pangs of deprivation while listening to endless debates about how best to compound our misery.
Which reminds me: Is it time for Meet the Press yet?
The "sequester" debate is the latest stage of an ongoing hostage crisis that's forcing austerity economics on an unwilling population -- cloaking it in a false debate about how to do it, not about why we shouldn't do it at all.
"The president says he has to have tax increases to head off the sequester," says Republican Rep. Martha Roby. "Well, he already got his tax increase."
Rep. Roby is referring to the last "crisis negotiation" over the national budget, which occurred way back in ... let's see when was that? ... Oh, yeah: Seven weeks ago. Time flies -- except when it doesn't.
The "tax increases" that the President "already got" were less than the ones which would've taken effect automatically if there had been no deal at all.
Well played, Sir.
Meanwhile austerity continues to devastate the economies of Europe, sapping the wealth and well-being of the majorities and increasing (rather than lowering) those deified deficits. Austerity's beginning to weave its dark magic here, too. So surely we're finally having the debate we should've been having all along, right?
The President is once again boasting of past spending cuts, even as their harmful effects ripple throughout our economy. He's giving immediate deficit reduction a higher priority than much-needed investment. And he's proposing two dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in revenue, which is a pretty right-wing way of going about it.
A White House web page lays out the President's "pre-conservativized" negotiating position, thereby ensuring the final result will be even worse. And the web page's heading speaks of a "Last Offer to Speaker Boehner," a phrasing which linguistically places the nation's Chief Executive in the position of supplicant to the leader of the lower chamber of the legislature.
Well played, Sir.
The President is insisting on $100 billion in cuts to Social Security payments for the elderly and disabled -- an offer which Republicans have shrugged off but which he has placed back on the table again and again. Those offered cuts are accompanied by other proposed cuts to Medicare, which seem to include limitations on a choice of medical providers. (We'll be looking for clarification in the next few days.)
The President is also proposing further cuts to the postal service, which will mean more lost jobs. And some of his "nondiscretionary savings" -- e.g., "reform TSA security fees" and "strengthen solvency of UI (unemployment) trust fund" -- look a lot like regressive taxation that's been run through Mr. Orwell's Newspeak machine.