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Wed Nov 14, 2012, 06:48 AM

Fiscal Cliff Scare Talk Follows Shock Doctrine Script

http://www.alternet.org/economy/fiscal-cliff-scare-talk-follows-shock-doctrine-script



If you have already read The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein you have probably been rolling your eyes at all this “Fiscal Cliff” scare talk. “Here they go again” you’re thinking… If you haven’t read the book, you should. You really, really should.

The Phony “Fiscal Cliff” Scare

At the end of the year the Bush tax cuts expire. When this happens tax rates will rise modestly to where they were when Clinton was President. Also at the end of the year budget “sequestration” occurs. This means that the various cuts Congress approved to end the debt ceiling “crisis” will begin to phase in. (Remember, the debt-ceiling “crisis” was when Republicans refused to allow the country to honor its debts, holding the economy hostage, unless they got deep budget cuts in the things We the People do for each other.)

That’s it. That’s the “crisis.” All of the people who had been hysterical about the budget deficit “crisis” are now hysterical that taxes will go up and spending will go down. Go figure. Maybe — just maybe — I shouldn’t even say it — these “serious people” weren’t … serious … when they said they were worried about the deficit. You see, the hysteria now is because tax rates at the top will go up (cutting the deficit), and because a big part of those budget cuts (cutting the deficit) is military spending. Unfortunately the sequestration also cuts important things that help a lot of people and our economy. But these cuts do not take place all at once (a “cliff”), they will be phased in over time, and the Congress can act at any time to halt any of these cuts.

The “Fiscal Cliff” is not a cliff and the language itself is intended to scare people . The name itself is designed to create panic, evoking disaster imagery of people and the economy falling off a cliff. It is the latest manufactured “crisis” and we are all supposed to be terrified and demand immediate and extreme solutions.

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Reply Fiscal Cliff Scare Talk Follows Shock Doctrine Script (Original post)
xchrom Nov 2012 OP
HereSince1628 Nov 2012 #1
sabrina 1 Nov 2012 #2
xchrom Nov 2012 #3
Major Nikon Nov 2012 #11
mother earth Nov 2012 #4
mmonk Nov 2012 #5
LittleGirl Nov 2012 #6
Granny M Nov 2012 #10
LittleGirl Nov 2012 #17
Civilization2 Nov 2012 #7
magical thyme Nov 2012 #8
OnyxCollie Nov 2012 #13
marmar Nov 2012 #14
marmar Nov 2012 #9
BlueStreak Nov 2012 #12
Lucy Goosey Nov 2012 #15
xchrom Nov 2012 #16
phantom power Nov 2012 #20
xchrom Nov 2012 #21
kentuck Nov 2012 #29
mother earth Nov 2012 #30
democrattotheend Nov 2012 #18
Mr. Sparkle Nov 2012 #19
xchrom Nov 2012 #22
xchrom Nov 2012 #23
Proud Liberal Dem Nov 2012 #24
JEB Nov 2012 #25
Peace Patriot Nov 2012 #26
mother earth Nov 2012 #31
riderinthestorm Nov 2012 #27
kentuck Nov 2012 #28
RepublicansRZombies Nov 2012 #32
libodem Nov 2012 #33
TeamPooka Nov 2012 #34
woo me with science Nov 2012 #35

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 06:56 AM

1. Yes, brinksmen are greatly aided by belief in being at the brink. n/t


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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 07:09 AM

2. It's getting harder for them to fool people, isn't it? Ten years ago I probably

would have believed every word of it. But that was a long time ago and everyone has learned an awful lot since then.

One thing I've learned is that when they come up with odd phrases to explain things that can easily be explained in normal, ordinary language, they are trying to fool people.

'Fiscal Cliff', 'Austerity' 'Share the Sacrifice' 'Derivatives' 'Chained CPI' 'CDS/Credit Default Swaps' etc etc.

Always beware of people who avoid using plain language. Michael Moore asked a Wall Street guy in Capitalism A Love Story if Wall St. hired people like him, a Harvard Grad, for the sole purpose of inventing language that the rest of us could not understand. He admitted that this is what they do.

Nearly every credible economist agrees there is no fear of us falling off any 'fiscal cliff' and if there was, there are easy ways to avoid it, none of which involve SS.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #2)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 07:17 AM

3. ...

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #2)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:53 AM

11. It is a cliff for the GOP

Half of the budget cuts come straight out of the military. That means defense contracts get suspended (perhaps never to return). Meanwhile the public is going to be complaining about the affect of the rest of the budget cuts will have on government services and they will blame the GOP for it just like they did when Newt tried shutting down the government for a few days.

The Democrats hold all the marbles this time and the GOP will (or at least should) be made to back the fuck down. It will be the first of many for them.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 07:49 AM

4. How right you are. The soap opera with 2 generals thrown in as a side-show while the cliff dangles.

No grand bargains, and an end to Bush tax cuts. Let the House be forewarned, going against what the people want will be their own undoing.

Are they kidding? They are willing to let military spending be halved? Next the Brooklyn Bridge...at a bargain price. Cut the military, go ahead, make my day....start with Xe & Halliburton, start with those lying, cheating, murdering profiteers.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 07:54 AM

5. Yep. And unlike other countries where these policies

have been forced and the people rebel, years of steady propaganda have made Americans passive.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 07:57 AM

6. Klein is a genius

I read the book. I learned so much about disaster capitalism and about democracy. And I read Howard Zinn's book "the People's History of the United States" which I feel added to that knowledge. I am forever grateful to both authors for showing me the 'light'. KnR

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Response to LittleGirl (Reply #6)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:51 AM

10. Two of my favorite books.

Everything made a lot more sense in the light of what I learned from these two authors.

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Response to Granny M (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:37 AM

17. agree: both books created a massive attack on

what I thought I knew about history and politicians. I had to put both books down in frustration but then had to pick up within hours to find out what happened next. I cried and felt shame. I'll never celebrate Columbus day again and I'm half Italian to boot!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:11 AM

7. End the tax cuts for the 1%, it was an election promise.

 

"President's position - Since the budgetary and economic impact is due to existing laws, Congress would have to pass new legislation and have the President sign it into law to avoid the cliff. Since a Presidential veto requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate to override, a Presidential veto of attempts to avoid the cliff would likely ensure that significant deficit reduction would occur. The President has promised to veto any attempt to bypass the cliff that does not include expiration of tax cuts for the wealthy." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_fiscal_cliff

Obama should be held to this promise!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:21 AM

8. I haven't read the book, but have read enough DU and been screwed over enough to know

"Fiscal Cliff" my ass.

The big question is what do we do?

My guess is:

1. Let the President know we get it and will not support caving to GOP/1% demands over taxes.

2. Write letters to the editor whenever and wherever possible, cluing in the rest of the population that there is no fiscal cliff.

Thank you for the critical bullet points:

* Taxes will rise modestly to Clinton-era levels. Remember Clinton? Back when the economy was booming?

* Military and social spending cuts will be phased in. Those cuts can be stopped at any point in time, and the cut $$ can be retroactively restored as needed.

* Social Security is not part of the budget and need not, and should not, be touched.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #8)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:27 AM

13. Clinton's economy was built on credit card debt

Home equity and lots of low interest credit card offers inflated the economy during the 90's.

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Response to OnyxCollie (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:29 AM

14. Yep. It's very easy to wax nostalgic at the Clinton years.......


...... without looking at the reality of it. Lots of illusory phantom wealth, put on steroids by GWB ..... and it went "Pop!!!" in 2008.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:31 AM

9. Yup. k/r

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 08:57 AM

12. Can we stop caling military increases "cuts" please?

All they are talking about is reducing the Pentagon budget so that it grows at a slower rate, even though we have ended the Iraq war and are ending the Afghanistan war. If they keep using the word "cut", then let's see some real cuts. We can easily take $100 Bn a year out of defense and still have a military larger than the next 8 armies COMBINED.

And while we're on the subject of Frank Luntz-style wordsmithing, maybe it is time to stop calling it "Defense". When was the last time our military was used on defense? Seems to me we should be calling it the Department of Offense.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:31 AM

15. Everyone who wants to understand how the world works...

...should read The Shock Doctrine. Seriously.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:33 AM

16. Already? Obama Tells Supporters to Expect 'Bitter Pills'

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/11/14

n a conference call with key supporters Tuesday night, President Obama urged Democratic activists to stay engaged in the coming budget negotiations concerning the so-called "fiscal cliff" but also telegraphed plainly his intent to give away much in his showdown with Republican lawmakers

As the Huffington Post, who listened in on the call, reports:

The president, speaking from a White House phone, cautioned listeners to expect disappointments during his second term. As he has in the past, Obama warned that he was prepared to swallow some bitter pills during the negotiations, including some that would agitate the base.

"As we move forward there are going to be new wrinkles and new frustrations, we can't predict them yet," he said. "We are going to have some triumphs and some successes, but there are going to be some tough days, starting with some of these negotiations around the fiscal cliff that you probably read about."

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Response to xchrom (Reply #16)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:45 AM

20. I'll never understand why people think this pre-compromise bullshit is OK.

If Obama would say something more like "Here's what I'd really like to do, but the American people should prepare for getting less because Boener and the House Republicans are going to obstruct it", that would be reasonable.

But it's always framed in some kind of a-partisan vacuum. "Hey, it's just compromise"

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Response to phantom power (Reply #20)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:49 AM

21. +1

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Response to phantom power (Reply #20)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 12:20 PM

29. +1000

That is above some heads.

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Response to phantom power (Reply #20)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 12:25 PM

30. I'd like to see a little ass kicking, if only verbally, bipartisanship got us more of the same BS.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:37 AM

18. It would hurt public sector workers a lot


At a time when state and local government services have been cut a lot, cutting the federal workforce would hit public workers hard, not to mention the services these agencies provide. As it is, federal workers have had their pay frozen for the last couple years, and getting promoted has been very difficult due to the hiring freeze.

Selfishly, as a law student hoping to work for the government, I am praying that sequester doesn't happen because it will most likely mean the elimination of the honors programs I applied to. I worked at a federal agency over the summer and it was clear to me that they need more funding and more lawyers, not less.

I know a lot of people demonize public sector workers, but they do important work, not to mention that they are also consumers, homeowners, etc. Laying them off has an effect on the private sector, whether people want to acknowledge that or not.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:39 AM

19. The way i understand it is with both combined spending cuts and tax increases

as they currently stand , will take a lot of money out of the marketplace, so much so that it will tip the economy back into recession.

The President wants to keep the tax cuts for the poor and middle class to minimize this risk and hopefully be able to spend the tax increases on job creation.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 09:53 AM

22. Wall Street Uses "Liberal" Front Group to Lead Its Assault on Social Security

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/11/14-1



Third Way, lobbyists for and from Wall Street who are leading the effort to enrich Wall Street by privatizing Social Security, was created by Wall Street to fool some of the people all of the time. I have written previously here and here to expose their fictional claims to be a moderate or liberal Democratic group.


Eric Lautner documented Wall Street’s effort to become even wealthier by privatizing Social Security in articles and his recent book (“The People’s Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan (AK Press)).

I showed that Third Way makes itself useful by providing a faux “liberal” or “moderate” “Democratic” quote machine that can be used to discredit Democrats and Democratic policies such as the safety net. I gave examples of how Third Way gave aid and comfort to the effort to defeat Elizabeth Warren and the effort to unravel the safety net. Third Way continues to prove that you can fool some of the people all of the time.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:01 AM

23. America on the edge of a 'fiscal cliff'? No, it's the right peddling scare stories

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/12/america-fiscal-cliff-scare-stories


Americans are not about to have a collective Wile E Coyote moment, paddling furiously in mid-air. Photograph: Warner Bros/Everett/Rex Features


The morning after Barack Obama's re-election, panic broke out. Radio 4 described financial markets slumping on worries over something called a "fiscal cliff". The New York Times, normally drunk on its own sobriety, warned of a "looming fiscal crisis". Other newspapers and TV networks predicted an economic "abyss", "peril", even "imminent armageddon". And that was before you got to the blogs.

The clock is ticking, apparently. Obama has until New Year's Eve in which to strike a deal with the Republicans – otherwise nearly 50 tax cuts will expire and the defence department alone will get slapped with $1.2tn in cuts. Unless the Democrats give the Republicans what they want in the form of further tax giveaways for the richest, the senator Mitch McConnell and his rightwing allies will block any attempt to extend borrowing – with disastrous economic consequences. It sounds like a budgetary version of the film Speed; but this is the fiscal cliff Washington is driving off. And the result will be another recession in the US (and, more likely than not, around the world, too) and soaring unemployment. No wonder ABC News calls it "taxmageddon".

There is just one problem with this version of events: it's exaggerated. Distorted. More spiced-up than a bargain balti.

For a start, the very term is wrong. Even if the most bloodcurdling predictions are borne out, there will be nothing cliff-like about 1 January 2013. Americans are not about to have a collective Wile E Coyote moment, in which they suddenly find themselves paddling furiously in mid-air – before the inevitable descent begins. This isn't a cliff-edge at all; it's more of a slope.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:20 AM

24. The most astounding part of this whole "crisis"

is that the Republicans were the chief architect of it- in the name of getting serious about the debt/deficit and are now basically trying to wriggle out of the deal. They decided last year that they wanted a huge showdown over the debt ceiling, which, of course, led to the failed supercommittee, which then led to the sequestration deal that the Republicans are upset about. They are even rewriting history to make it look like President Obama forced them into the deal.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:54 AM

25. The Fiscal Cliff

is the compromise, made in order to get R's to raise the debt ceiling. So it is the Grand Bargain. Off the cliff we go.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 12:10 PM

26. We need to take lessons from the highly successful Latin American leftist democracy movement...

...because their defiance of "Shock Doctrine" dogma and policies has resulted in...guess what? ... prosperity for all. Steep drops in poverty. High economic growth rates. High employment rates. Good wages and benefits. Big increases in access to education and health care. Burgeoning of middle class ("upward mobility"). And more. And they've done all this ("New Deal" policies creating prosperity) quickly, over the last decade, after decades of "shocks" by U.S. and European financiers and half a century of gross exploitation and interference.

Another surprise (for those who depend on corporate 'news' monopolies for their perception of the world): Venezuela leads the region in the above list of "New Deal" policies, maintained a sizzling 10% economic growth rate during the 2003 to 2008 period (most of the growth in the PRIVATE sector, not including oil), suffered only slightly in the Bush Junta "shock wave" with NO CUTS in social programs, is back up to over 5% economic growth, was recently designated "THE most equal country in Latin America" by the UN Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean, and Venezuelans rate their own country FIFTH in the world in the Gallup "Well-Being" poll (measure of personal well-being and future prospects).

Similar story in Brazil, in Argentina, in Bolivia, in Ecuador, in Uruguay and other countries with leftist governments. Defiance of Wall Street and other U.S. propagandists on a host of critical issues--including big government spending, strong government regulation of the banksters and other 1%-ers, fair taxation, good wages/benefits, strong labor unions, many kinds of subsidies for the poor ("bootstrapping"), nationalization for scofflaw corporations, national ownership of major resources and use of the revenues for social spending, encouragement of small business and co-ops and more--are the keys to prosperity for all. "Austerity," on the other hand, is key to prosperity for the 1% with guaranteed poverty for the 99%.

The countries with rightwing governments--U.S. client states--are in the shits, with the highest poverty rates in the region, huge discrepancies between rich and poor, vast and ruinous exploitation of resources by multinational corporations, and other economic, political and social destruction, often accompanied by U.S. "war on drugs" militarization and consequent military/police fascism, rightwing death squads and bloody horror against labor unions and other advocates of the poor (Colombia, Honduras) or general bloody mayhem (Mexico).

U.S. "free trade for the rich" and the U.S. "war on drugs" have gone hand in hand, in Latin America, and only the countries that have stood up against these programs of imperial conquest are prospering.

We also suffer from both--the "war on drugs" with the "prison-industrial complex" and vast loss of civil rights, and "free trade for the rich" (outsourcing of jobs to the cheapest labor markets abroad, CEO/big investor looting of good companies, grand theft in the credit market, etc.)--plus the oil wars. We are now getting "shocked" with "austerity."

After close attention to the leftist democracy movement in Latin America, I can confidently tell you two of the main keys to its success: 1) honest, transparent elections*; 2) grass roots organization.

We don't have the first condition for "New Deal" reform--which is also the first condition for democracy: honest, transparent elections.

In fact, our vote counting system--all of it run on 'TRADE SECRET' code owned and controlled largely by one, private, far rightwing-connected corporation (ES&S, which bought out Diebold)--is easily--EASILY!--riggable. Privatized vote-counting is a disgrace to democracy and it is the final blockade to reform. That has to change before we can get to square one on serious reform. We really need to understand that Obama is president by permission of the far rightwing, which also has the power to saddle him with a Diebold Congress. It is plainly obvious that the House of Representatives is NOT representative of the American people, not even close. It is also obvious that Obama is shackled.

Also, the second lesson from Latin American "New Deal" reform--the requirement of grass roots organization--will forever be frustrated, and our people more and more depressed and demoralized, and in danger of social chaos and bloody repression, without honest, transparent elections. Honest, transparent vote counting has to come first.

Grass roots groups have put forward enormous election efforts in this country, not just for president but also for Congress, for state governor, etc., and have often been dumbfounded by their losses in contests they should have won, and then suffered something more: the inability to continue participating in the political process, due to depression, demoralization and lack of resources. It is expensive and exhausting to be a grass roots activist, especially in a country that does not encourage public participation and, indeed, in a country where the government often greatly discourages public participation and adopts the culture of corporate secrecy to prevent the public from knowing what is going on.

"TRADE SECRET" code in the voting machines! Jeez. Could it be any clearer?

Latin America has been through all this before us. They were among the first to be "shocked" by the "Shock Doctrine." We need to learn from them. It took them decades of hard civic work to create honest, transparent election systems--but once they got the election systems democratized, economic reform quickly followed. We need to do that hard civic work, and we need to do it soon. We need, first and foremost, to restore PUBLIC vote counting.

------


*(Venezuela uses electronic voting but it is run on OPEN SOURCE code--code that belongs to the PUBLIC and that anyone may review--and they do a whopping 55% audit (comparison of ballots to electronic totals)--more than five times the audit needed to detect fraud in an electronic system. Jimmy Carter recently called Venezuela's election system "the best in the world." His is correct. I've looked into it myself. There is none better--and, as a consequence, Venezuelans now enjoy universal free medical care, universal free education through college, many other "New Deal"-type benefits and general prosperity.

(By comparison, our system is run on 'TRADE SECRET' code--code that the public is FORBIDDEN to review--and half the states do NO AUDIT AT ALL, while the other half do a miserably inadequate 1% audit. Our vote counting system is made-to-order for fraud by the far right and the transglobal interests they serve, whether gross reversals of outcomes or subtler manipulations (such as getting us all to forget Bush, Cheney & Rumsfeld, while tying Obama down with a grossly unrepresentative Congress, and with a far right-skewed false political dialogue on all of our public airwaves and in corporate-controlled print media). We mustn't be fooled by Obama getting elected. Believe me, his mandate has been shaved and he is in bondage--as are all of our Democratic leaders--to ES&S, the most evil corporation that has ever stalked a democracy.)

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #26)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 12:33 PM

31. Bravo, a lot to be learned, we can no longer pretend American exceptionalism if we don't practice it



Let's not forget Iceland and all the progress they've made once realizing the true enemy. Nary a word spoken in that liberal media.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 12:11 PM

27. Really good point. K&R nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 12:17 PM

28. Yep!

I think most DU'ers understand this. I think?

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 12:45 PM

32. They weren't serious about the debt, but we should use their own BS against them

 


If they really care, they will follow the last great Republican president Eisenhower, who knew to be fiscally responsible tax rates had to be high until the cost of WWII was paid off.

He didn't want to look like the asshole who left a pile of debt for his grandkids while hoarding a bunch of money in the Cayman Islands.

Why don't the current Republicans feel that way?

They need to be made to look like the assholes they are.

What kind of family values are those?


And if they still want to make cuts, WE WON the election, we will be deciding where the cuts will be


They want cuts- Let's make a list of acceptable cuts- Oil Subsidies (DUH!)
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021816406

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 02:09 PM

33. Exactly

They put in all the automatic defence cuts and cuts to programs during a recession, to hold us hostage, to put the country in ruin if they don't get it right for the, Kock brothers, whom they represent, not the people.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 02:10 PM

34. k&R

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 02:11 PM

35. AUSTERITY! AUSTERITY!

If there is any danger involved here, it comes from embracing austerity, not ignoring the deficit.

This whole debate is about much more than just Medicare and SS. It's about slashing trillions from the budget when hundreds of economists have warned that budget slashing is exactly the wrong thing to do. Deep cuts in the budget will cause untold pain. Medicare and SS are not the only items in the budget that the poor and the middle class depend upon.

It's about the direction we choose to take as a country, and it looks like our Democrats are embracing corporate-Republican talking points AGAIN about what is good for our economy.

Austerity and budget slashing will harm millions, slow the economy, and make things WORSE.

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