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Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:13 AM

The "Fix" Is In: Laying Bare Some Sequester Lies



Chris Cillizza, writer of "The Fix" for The Washington Post,
speaking at the Miller Center, May 18, 2012.
(Photo: Miller Center)


The "Fix" Is In: Laying Bare Some Sequester Lies
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Tuesday 26 February 2013

With the sequester ax trembling over the neck of the nation, everyone in the "news" media seems desperate to toss their two cents into the well...including, apparently, some who would be wise to remain in the children's pool, lest they drown trying to stroke out to deeper waters. Enter Chris Cillizza, keeper of "The Fix," perhaps the most useless corner of the Washington Post next to the ink that publication sadly donates to the incoherencies of Jennifer Rubin.

Mr. Cillizza's "Fix" is the Post's failed-hipster answer to those who enjoy the vacuity of horse-race politics. For reasons passing understanding, the powers-that-be at the Post gave Cillizza an outlet to explain - ever without basis beyond his own dubious lights - who's up, who's down, who won, or lost, in any particular political situation. "The Fix" is a triumph of flash over substance, written with wanna-be-clever insider snark for those in DC who still think the internet isn't a real thing yet. Plainly put, Cillizza, as a journalist, is taken about as seriously as the vapid quislings who wait around red carpets to make fun of celebrities' outfits.

This is why Cillizza's article on Monday morning was so remarkable. The guy tasked to make obnoxious judgments on the surface of politics somehow won the chance to dabble in the depths and the details, and came off exactly as one would expect: like someone living in a bubble who would not get the point if it was nailed to his forehead.

For the record: the sequester, slated to take place on Friday, is a series of massive cuts to both the defense industry and the social contract, created as a hard deadline by a pack of Washington politicians who decided they could not get anything done unless they put calamity on their doorstep...but now that calamity is here, eager idiots like Cillizza have been stepping up to argue that the evisceration of the Federal budget is not actually a big deal. Hence, the article titled "Why We Need the Sequester" made its odious debut.

In it, Cillizza takes on the apparently-offensive poll numbers stating that Americans - gasp - enjoy the goods and services provided to them by the government they've been funding with tax revenues, and in nearly every instance want those services expanded. His take:

What those numbers make clear is that most people live in a fantasy world where overall federal spending decreases even as spending on virtually every federal program increases. Given that "reality", it's uniquely possible that only through crisis - manufactured or not - will people come to grips with the fundamental paradox at the center of their thinking of what the federal government should or shouldn't do.


Ermahgerd, what do we do? According to Cillizza, the American people are a pack of indolent, greedy layabouts living in a "fantasy" world where the social services they've paid for are not affordable.

Hm.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which costs around $400 billion, was recently globally grounded due to a crack in an engine fin, a new reason among many others why no one wants this plane to begin with, yet it keeps getting built. The V-22 Osprey has been killing Marines for years now, yet it also keeps getting built, to the tune of $35 billion.

Cancel these two "defense" programs that don't work and are not wanted by the service branches expected to use them, and...gosh. That's $435 billion we just saved, along with the lives of any number of servicemembers.

Two programs.

$435,000,000,000.00

The rest: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14793-the-fix-is-in-laying-bare-some-sequester-lies

19 replies, 2595 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply The "Fix" Is In: Laying Bare Some Sequester Lies (Original post)
WilliamPitt Feb 2013 OP
TwilightGardener Feb 2013 #1
DURHAM D Feb 2013 #2
TwilightGardener Feb 2013 #3
BlueStreak Feb 2013 #5
TwilightGardener Feb 2013 #6
BlueStreak Feb 2013 #4
frylock Feb 2013 #13
AlbertCat Feb 2013 #15
BlueStreak Feb 2013 #16
DhhD Feb 2013 #7
DhhD Feb 2013 #8
Enrique Feb 2013 #9
NewJeffCT Feb 2013 #10
NewJeffCT Feb 2013 #11
Duval Feb 2013 #12
Oilwellian Feb 2013 #14
NewJeffCT Feb 2013 #17
BlueStreak Feb 2013 #18
GiveMeFreedom Feb 2013 #19

Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:18 AM

1. F-35 isn't going anywhere:

(posted by unhappycamper)

Despite a 12-year history of cost overruns and technical problems for a program that now is expected to cost almost $400 billion, the latest setback, for the time being at least, is seen as no more than that; just another setback.

"There is absolutely no backing away from our commitment to the F-35 program, Little said.


http://www.democraticunderground.com/11792825

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:23 AM

2. Chris is a joke.

Whenever his face shows up on my tv (usually on A. Mitchell or Tweety) a voice in my head just starts running a loop - blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...

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Response to DURHAM D (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:25 AM

3. He simply absorbs what everyone else seems to be saying, and presents it

as his own analysis. Utterly useless.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:29 AM

5. He may be worse than average, but this is how EVERYONE from the Beltway thinks

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:35 AM

6. Yes, but because he's such an obvious, shallow regurgitator, he's an easy target

for ridicule.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:28 AM

4. I definitely agree, but we should understand those are make-work projects

As worthless as the output is, a lot of people do get employed in the process. So simply cutting those programs with no corresponding action is not an option any more sensible than anything Cilliza writes.

Once we come to realize these (and most other defense programs) are little more than the modern WPA projects, the question becomes, "How can we take that same money -- or even a bit less than that same money -- and put it to work in ways that will both employ people and add to the nation's overall good?"

There are many good answers to that question, because just about any activity leads to greater good than building killing machines that don't even work.

Let's see. A fighter aircraft that we don't need for today's threats and that isn't reliable enough to be used anyway versus high-spped rail connecting the big population centers? This should not be a difficult question. One wonders why that is not the nature of the debate.

And one wonders how, after seeing 3 years of abject failure by the Euros with their abstinence-only economic policy, any American politician should be allowed to talk about more austerity for America without being challenged in the slightest. When did austerity ever get any nation out of economic problems?

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:57 AM

13. we can make-work by employing people to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure..

rather than continue to throw good money after bad on these useless death toys that don't work.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:28 PM

15. a lot of people do get employed in the process.

Maybe they can make solar panels and wind mills without cracked fins...

It's not like there's nothing to do around here, y'know.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 01:04 PM

16. Exactly. And that is the discussion that is missing.

Instead the Obama administration is running around like a bunch of Republicans, talking about how America's "defenses" will be ruined if we spend only 50% more than the next 10 armies COMBINED. I realize there is only so much they can hope to get and they won't get anywhere if they move too far from the far right "center of gravity" BOTH parties have moved to since Eisenhower's day. But really, we need to be having a serious discussion about the $1 trillion we spend every year on our military systems (including hundreds of billions that are laundered through secret CIA budgets.

When was the last time any of this was used to DEFEND Americans? How much did any of this do for us on Sep 11? And how much LESS safe are we when we bomb the hell out of the rest of the world every year?

Do we really need 100+ bases all over the world? Can Japan and Germany afford to carry their own weight now?

When we look at the people who are actually paying significant amounts of Federal Income Tax, this works out to about $10,000 a year on average each of us is spending on this military system.

Remember, Medicare and Social Security are insurance programs that everybody pays into. They are self-funding. Take that off the table. What remains is overwhelmingly military payments. That is the huge part of the budget that is not in self-funding insurance programs. Why are no questions asked?

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:56 AM

7. $435.000,000,000.00 will provide unemployment insurance payments and job training to send

workers into the various infrastructure and green energy jobs. It will be a opportunity to modernize. It will be a time of suffering while the change over occurs. Congress could pass a Food Bill to separate food and food stamps from the Farm Bill. Bill cleaning is an opportunity also.

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Response to DhhD (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:58 AM

8. The F-35 Program needs to be Bill cleaned.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:59 AM

9. "Washington Post Lets (anti-Social Security) Lobbyists Write Its Stories"

Cillizza knows who's paying the bills...

http://fair.org/take-action/action-alerts/washington-post-lets-lobbyists-write-its-stories/

The Washington Post's publication of a "news" article written by an organization created to advance an ideological agenda is a troubling reminder of the declining ethical standards at one of the nation's most influential newspapers.

The article, headlined "Support Grows for Tackling Nation's Debt" (12/31/09), was a product of the Fiscal Times, described in an accompanying note as "an independent digital news publication reporting on fiscal, budgetary, healthcare and international economics issues." More accurately, it's a propaganda outlet created and funded by Peter G. Peterson, a Wall Street billionaire and Nixon administration cabinet member who has long used his wealth to promote cuts in Social Security and other entitlement programs (Extra!, 3-4/97; Nation.com, 1/4/10).

(...)

Based on the Fiscal Times' first offering in the Post, though, what it actually offers is a bias that's widely shared by corporate media outlets. The piece, by Elaine S. Povich and Eric Pianin, takes it as a given that the "tough decisions that will be required to dig the nation out of debt" include "painful spending cuts and tax increases"--and when they say "spending cuts," they're talking about the "skyrocketing spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security," not the $663 billion military budget. (See Guardian, 1/4/10, for Dean Baker's debunking of the piece's Petersonian economics.)

Of course, this kind of deficit-mongering is par for the course in outlets like the Post (Extra!, 9/09). But it's doubtful that the Post on its own would have made controversial claims about powerful politicians--like the assertion that "President Obama has voiced support" for an entitlement-slashing commission, or that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "has signaled in recent weeks that she could accept the establishment" of such a panel--without offering any substantiation (Fire Dog Lake, 1/5/10).

(...)



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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:06 AM

10. They've already spent a lot of that F-35 money

the cost has gone WAY over the original estimates, but a lot of it has already been spent. The program touches jobs in 46 states, I believe, so even liberals/progressives will be fighting to keep it.



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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:09 AM

11. the best way to cut defense spending

1) Bring home the troops from Afghanistan
2) Close half our bases overseas and relocate the troops there to some place stateside. This has the added bonus of those troops that are spending their money in other countries now spending their money here as well.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 11:15 AM

12. Sound advice, WRP! n/t

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 12:25 PM

14. I was just listening to Rendell discuss the need for "entitlement reform" ...

as I read your piece. Imposing the chained CPI on SS and disability benefits IS what the New Democrats support, and it will be Obama's crowning achievement for the oligarchs.

Oh, and I agree, Cillizza is hideous. Thank you for shining a light on his vapid self.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 02:34 PM

17. FY 2013 expense for the F-35 is $9.4 billion

FY 2013 expense for the Osprey is $2.1 billion.

(BTW, "Star Wars" is $7.5 billion in FY 2013...)

I believe well over half the $400 billion has already been spent on the F-35.

According to Juan Cole here, he conservatively estimated we spend $65 billion/year on overseas military personnel - not counting the $100 billion we spend for the war in Afghanistan.

http://www.juancole.com/2012/12/americas-achipelago-of-garrisons-abroad-costs-1-trillion-a-decade-vine.html

Cut that overseas total in half to $32 billion, and you've saved double the 2013 cost of the F-35, the Osprey and Star Wars.





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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #17)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 03:01 PM

18. We have to start somewhere. Maybe it is too late for the F-35

But if it is truly a system that can't effectively be used in any realistic threat situation, then we should still cut our losses.

Your point is well taken that we need to stop the "Next F-35 program". Is that possibly the drone program? That has largely been done under the CIA. And why is that? Is it because drones are inherently secret weapons (doubtful) or is it because nobody wanted the public to find out how many billions we are spending on those damn things?

And certain things are obvious. We most certainly don't need to be stationing US military personnel in 130 nations on 761 bases worldwide. That's an easy one to cut with only minimal impact on US jobs.

http://www.alternet.org/story/97913/the_us_has_761_military_bases_across_the_planet,_and_we_simply_never_talk_about_it

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Response to WilliamPitt (Original post)

Tue Feb 26, 2013, 03:45 PM

19. Marking for later read K&R

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