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Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:31 AM

 

Is this what we've come to?

Tomorrow Meatcleaver Austerity is set to hit the nation, rolling back whatever minimal gains this economy has made and sending back into the tailspin of another recession. Politicians aren't working frantically to avert this catastrophe, but are instead engaged in a mutual game of CYA, going out and trying to convince the public that their side isn't to blame for this onrushing disaster.

Meanwhile, the only other alternative to Meatcleaver Austerity is Austerity Lite, a proposal rolled out by the administration that includes closing some tax loopholes, but it would still cut spending which most likely will include cuts to SS, Medicare and/or Medicaid.

Is this it? Is this all our so called leaders can come up with, the choice between Meatcleaver Austerity and Austerity Lite? If so, then it shines a bright light onto how out of touch, out of ideas, and out of their minds our leaders in Washington have become.

Any first year Econ major can tell you that applying austerity measures in the middle of an economic downturn, or even when the economy is pulling out of such a downturn, is a certain recipe for disaster. We tried that back during the Great Depression, cutting back government spending in 1937, and that plunged the nation back into a recession didn't pull up for thirteen months, and really didn't end until we started gearing up for WWII. If that illustration isn't current enough, one has but to look across the Atlantic and see what austerity has done to Greece, Spain, and a large chunk of the EU.

But despite all of those examples, despite the wealth of experience we have, not a single person in power is speaking out against any of these austerity measures. We still need a major, WPA type stimulus, one that will employ millions, improve our infrastructure and save our economy. Yet hardly anybody, from the President to the Progressive Caucus, much less any Republican, is speaking up. You might here a few lone voices calling for these sort of measures, economists like Reich and Krugman, but they are outside the corridors of power looking in. Sanders has repeatedly called for such a stimulus, but he's not even a Democrat, and thus has little power.

Instead, it seems as though everybody from the President to Congress has bought into the notion that we've got to focus on cutting the debt, NOW, and their only disagreement is where to cut, and how deep to cut, whether to kill the economy with a meatcleaver or have it die the slow death of a thousand cuts.

I know, I know, I hear all those sensible woodchucks out there screaming that another stimulus is impossible, that we've got to achieve what is doable, not aim for pie in the sky. Well, first of all, we're not going to know if something is doable until we actually try to do it. Secondly, put your faith in the American people. Almost all of us are suffering out here in some form or fashion, unemployed, underemployed, taking major hits to our income, lost our retirement, lost our house, the list of problems is long and the misery index is high. The majority of Americans want real change, the last couple of elections have proven that. Instead of calling for Austerity Lite, the President and every single Democratic Congressman needs to be out on the stump, educating the American people about real solutions to these painful problems and getting them to rally behind a stimulus. If the sleeping giant of the American populace is roused, there isn't much that can stand against it.

Instead of offering the American people the choice between less shit and more shit, offer them a real option, a way out of the shit. Educate them that yes, we'll be going deeper in a debt as a nation, but in the end, the only way to eliminate that dept is by creating a robust, vibrant economy. Tell them that we can't cut our way to prosperity, but we have to grow our way to prosperity. All that this blame game and finger pointing on the eve of disaster does is turn people off. Offer the people a real change, real hope, and they will take it. Hell, they want it, they're begging for it. Isn't it time to give the people what they want?

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Arrow 38 replies Author Time Post
Reply Is this what we've come to? (Original post)
MadHound Feb 2013 OP
woo me with science Feb 2013 #1
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #27
Puzzledtraveller Feb 2013 #2
AndyA Feb 2013 #3
JaneyVee Feb 2013 #5
MadHound Feb 2013 #9
AndyA Feb 2013 #13
jambo101 Feb 2013 #4
MadHound Feb 2013 #10
Vincardog Feb 2013 #21
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #29
BlancheSplanchnik Feb 2013 #32
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #35
HereSince1628 Feb 2013 #15
99Forever Feb 2013 #6
L0oniX Feb 2013 #7
MadHound Feb 2013 #12
AngryAmish Feb 2013 #8
MadHound Feb 2013 #11
AngryAmish Feb 2013 #14
MadHound Feb 2013 #17
AngryAmish Feb 2013 #23
snappyturtle Feb 2013 #22
AngryAmish Feb 2013 #24
snappyturtle Feb 2013 #25
AngryAmish Feb 2013 #28
snappyturtle Feb 2013 #30
MadHound Mar 2013 #37
sadbear Feb 2013 #16
MadHound Feb 2013 #18
sadbear Feb 2013 #20
TheKentuckian Feb 2013 #31
sadbear Feb 2013 #33
TheKentuckian Mar 2013 #38
Hugin Feb 2013 #19
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #26
2naSalit Feb 2013 #34
CrispyQ Feb 2013 #36

Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:43 AM

1. Austerity is a scam,

and our government is purchased by those who will profit from it.

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 02:55 PM

27. Exactly !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! n/t

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:46 AM

2. They scuttled the ship, with all souls on board

but saved the life boats for themselves.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:47 AM

3. This is what I wonder might be happening

Since the Republicans have no one decent to run for President in 2016, the only way they can possibly win is to run another hypocritical idiot that they think America might be able to stomach. They expect the Democrats will have someone strong in the running, likely Hillary Clinton.

Hillary has done a GREAT job for the country the last few years, and most Americans like her and approve of her, so it's likely many would vote for her to be President. Anyone who had doubts before has seen her performance as Secretary of State, so much of the doubts are now gone.

So, the only way the GOP figures it stands a chance of winning is to force Americans into four more years of dire economic conditions. Unemployment must remain high, costs for groceries, gas, utilities, etc., must all continue to rise while take home pay decreases or remains stagnant. They must cut off government services to make things REALLY BAD for those who depend on them.

At that point, the GOP hopes the American people will be so angry at the Democrats, they'll vote for Republicans out of hope that by doing so, things will get better.

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Response to AndyA (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:49 AM

5. Yup, which is also their reason for the faux Benghazi outrage. They don't care about the 4 dead

They care about trying to get dirt on Hillary for a 2016 run. Nothing more, nothing less.

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Response to AndyA (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:54 AM

9. Well, first of all, that doesn't explain why the Democrats only answer currently is Austerity Lite.

 

You want to show off a real difference between the two parties, then start putting forth proposals and policies that offer real change, a WPA style stimulus bill, not just a "Grand Bargain" that means we bleed out slowly instead of dying quickly.

Second of all, if Hillary is elected, it is going to be another disaster for this country. Hillary, much like her husband, is simply another corporate Dem who will continue to advance the corporate agenda. She is no knight in shining armor, and a lot of people recognize that.

As far as what the 'Pugs and Dems are doing, simply offering us choices between more or less shit, all that does is insure that a lot of people will stay home in 2016 out of sheer disgust.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #9)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:00 PM

13. Sure. The Democrats are the lesser of two evils.

Sometimes, it's difficult to see the differences between the Dems and the GOP.

Truly progressive people don't stand a chance. Hopefully, we can get more progressives like Elizabeth Warren, Alan Grayson, Bernie Sanders, etc., in office at a local level and they can work their way up, but until that time, and barring a revolution from the American people, that's what we're going to get. The lesser of two evils.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:48 AM

4. A contrived event.

Another Engineered event specifically for the repubs/teabaggers to blame Obama
The Republicans have become sickening in their never ending propensity to whine and cry about just about everything and in the process not realize they are wrecking the country.

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Response to jambo101 (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:55 AM

10. So, why is the only solution that Dems are offering is Austerity Lite?

 

Why not come out strong for real change?

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Response to MadHound (Reply #10)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 01:13 PM

21. You know why. The Democratic "leadership" is bought and paid for by the same "Monied Elite"

as the GOP.

The SYSTEM is corrupt and we can expect no relief from anyone who works within the system.

You can not rise within the current system without selling out to the same interests resisting change.

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #21)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 03:01 PM

29. That, is exactly what is going on. Some still think this country is about people, well,

it hasn't been ... it's all about $$$$$ and frankly bribery and kickbacks to TPTB. It is a crooked, corrupt system. And those in the know ... know this is "exactly" what is going on. Americans need to wake up from their delusions and la la land, and understand how fucked up the system is. Most Americans are nothing but dirt under the wheels of TPTB.


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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #29)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 05:13 PM

32. in order to wake up, most people need somethi g to wake up *to*

That's what's so frustrating. The conservative undertow blocks new ideas from gaining good momentum. So many people dependent on superstition and leaving everything up to the Big Guys Upstairs.

That's a situation ripe for money monoliths--and the demagogues who steer them-- to manipulate the public to their interests.

Thank god more people are waking up and thank god more people are getting involved in activism. Only persistent, organized groups of people can push back against the monolith.

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Response to BlancheSplanchnik (Reply #32)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 06:09 PM

35. Yep, exactly what is needed. I agree, more people are paying attention to

politics today than in the past.

Generally, they use religion as a tool to migrate the flocks into their desired direction. Sadly, often, I think some people are too lazy to pay attention ... I've known some too lazy to even vote ... it's just too inconvenient for them.

Now, they are a bit more concerned when they hear SS is being screwed around with or Medicare.

It's sooo painfully clear people vote the wrong people into office. If, TPTB were worth damn, most of this would not be occurring, but the elected PTB often have other interests ... not all, but many.

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Response to jambo101 (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:08 PM

15. Contrived, yes...but then that's the nature of contemporary US politics, isn't it?

This thing was set up within the framework of blackmail about the spending ceiling

The r's get the bang out of temporarily forcing cuts some of which will get fixed withing 31 days, and the r's will get to be jingoistic heroes restoring defense spending.

Unfortunately the d's won't be able to be restore all the spending on social programs or get revenue increases.

This is the outcome many DUers expected when this solution to republican obstructionism was adopted.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:50 AM

6. Just in case you haven't noticed yet...

... those in Washington DC don't much give a shit about how badly they fuck us over.

With exception of a few I can count on my fingers, none of them is worth the powder it would take to blow them to Hell.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:51 AM

7. Prosperity is only for the rich people at the cost to everyone else. Austerity is the future.

They've sent away the jobs to slave labor countries. With out enough jobs so everyone can work and pay taxes austerity will be the norm ...and our so called representatives in government know it ...and they will not do anything to change that ...because they are rich ...and they do not care about us. They are all actors for the rich ...just like Reagan.

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Response to L0oniX (Reply #7)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:00 PM

12. And down that road is pain, anger, riots and revolutions.

 

The rich will be, in the long term cutting their own throats. You would think that they would have learned that lesson from the French Revolution, but I guess that such hard lessons have to be retaught every few hundred years.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:53 AM

8. "Any first year Econ major can tell you..."

You have great faith in economics as a predictive science. It is not. It is a series of just-so stories with some numbers thrown in to make it seem science-y.

Some people think austerity is bad. Some don't. I personally don't know. But to make declarative statements about what should be done - while necessary - is impossible.

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #8)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:58 AM

11. So just deny all we know about what happened in the Great Depression,

 

Deny what austerity has done in the past, and what it is doing right now because, in your opinion, Economics isn't a real science.

Damn, you are starting to sound as unintellectual as those Creationist who insist that Adam and Eve walked with the dinosaurs.

Not only do you apparently not know about austerity, you obviously don't know a thing about economics.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #11)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:08 PM

14. Well, if you must know I have a BA in economics

I even worked (briefly) as an economist.

My point is that what "everyone knows" is economics is not what everyone knows. Heck, there is great disagreement in the field whether or not a multiplier exists.

We don't know what doing or not doing something in the economy would do.

Austerity has worked in places and has not worked in others. If one can generalize from smaller countries austerity seems to work where there is high levels of social trust. There does not seem to be such high levels of social trust in the US. Therefore it probably is bad. But how the f should I know? The economy is so large and complex that any declarative statement about it must automatically be greeted with suspicion.

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #14)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:19 PM

17. Please don't take this the wrong way,

 

But apparently your Economics degree isn't worth the paper it's printed on. If you think that economics is nothing more than a collection of "just-so stories with some numbers thrown in to make it seem science-y," then you really didn't learn a thing, no offense.

I know real economists, people with advanced degrees in the field, who work in the field, my wife is one of them. I've had long, in depth talks with these people concerning economics, taken a lot of economics classes myself, and I know that it is much more than "just-so stories with some numbers thrown in to make it seem science-y."

If the case about economics were what you assert, then frankly this economy would have collapsed long ago. Yes, economics can be a bit fuzzy, because people don't always behave rationally. But there is enough there, there for economists to set up models and predictions that work, and to make authoritative, declarative statements that turn out to be true.

As far as austerity working, please, show me where it has worked.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #17)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 02:33 PM

23. Oh, I certainly will take it in the spirit that you have offered

Besides, it is always nice to get mansplained by about a field in which one is an expert. Clearly the thousands of hours I wasted studying in the field pales in comparison to the cocktail hours you spent with economists. Silly me. Now carry on.

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #14)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 02:12 PM

22. Could you please tell me where since 2008 austerity has worked? I keep

hearing how it hasn't worked....Greece, e.g. Thanks.

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #22)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 02:40 PM

24. There is a problem comparing the US economy with other economies

I certainly think that austerity in the US would be a failure due to the lack of social cohesion. (But then again it could work - the problem with things being in the future is that we cannot predict them in a system as chaotic and large as the US ecomony.) Anyway, there have been some small scale successes of austerity (Ireland is doing better than Greece, Lithuania is not a basket case). A good model would be Sweden but that is pre-2008. But as we know Americans are not Swedes so what worked there would not work so good here probably.

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #24)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 02:48 PM

25. I appreciate your response. I just feel the depth of austerity we're already

experiencing is probably enough especially in light of the generous bailout from the taxpayers. This sequestration may not go well. imho

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #25)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 02:56 PM

28. The really screwed up thing is we are supposed to hate AIG, nevermind bailing out AIG meant bailing

out Goldman Sachs. AIG was just a conduit. Goldman made a bad bet - that AIG could cover their bets. Goldman should have gone under. But when you run the government you never go under. My little investment in GS looks better every day.

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #28)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 03:19 PM

30. I wouldn't have bailed out AIG either! OH, well, time will tell. I'm not looking for

to a long life....I really don't think I could survive financially.

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #24)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 05:53 AM

37. You pick some interesting examples to claim as austerity successes,

 

"The Troika has done more damage to Ireland than Britain ever did in 800 years," said David Begg, head of the Irish Confederation of Trade Unions.

Mr Begg said the image of Ireland as the poster-child of EU recovery was a myth culitivated by EU creditors whose only interest is to recoup their money.

"At least the IMF officials are willing to admit they have been wrong but the EU officials are total ideologues."

"It is like being in an awful World War One conflict where the generals have expended a million lives to gain one yard of ground, yet nothing will change their mind in face of all the evidence."

The trade unions say internal consumption has collapsed by 26pc, and investment has fallen to the lowest level in recorded Irish history. Under-employment has reached 23pc despite emigration to Canada, Australia, the US and Britain. "The austerity has to stop. People feel they are drowning," he said."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9898920/EU-Troika-rule-in-Ireland-worse-than-British-Empire.html

And Lithuania is doing so very well, the austerity government just got voted out last fall.
"The government of the Baltic nation lost out despite winning praise from big European powers and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for its thrift and discipline.

"If the IMF was voting then he (the prime minister) would be re-elected," said Kestutis Girnius, who teaches at the Institute for International Relations and Political Science in Vilnius.

"But the IMF does not live in Lithuania, and they could not live on a Lithuanian salary."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/lithuania/9608449/Lithuanias-austerity-government-voted-out.html

As far as Sweden goes, you neglect to mention a couple of things, that they experienced a lost decade, much like Japan's, and that they took other measures besides austerity, like nationalizing the banks.

About the only measure of success that you can say is positive in any of these instances is that they paid off the IMF and other creditors. But the people paid a steep, steep price for that. There are better ways of dealing with the debt than putting the entire burden of said debt on the shoulders of the poor, working and middle classes, all so you can pay off the rich.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:11 PM

16. Yep. Enough Americans elected republicans to represent them in Washington.

We have to put up with this shit because of them.

Sucks, don't it?

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Response to sadbear (Reply #16)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:20 PM

18. But why are the Dems offering up a real solution instead of Austerity Lite? n/t

 

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Response to MadHound (Reply #18)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:48 PM

20. Perhaps because they'd rather have something than nothing.

At this point, do we want to score political points or actually get something done. We all know that republicans have drawn a line in the sand when it comes to real solutions.

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Response to sadbear (Reply #20)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 05:06 PM

31. Get what done? Scuttling the economy, screwing over workers, and increasing poverty?

I'm thinking fuck "getting something done" and focusing on getting the right things done.

This isn't about notches on the bedpost, these are real lives and all our futures.

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Response to TheKentuckian (Reply #31)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 05:13 PM

33. Very well.

I suppose we convince just enough republicans to do the right thing.

Or even convince enough republican voters, too.

Kinda sucks that we need them to do the right thing, doesn't it?

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Response to sadbear (Reply #33)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 10:06 AM

38. That is where doing little or nothing comes into play, you hold the line you have

and relentlessly attack and feverishly defend.

Any and every move from the opposition is at the cost of blood and teeth on the floor.

Foolish "bipartisanship" and "looking forward" cost the advantage, we won't surrender and assimilate our way back to it.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 12:25 PM

19. K&R n/t

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 02:54 PM

26. The core problem is TPTB make lots of $$$$$ and it is almost always extremely

difficult for those with wealth to relate to the masses. I know, some can, but the majority can't. None know the shoes hurt unless they are wearing them ... and in this case, it ain't so!

They live in an entirely different world.

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Response to MadHound (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 08:26 PM

36. Our government has been hijacked by the rich, via the corporations.

They hide behind & are protected by artificial entities that let real humans wreak havoc on society without any consequence to the individuals who make the decisions. We need to rein in these behemoths. They should serve all of society, not the elite few.


In Blind Poll, Republicans Choose Progressive Budget Solutions Over Their Own Party's

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/02/27-7

snip...

When the Business Insider polled registered voters and asked for their preferences among three Congressional plans floated to avoid the looming "sequestration" cuts in Washington, they found that when stripped of their partisan labels, the policies most favorable to the majority were those offered by the progressive wing of the Democratic caucus.

===
~more at link.

So much for the argument that American's are conservative! In my opinion, the dem party started to change when Reagan started demonizing the word liberal. Instead of embracing the word & telling the country, "Yes! We're liberal, we're proud, & here's what we stand for!" But no, they distanced themselves from the word liberal & soon after, liberal policies, as well.



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