The government’s deficit and debt are not a big crisis. It’s not even a little crisis. It’s not a crisis at all. What is most disturbing is how many liberals/progressives have thrown in the towel and are basically taking the line "there is a crisis but we have a better way of dealing with it". It is a phony crisis. Here’s why.
Over the next few days, I’m going to excerpt portions of a new e-book I’ve just published (promotion below) called "It’s Not Raining, We’re Getting Peed On: The Scam of the Deficit Crisis".
To set the stage, from the introduction:
There is no government debt or deficit crisis.
Oh, don’t get me wrong: there is a huge crisis in America. But, it has very little to do with the "crisis" of the government’s deficit or debt. We have plenty of money, or access to money, and any money issues we have are all quite manageable. This is still the richest nation in the history of the planet.
The question before us is simple: what are our priorities as a country, how should we spend our great wealth and who should pay to advance those priorities?
But, that has nothing to do with a fake and phony crisis.
Have I said this yet? There is no government debt or deficit "crisis".
I decided to write this very short book after watching on C-SPAN one late night a rebroadcast of the first meeting of the deficit commission appointed by Barack Obama (yes, at this very moment, you might question a person’s sanity who would consider using late night viewing time to tune into C-SPAN but I love the gripping graphics, incredible story plots and background music). The commission is the "bi-partisan" gathering of those people who are so very concerned about the government’s debt "crisis" (its official title: "National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform").
The Commission is called "bi-partisan" because, in the narrow world of our political give-and-take, all it takes to be seen as "bi-partisan" is to have Democrats and Republicans sitting together in the same room and talking to each other (and in the crazy world of political deals in Congress, you can call a piece of legislation "bi-partisan" if it has just one person on-board from the opposite party—but that’s a story for another day).
But, if the meaning of "bi-partisan" is, as most normal people would think, having representatives of differing views of a debate or contrasting sides of an argument, then, this Commission isn’t "bi-partisan". Everyone on the Commission believes there is a debt or deficit "crisis". Not a single person thinks the crisis is phony and a sham. Or, at least, no one has said so publicly.
What We Should Be Talking About
As each person took the floor at the first meeting of the Commission to give his or her predictable statement, I was waiting for just a single, courageous person on the commission who was willing to declare that the crisis was a phantom, that it is a huge distraction.
I was waiting for one person to, instead, confront the Commission members and the talking heads in the media by tallying up the real story that is at the heart of the crisis in America:
• For thirty years, corporations have shipped jobs abroad, moving millions of good-paying jobs to places where human slavery cost pennies.
• For thirty years, Wall Street drained the foundation of the American Dream, figuring out ways to rip millions of good-paying jobs out of the soul of the country, using leveraged buy-outs to boost stock prices and enrich CEOs under the cover of the "free market" and "efficiency".
• For thirty year, both parties have slowly, but surely, picked apart a progressive taxation system, shifting the burden of providing for a decent society on to the backs of the poor. As I wrote in 2009 in the opening sentences of "The Audacity of Greed": The United States of America has just lived through the greatest looting of money in its history, a vast robbery that began in the late 1970s and has stretched to the present day. The perpetrators of this grand robbery didn’t just steal a few possessions, or a bit of cash. Instead, they drained the economy of trillions of dollars, in the process skulking off with a vast fortune that defied imagination while leaving millions of people without jobs, in poverty or without their life savings".
• For thirty years, political leaders have sent our brave men and women into dumb and immoral foreign military catastrophes—for the sake of oil and sometimes lesser reasons—that have cost us trillions of dollars, not to mention hundreds of thousands of human lives and the shredding of the country’s image around the world. Even in the absence of active military conflict by the country’s troops, billions of dollars were, and are, poured into a wasteful, bloated military complex—which often, then, forgets the veterans who carry the day-to-day burden in the field and, then, return home with shattered bodies and damaged minds.
Except for a small, greedy elite, most Americans have in fact been making hard choices each and every day for the past several decades. They have not been spending their cash like drunken sailors on luxury and pleasure while ignoring basic needs.
[And then to jump to the end of the intro]
Promoting The General Welfare
In the end, I decided to zero in on the phony debate about the debt "crisis" because it is a larger discussion about America. The Preamble to the Constitution says this:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
That is a very progressive idea. It is the basis for the American Dream and the American ideal, both based on fairness and justice. We are called on, as a nation, to "promote the general welfare" which has a pretty simple meaning: we must share the great prosperity this nation has created—a prosperity that is eluding most Americans.
The people who run our markets and our companies have failed, breaking basic rules we lived by, and, while they enriched themselves, they turned our country into a place where economic fairness and economic justice are evaporating before our very eyes. Our elected officials, in both parties, have failed to protect the people from the powerful and the well-connected.
Why? Most of our political leaders—-of both major parties-—are mostly interested in getting reelected—-not in getting the job done for the people. Our political leaders have abandoned us because of the legal, but corrupt, system of raising money for campaigns, which means serving the powerful interests who write big checks.
We have a government bought and paid for by big corporate interests who have hurt the economy, making inefficient use of our nation’s wealth at great cost to our financial stability. Instead of taking on these corporate powers, our political leaders have given aid and comfort to the looting of America.
Our government has made thousands of rules that benefit powerful corporate interests. CEO salaries of tens of millions of dollars—which empty out the corporate treasury and leave nothing for average workers—exist because our leaders have allowed a corporate governance system that allows such looting.
Instead of focusing on the real crisis, the deficit and debt "crisis" are a huge distraction from a critique of the "free market"—of the robbery that is taking place in America. Make no mistake about it: the distraction is intentional.
Sometimes, I am asked to appear as a "talking head" on cable news television, mostly business-related shows, to represent "the left". Invariably, when the chatter turns to tax fairness, the anchors raise the specter of "class warfare"—the threat to the very rich that their obscenely low tax rates may have to go up a smidgen.
I usually smile and reply, "You are right. There is class warfare in the country—and your class is winning".
This has got to end.
END OF EXCERPT.
I have an op-ed out today summarizing the argument.
If you want the book, you can buy it on Kindle and Nook, with more formats coming in the next day or so. But, you can also just download it FOR FREE. All the links are here.
The book’s Facebook page is here. "Like" it if you are so inclined. It would be much appreciated.