Think of this as Volume 16, Number 50 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
What I have learned, through my study of American history and its cycles, is that disgraced Power, a combination of Myths and Values created in an earlier time, never takes responsibility for the excess that results from its abuse of that power.
There were never Confederates who could admit in their hearts that maybe Lincoln had a point. There were never Populists who accepted the idea that an organized, regulated economy would bring prosperity, that it was the right way to go. Republicans who opposed the New Deal went right into fascism, either excusing Hitler or embracing him, while few Democrats who fought Nixon ever saw that, maybe, he had a point about the Cold War and the need to maintain social peace through discipline.
So it should be no surprise to me that my readers at Seeking Alpha and TheStreet.Com, who are mostly firm believers in the Nixon Thesis, and who supported the excesses of George W. Bush each step of the way, are more than a little reluctant, even now, to see any error in their ways.
I was slapped in the face by this realization when the following was rejected by Seeking Alpha. Plenty of similar commentaries, from Republicans, about the "Fiscal Cliff" and the issues of the budget had been published. One, most memorably, was titled "Has Paul Krugman Gone Too Far?" Yet this was deemed to be overly political.
Lesson learned. If you want to speak truth, do it on your own time. My view on the matter is contained in the headline at the top of this. The piece, as submitted, follows:
As I've written before, this whole thing is a scam. It's designed by the ultra-wealthy to pass the costs of the last decade's wars and tax cuts on the poor. Nothing more, nothing less.
Look at who's represented on the so-called “Fix the Debt” group. Most are affiliated with Peter G. Peterson (left), a very rich man and a long-time opponent of the social safety net. They got theirs, they got a lot of it from the government in the form of defense contracts, but even though you paid for yours, you're not going to get it, because they're going to use the excuse of "the debt" to take it away from you.
If debt were really the issue in the “fiscal cliff” these guys would be in barrels lining up to go over it. This is technically sequestration, a collection of tax increases and spending cuts designed last year to do what Congress had found itself manifestly unable to do, which was cut our debt.
So what are they wringing their hands about? They don't like tax hikes – who does? They don't like their own interests in government spending to be put at risk – who does? They don't like the priorities here – we just had an election about those priorities and their side lost.
Rise above what? Above partisan politics? If that's the case, why isn't Peterson going along with these tax increases as his own down payment, and those of his friends? Why is he fighting so hard to rescind these tax increases?
What's really happening is that the supply-siders and austerity fans who got us into this mess are trying to win through negotiation what they lost in the election. And guess what – Democrats are on to the game.
It's hysterical watching John Boehner prance about, claiming he's going to prevent taxes from going up January 1. Don't you get it – taxes are going up unless you do something. Spending is going down unless you do something. The fiscal cliff is what you wanted, what you voted for. This is all buyer's remorse.
Eric Parnell is shocked, shocked, that the total national debt has risen $5 trillion in the last five years. Why did that happen? Did President Obama walk into office with a healthy economy? Did he walk in with America at peace?
No. He walked into office with the economy collapsing, falling at a 9% annual rate, not the 4% rate he was given by the outgoing Administration. He also walked into a political environment where Republicans were devoted to only two goals – keeping the tax cuts and wars that were causing the deficit, and doing all they could to prevent a recovery under a Democratic President.
So we had the Recovery Act, which did in fact pile almost $1 trillion onto the debt. But the fiscal impact of that act has disappeared. What's left, in terms of driving the debt, are mainly the tax cuts and the war. What I wanna know from Peter G. Peterson, Rick Santelli, all the folks at CNBC, from Simpson and Bowles and all their friends at Fix the Debt, is how they plan to pay for the damned war they put on our credit card a decade ago.
There is an economic reality to all this. Too much austerity, too fast, and we go back into recession, which puts off any effort to pay down the debt by any means we can devise, other than literally eating grandma (nor raw, cooked) and playing “Hunger Games” with those newly graduated from college.
But we don't have to deal with that this month. We can have Obama tax cuts, and a new round of stimulus, next year. That's what is probably going to happen, by the way, although the Republicans may play the game of voting “present” and letting the tax cuts on 98% of us continue. But how does that fix the debt? It doesn't.
The plain, unvarnished truth is we fought these wars for oil, and we should pay for them in oil. Tax oil. Tax carbon. Tax fossil fuels. Repay the debt that way, get rid of all existing programs for renewable energy, and over 10 years we can pay that part of the debt our troops paid for with their blood in Iraq, in a war based on lies.
After that, we'll talk Mr. Peterson. Pay for your damnable war. Does this make the fiscal cliff a problem for you, Mr. Peterson? Because I'll be glad to push you off it, personally.