Yes, we know what is driving the latest performance behind this fiscal sham.
It's basically good cop, bad cop; or bad cop, worse cop theatre to get you to sign off on this grand betrayal as UKMC economist William K. Black aptly calls it.
To further put all of this into context I'll let Dr. Michael Hoexter, a policy analyst and marketing consultant on green issues, climate change, clean and renewable energy, and energy efficiency explain.
Obama as “Good Cop”
The ascension of Obama to the Presidency, in particular “hems in” the electorate and closes the loop of elite Washington’s hostility to social programs, with the leaderships of both parties in an unacknowledged agreement that these programs should be downsized. Obama has for a long time signaled that “entitlement reform” is on his agenda, an attitude that endeared him to the donor class in 2008 and onward. Obama is able to treat economic progressives and a progressive agenda with contempt if he so chooses because, in the American political and media landscape, the deck is stacked against insurgent and left populist political forces. The cultural semiotics that people associate with him (his African heritage and relatively exotic cultural background) has distracted progressives from the right-wing trends in his economic and political philosophy. Many progressives continue to treat him as an ally and a friend despite copious evidence that in most crucial situations where he had a choice, Obama chose a non-progressive alternative.
Obama’s Courtship of the Right
Despite the grotesqueness of many of his nominal political opponents, Obama has had an embarrassingly worshipful attitude towards the Republicans and the Right. Rather than attempt to fight for principled progressive or “liberal” causes, Obama has seemed to gaze longingly at political actors and ideas that are substantially to the Right of the concerns of his base. For instance, rather than take advantage of the financial crisis of 2008 to push through needed reforms of the financial system, Obama has continued to prop up that system, almost to the surprise of the outgoing Bush Administration players. In other ways, Obama has continued George W. Bush’s campaign of reinforcing the military and quasi-military powers of the US government versus the rights of both non-Americans and increasingly Americans themselves.
Executing the Obama ‘Grand Plan’
Apparently, given recent events and Obama’s continued fetish of the Grand Bargain, a more plausible theory about Obama’s conduct in office and in politics more generally can now be discerned, though this was predicted by Adolph Reed prior to Obama’s 2008 election. This exposition of a “Grand Plan” will also not be any news to the many critics of Obama from the progressive left who have emerged over the past four years, as they have seen his responses to a variety of crises as well as his tendency to side almost always with the corporate establishment and moneyed interests and against ordinary people.
Obama has a fundamental, primary alliance with the “Third Way” wing of the Democratic party which in policy terms has been occupying the political space left by “moderate, Wall Street Republicans” who were kicked out of the Republican Party over the past two decades. Obama has a fatal attraction to the balanced-budget mantra of Pete Peterson and the deficit hawks and Obama seems uninterested in offering a meaningful alternative to their demands for a government that is hamstrung by meaningless budget rules borrowed from business accounting. The institution of balanced budget and public debt reduction programs as the fiscal policy of the United States federal government via social program cuts ultimately serves the expansion of Wall Street financial interests into the provision of pensions and insurance for the elderly.
The Obama “Grand Plan” then is to maintain divided government to achieve something like the Grand Bargain, where both parties seemingly unite around an agenda of weakening the social welfare state, and moderately raising taxes on the wealthy. Obama’s belief in raising taxes on the wealthy is the sole “fig leaf” that keeps him and others from recognizing how far to the political Right the rest of his agenda is. Some Republicans are now realizing what a good deal it is for them to dump Grover Norquist’s pledge and hop onto Pete Peterson’s balanced budgets mantra: they get only moderate rises in taxes while social spending is cut differentially (3 or 4 to 1).
Another function of Republicans as “bad cop”, is that Obama needs a foil against which to agitate for what ultimately is a relatively lightweight concession of higher taxes on the rich that, in our economy overreliant on high-end good sales, could in isolation do economic harm. The “good cop, bad cop” routine provides the appearance of conflict and displaces political conflict away from where the conflict of interests really are, between the Washington and Wall Street establishments and the American people and businesses tied to the real economy. In economic terms, the discussion is at a complete remove from what Modern Money school economists and consistent Keynesians are pointing out: that both cutting spending and raising taxes drains demand from the already-weak economy, slowing it and pushing it back into recession.
Just a friendly stern programming note: it will take more for some than lazy ad hominem to dispute all of this; it will take actually taking on the source and Michel Hoexter is a solid one with many sources of his own as you can read. So whether or not some people hate me personally they have their work cut out for them. For one thing, I spoke to David Dayen and Neil Barofsky at NN12 at their foreclosure fraud panel and they confirm that the offer to write down mortgages Barney frank talked about that the Obama administration refused to take Hank Paulson up on was legit and Neil Barofsky was there.
Refusing help to people defrauded and indebted by the control fraud of the banks is unfair like expecting them to share sacrifice with those same criminals because the POTUS ignored all sound advice and caused this mess in 2010; the Bush tax cut sellout leading up to when he put up the full faith and credit of the US as bargaining chip in 2011, one he laughingly thought was going to give him leverage, is playing good cop to John Boehner's bad cop but they are both trying to pull one over on us.
I think it's actually pretty easy. People are a bit confused by the 2011 debt ceiling precedent because in that case Obama wanted Republicans to "force" him to make concessions. For a mix of substantive and political reasons, the White House wanted to obtain a grand bargain on long-term fiscal policy and thought the debt ceiling could be a good forcing mechanism that would make Republicans agree to raise taxes and then in exchange he and other moderate Democrats would have the political cover to trim Medicare and/or Social Security. Then it all blew up in their faces.
They are weighing the notion that if enough of us believe in their fabricated deficit hysteria we will be OK with whatever cuts, including raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67, there is just to get a deal. They also are weighing the pathetic notion of having to put the New Deal and Great Society on the altar just to get the Clinton tax rates set to go in effect by themselves and middle class tax cuts is so "impressive" that we may not get mad if the eligibility age of Medicare is raised to 67. That's about as wrong as the ignorant notion that the government needs revenue to spend money in the economy or pay debt.
Not like 3 to 1 spending cuts to revenue is great deal anyway if that were true so either way it's pathetic. They're also weighing the notion that a deal on taxes might be worth chained CPI for Social Security. Think again. And for those that think this isn't on the table, even though all the White House has to do to calm fears is declare it a non starter, they prove that they most assuredly haven't paid any attention at all. For instance, I don't like Ezra Klein as many of you know, but I trust what he says about what the White House is willing to give up because he has the insider access he earned by carrying their water and Democrats in Congress for so long. This quote from Senator Coburn I also believe.
The White House is firmer on its red lines in this deal than I can remember in any other negotiation. Administration officials don’t want a deal so badly that they’ll accept one that doesn’t raise tax rates, or that leaves another debt-ceiling crisis around the corner. But if Republicans will give on those issues, the White House has always been clear that it is willing to put a lot on the table. “We’ve had conversations where [President Obama] told me he’ll go much further than anyone believes he’ll go to solve the entitlement problem if he can get the compromise,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) told me back in May. “And I believe him. I believe he would.”
The challenge now for Mr. Lew — and for Mr. Obama — is to forge an agreement that does not cut too deeply into the entitlement programs that Democrats cherish. Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Lew is a pragmatist; one person familiar with his thinking said he had previously expressed willingness to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, a move that many liberals oppose.
To think a year later somehow it's not up for discussion is pretty naive and baseless with no sources behind it.
So now it's time to talk about some of the denials about this. The way Washington works, we will never be privy to exact information on everything so couching denial in an impossible standard doesn't impress anyone. No one is going to have their hand held while all the exact details released. On the other hand, the strong track record for skepticism is quite strong unlike "the public option is still alive" or "Dodd Frank is the best financial reform since sliced New Deal" rumors the left knew were false from the beginning because we actually care about policy and research this stuff.
The players are not going to reveal every sellout until after it's done when the lipstick is painted over it; calling Dolecare what Truman was trying to achieve(Medicare for All) and calling the TBTF keeping Dodd Frank the most effective financial reform since the Great Depression. That's what you call professional cognitive dissonance from the White House and Congress. It was insulting to everyone know knew this to be true from the start.
The initial first impression to all of these sellout trial balloons was correct and all critics on the left have been vindicated clearly every single time. They were vindicated on the stimulus and the lack of real Wall St reform back in 2008 and 2009 when the crisis was ripe for huge change; promised change that was wasted leading up to what actually caused the mid term losses in 2010 as capital hoarders were made whole on the back of labor getting 93% of the "recovery."
It's pretty sad I have to mention this, but since I have diaries personally attacking me on this point while providing no evidence whatsoever to refute anything I have written, let me point out that Democrats in the House or Senate stressing opposition to the idea of raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67 means or anything else in this kabuki dance means almost nothing. For one thing, Democratic Representative Steny Hoyer says it is on the table.
While Nancy Pelosi just released an impassioned factual argument against the idea of raising the Medicare age to 67 and why it is a horrible idea which it is. However, there was a similar impassioned statement from former Speaker Pelosi about the now dead Medicare like public option back during the ACA debate.
But we all know what happened don't we?
One would hope so. After all, as soon as Pelosi got that call from the WH to just pass the Senate bill in conference and shut up like she was Christina Romer arguing for more stimulus in Obama's cabinet, a bill without the public option passed the House. So please don't dig up statements from Democrats playing good cops who take their cues from whatever the chief upstairs decides in the end as proof of anything. It's not.
The fact is that though they didn't like it, all Democrats in the House and Senate were all in behind the President. Only Speaker Boehner made the last 4 trillion deficit reduction proposal slashing Medicare benefits fall apart in 2011 so then they passed the stop go as a kick the can measure to right here and now where we have this failure being shoved down our throat. It is a child-like argument at this point to defend this the way it has been done lately. The adults are not in charge and they are lying to the public; a public underutilized with wasted lives all for deficit lies.
As Stephanie Kelton says at the end, once you all realize deficit terrorists are all liars with an agenda you will wake up and get angry. They're not your friends and they don't care about you. When these said liars tell you we all have to share sacrifice with Oligarchs because Congress doesn't want to do their homework or represent their constituents you will get angrier.
And if our grandmothers and grandfathers die because they are thrown to the predators in the insurance market in this new predator state that could likely be their fate. This makes Medicare more expensive and inefficient with higher premiums and deductibles for supplemental insurance. And all because this POTUS and all of Congress know nothing about the budget they are in charge of writing. So when hearing deficit scare monger fairy tales to get you to scared so you will sacrifice our safety net there can be but one option. You get in the damn streets!
You demand an end to this bought and sold theatrical production about deficit fantasies convincing you that you need to share sacrifice with criminals that destroyed this country. Most people have sacrificed enough and many might pay the ultimate sacrifice, but not Wall St! They own the fucking place.
It's time to change that and to stop making excuses for it!