Thursday, July 28, 2011

Handing Out the Scripts

You know that the debt kerfuffle is as staged as melodramatically as a World Wrestling Federation exhibition when Mr. Obama makes the blatantly empty threat that if Congress does not “tackle the tough challenges of entitlement and tax reform,” there won’t be money to pay Social Security checks next month. In his debt speech last night (July 25), he threatened that if “we default, we would not have enough money to pay all of our bills – bills that include monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.”

This is not remotely true. But it has become the scare theme for over a week now, ever since the President used almost the same words in his interview with CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley.

Of course the government will have enough money to pay the monthly Social Security checks. The Social Security administration has its own savings – in Treasury bills. I realize that lawyers (such as Mr. Obama and indeed most American presidents) rarely understand economics. But this is a legal issue. Mr. Obama certainly must know that Social Security is solvent, with liquid securities to pay for many decades to come. Yet Mr. Obama has put Social Security at the very top of his hit list!

The most reasonable explanation for his empty threat is that he is trying to panic the elderly into hoping that somehow the budget deal he seems to have up his sleeve can save them. The reality, of course, is that they are being led to economic slaughter. (And not a word of correction reminding the President of financial reality from Rubinomics Treasury Secretary Geithner, neoliberal Fed Chairman Bernanke or anyone else in the Wall Street Democrat administration, formerly known as the Democratic Leadership Council.)

It is a con. Mr. Obama has come to bury Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, not to save them.

~ from Mr. Obama’s Scare Tactics to Get Democrats to Vote for His Republican Wall Street Plan by Michael Hudson ~
I am to the point in which I believe this whole deficit ceiling "debate" is nothing more than political high theater. A few months ago the powers that be handed out scripts and all we are now seeing are the various characters reading their lines.

A lot has been made about these meetings at the White House where somebody storms out in a huff. My guess is that these meetings aren't about the deficit at all; what the President and members from both parties really are discussing is the best time to move to the next act in the play. When they decide the time is ripe, then right on cue, the character who is supposed to throw a temper tantrum throws a temper tantrum.

The whole point of the play is to keep moving the line slowly down the field in such a way that the majority of Americans don't realize it. By feigning outrage after outrage, all the cast of characters is trying to do is to scare the pee out of the American people, so that we will be willing to accept a plan -- ANY PLAN -- to avoid the supposed default.

Dragging this entire process out and taking it to the last possible second is not due to political gridlock; it is to bring the plot to its great climax -- the evisceration of the Federal Budget.

The President and his fellow thespians should win a Tony Award for their grand performances!

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