We have lobbyists controlling the fiscal cliff debate and the messaging:
By posing as populists hostile to “government social engineering,” the Right succeeded in duping large numbers of middle-class Americans into seeing their own interests – and their “freedom” – as in line with corporate titans.
Corporations are literally posing as grassroots activists with media appearances, twitter accounts, social media, major articles and dedicated websites, all in an effort to hoodwink the American people into signing onto having their social security cut along with their health benefits.
Pundits and Lobbyists all make huge riches ranting and prattling on how someone is stealing food stamps or how Grandma should have her social security benefits cut and denied health care. Corporate controlled financial press puts biased choices for their 1% audience. Those still ethical and objective cannot type fast enough to confront all of the lies on the fiscal cliff. We are being barraged with corporate money funded digital bitstream lies on an minute by minute basis.
Everyday we hear of controversy where there is none. Choices which are not. Take for example the never ending attack on social security. Congress, or should we say the corporations who control them, want to reduce your benefits. Even the name, entitlements tries to imply social security and Medicare are benefits you did not earn, when in fact you did. Let's be clear, there is no crisis in social security. No, the American people do not have to suffer.
If one looks at the annual social security adjustments, the solution for any shortfall is obvious. Lift the maximum income cap which can be taxed, currently at $110,100. President Obama talked about this in his 2008 campaign. Yet this solution is not mentioned in the fiscal cliff media or by the political talking points. Instead we have false options on a crisis that does not actually exist, all to dismantle America's beleaguered social safety nets.
Even worse, most people don't even understand that chained CPI is a way to not adjust for the cost of living increases, which hurts the aged poor the most. There is no reason to reduce cost of living increases. All this will do is strap further the most vulnerable in American society.
Paul Krugman came out blasting so called Journalists publishing corporate written talking points. He made it clear these publications do not know what they are talking about. That's the real deficit problem, we have messaging instead of fact. We have talking points instead of cause and real effect of policy. The entire media show is run by imbeciles who sell their soul for seven figure paychecks and power.
To make the hypocrisy more obvious, we have the now infamous authors of austerity Simpson and Bowles making $40,000 an appearance pushing their austerity agenda on the lecture circuit. Simpson & Bowles targeted social safety nets and benefits for cuts under the guise of deficit reduction.
Bowles and Simpson get $40,000 a piece for speaking engagements where they push their agenda. This price tag tells us everything we need to know about what is going on here.
While $40,000 might not be big money among the people with whom Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson socialize, it sure is to the rest of us. This is a couple of thousand dollars more than the typical worker earns in a year. It is a bit less than three times the average annual Social Security benefit. And Bowles and Simpson get this money for spending an hour or so giving their tirade about the desperate need for reducing the deficit.
The incredible irony of these sorts of fees is that the substance of the Bowles-Simpson tirade is that paying for Social Security and Medicare will bankrupt our children and grandchildren. The two of them are running around the country telling people that Social Security checks to retirees that average $15,000 a year and providing health care insurance to seniors who have spent their lives working will have our children and grandchildren living in poverty.
Below is a Moyers & Company interview with Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism and Bruce Barlett on the hype and lies of the fiscal cliff. This is a must watch interview, encapsulating the real problems going on with the corruption of our political system.
Solutions not on the Table
Just to show how tightly controlled the deficit reduction options presented are, we outline a few good choices to reduce the deficit that you'll never hear about in digital bits stream of lies coming from most media and politicians.
The real reason the deficit is so high is the employment crisis. If corporations really wanted to fix the deficit they would hire Americans instead of investing and hiring abroad. Corporations would also quit their importation of foreign labor used to displace Americans. Bloomberg recently tabulated the cost of unemployment on the debt.
Unemployment is costing the government more than twice the $220 billion taxpayers will spend this year paying interest on the debt.
If Congress really wanted to reduce the deficit they would be forcing employers to hire U.S. citizens. When U.S. citizens and permanent residents work, they pay tax, including the deductions to pay into social security and Medicare. Congress could give tax rebates for those hired and retained, scaled to their wages. Congress could also offer a tax rebate for on the job training. On the job training could be anything from internships to full bore corporate funded graduate study. Corporations used to train workers, now they put those costs onto people who don't even have a guarantee of a job at the end of their efforts. With a tax rebate for training there is no empty argument employers cannot find the skills required.
Corporations, many who are currently trying to convince you to cut your own benefits via the fiscal cliff, have $1.6 trillion in untaxed profits parked offshore. That is the same amount Obama wants to raise revenues by. Congress could reduce the deficit with one very simple corporate tax change, repeal the rule that allows U.S. companies to defer taxes on their foreign income. Below is the chart of corporations with profits parked offshore.
Congress could end corporate welfare. The federal government spends between $50 billion and $90 billion on direct payments and indirect subsidies to businesses each year. Most of these payments are with no strings attached. Corporations clearly are not acting in the national interest so why should they get the benefit of payments?
If Congress really wanted to reduce the deficit they would legalize marijuana. Then Congress could tax the hell out of pot at the federal level, seize all assets of Mexican drug cartels, regulate it as a domestic product and finally cut federal and states spending for the war on drugs against marijuana. Let's get real here, pot just isn't as bad as alcohol and from the demand side of the product, it's an impossible joke to try to stop people from using it. Marijuana far exceeds any other cash crop, with an estimated $40 billion annually with the potential to be a $100 billion market. While Congress debates on how to take even more money out of the pockets of Americans, the Obama administration is flip flopping on pot, one moment stepping up enforcement of the federal marijuana laws, the next relaxing them. Neither action does anything for the budget deficit by reducing the war on drugs or creating a federal tax on the weed. Legalization of a $100 billion cash crop could boost the economy, employ thousands and reduce costs through by simply seizing all cartel's assets. Instead of trying to capture marijuana at the border, it would be far more effective at stopping the illegal marijuana flows from Mexico by producing the loco weed locally.
Another possibility not the on the table is seizing all illegally laundered money at banks. Instead of slap on the wrist fines for banks illegal money laundering activity, seize the total amount laundered to pay down the national debt. One must wonder why banks fines are a token percentage of the total profits these banks made from illegal activity, never mind how the actual funds laundered are not confiscated.
These are just a few ideas on how to grow the economy and reduce the deficit at the same time. There are many more, well thought out, practical and effective. We won't hear about any of these ideas in the press or on TV talk shows.
Face it, the corporate agenda doesn't give a damn about the U.S. middle class. That's you, me and everyone you care about. They don't care even when it means destroying the U.S. economy and thus their own profits. The corporate lobbyist onslaught is to the point their agenda is simply class warfare. These days their legislative demands make no sense, even in terms of their quarterly profit statements. These corporations will shoot themselves in the foot just to use their muscle and get their way.
America it is time to wake up. The attack on Americans is in full throttle. This isn't a bomb, or terrorists or even war, it's an economic assault on your money, on your careers, on your ability to put food on the table, have shelter, cloth yourself and even survive. The fiscal cliff isn't the crisis. Corporate control over America's politics and government is.