Tag Archives: fiscal cliff

Deprogramming Progressives Indoctrinated into Supporting Austerity

By William K. Black

A little bit of economics can be a truly terrible thing, for the introductory classes in micro and macro-economics are the most dogmatic and myth-filled part of the neo-liberal curriculum.  Dogmas that have been falsified for 75 years (such as austerity) are taught as revealed truth.  The poor indoctrinated student is then launched into the world “knowing” that austerity is the answer and that mass unemployment and prolonged recessions are small prices to be paid (by others) to achieve the holy grail of a balanced budget.  Students are taught that national budgets are really just like household budgets.  These dogmas are not simply false, they are self-destructive and cruel.  Neo-liberal economics is so bad and has gone downhill at such a rapid rate that it now worships the economic analog to bleeding patients – austerity – as a response to a Great Recession.  Millions of people are indoctrinated annually into believing this long-falsified nonsense, and that includes people who consider themselves progressives.    Continue reading

America’s Deceptive 2012 Fiscal Cliff – Part 1

By Michael Hudson

[...] [Part 2] [Part 3]

How today’s fiscal austerity is reminiscent of World War I’s economic misunderstandings

When World War I broke out in August 1914, economists on both sides forecast that hostilities could not last more than about six months. Wars had grown so expensive that governments quickly would run out of money. It seemed that if Germany could not defeat France by springtime, the Allied and Central Powers would run out of savings and reach what today is called a fiscal cliff and be forced to negotiate a peace agreement. Continue reading

Obama’s OMB Channels its Inner Tea Party

By William K. Black

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is every administration’s heavy artillery on budget issues.  OMB’s staff is dominated by neo-liberal micro-economists under every administration, so it is institutionally conservative.  OMB personnel obtain promotions by killing programs, cutting spending, and either blocking the adoption of regulations or weakening the regulations.  OMB is institutionally predisposed to embrace austerity.  OMB is also expected to be a zealous advocate for the President. Continue reading

Obama should listen to Obama about avoiding Self-Inflicted Wounds

By William K. Black

On Friday, December 21, 2012, President Obama announced:

“‘As of today I am still ready and willing to get a comprehensive package done,’ Obama said, specifically urging lawmakers to craft a deal that would protect middle-class Americans from a tax hike set to be implemented if no deal is met.

Obama said he spoke with GOP House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Friday, asking the congressional leaders to come up with a smaller fiscal package in the next 10 days.

‘Now is not the time for more self-inflicted wounds, certainly not coming from Washington,’ Obama said.”

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How to disarm Trump’s Treasonous “Nuclear Weapon”

By William K. Black

Donald Trump’s specialty is unintended self-parody and his recent statements on Fox News about how Republicans should engage in domestic economic terror by using a “nuclear weapon” against our economy prove that one can become wealthy and famous without having even the most tenuous grasp of patriotism, reality, logic, or ethics.  Here is Newsmax’s story of Trump’s treasonous ode to nuking the nation.  (Newsmax is an ultra-right site sympathetic to Trump, so their description was not slanted against him.) Continue reading

Fueled by Deficit Hysteria, Obama and the Republicans Are Choosing the Path of “Economicide”

By Michael Hoexter

In the “fiscal cliff” negotiations and the subsequent debt limit talks between Obama and the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives, it appears that there will be no “good guys” because the talks and policy framework within which they are operating are at odds with the welfare of the American people.  Set up by a series of interactions over the last four years between Obama and his nominal opponents in the Republican Party, the framework of the negotiations ignores the way that the US government finances itself as well as the only known economic policy orientation which will allow our economy to thrive; the proposed policies and negotiations have been to date economically illiterate.  The biggest losers in these talks if they “succeed” according to the self-evaluations of the Republican and Democratic leaderships will be the American people and politically the Democrats who go along with a framework that demands cuts in federal budget deficits at all costs.  Continue reading

Kill the “fiscal cliff” instead of the Economy

By William K. Black
(Cross Posted at Benzinga.com)

Everyone now agrees that the so-called “fiscal cliff” is a stupid policy that threatens our economy and our people.  Everyone agrees why the “fiscal cliff” is stupid – it inflicts austerity at a time when it is likely to throw the nation into a gratuitous recession.  Causing a recession leads to increased unemployment and a larger budget deficit.  We have all seen austerity force the Eurozone into a gratuitous recession in which Italy, Spain, and Greece have Great Depression levels of unemployment. Continue reading

Richard Eskow Asks: Which Side Are You On?

By Joe Firestone

Richard Eskow of the Center for the American Future, posted a very good one a couple of days ago. He used the old union meme “which side are you on” to beat up the President and Congress about Social Security being placed on the negotiating table. I thought his writing on it was striking. Here’s some of it:

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NEP’s Stephanie Kelton Has Op Ed Piece in LA Times

Look, up in the sky! It’s a “fiscal cliff.” It’s a slope. It’s an obstacle course.

The truth is, it doesn’t really matter what we call it. It only matters what it is: a lamebrained package of economic depressants bearing down on a lame-duck Congress.

Read the entire piece here.

Let’s Celebrate the Failure of the July 2011Great Betrayal

By William K. Black

In July 2011, President Obama and Speaker Boehner reached an agreement in principle on a deal crafted to inflict $4 trillion in austerity by raising taxes modestly, slashing social spending, and beginning to unravel the safety net.  The deal would have been a disaster for America.  Unemployment was 9.1%.  The deal would have thrown us back into a recession and caused unemployment to surge.  Recessions and increased unemployment cause tax revenues to fall and increase demand for social services (e.g., for unemployment compensation) – they produce large deficits.  Austerity kills jobs and frequently increases deficits.  The Eurozone is the latest demonstration of this fact.  Continue reading