Just think back to last year and all the RWA fearmongering and lies about health care and how it barely became law. It wasn’t so much about the lies themselves, it was about getting a consensus that health care for all was a ‘bad thing.’
Jon Stewart and Bill Kristol (RWA) on Health Care
We also remember what happened after the attack on 9/11/2001. The RWAs made 935 documented false statements leading up to the Iraq invasion. They achieved a consensus based on these lies and, too easily, led us into an unfunded war and a growing deficit. Their lies weren’t about WMDs, they were about getting a consensus to invade.
Now, how many fear mongering lies will we hear about the deficit, which the RWAs created, and to what purpose?
Christopher Hayes of The Nation has written an article and warns us that the RWAs are putting their favorite tools to work once again. According to Mr. Hayes, the RWA “hysteria” is about ‘the deficit,’ but the real goal is to kill needed stimulus and maintain the Nixon, Reagan and Bush tax breaks. Tax breaks which favored the wealthy by a 3 to 1 margin and added to the deficit.
And yet: the drumbeat of deficit hysterics thumping in self-righteous panic grows louder by the day. Judging by its schedule and online video, this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival was an open-air orgy of anti-deficit moaning. The festival is a good window into elite preoccupations, and that its opening forum featured ominous warnings of future bankruptcy from Niall Ferguson, Mort Zuckerman and David Gergen does not bode well. Nor does the fact that there was a panel called “America’s Looming Fiscal Emergency: How to Balance the Books.” This attitude isn’t confined to pundits. The heads of Obama’s fiscal commission have called projected deficits a “cancer.”
The hysteria has reached such a pitch that Republican senators (joined by Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson) have filibustered an extension of unemployment benefits because it was not offset by spending cuts. Keep in mind, the cost of the extension for people unlucky enough to be caught in the jaws of the worst recession in thirty years is $35 billion. The bill would increase the debt by less than 0.3 percent.
This all seems eerily familiar. The conversation—if it can be called that—about deficits recalls the national conversation about war in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. From one day to the next, what was once accepted by the establishment as tolerable—Saddam Hussein—became intolerable, a crisis of such pressing urgency that “serious people” were required to present their ideas about how to deal with it. Once the burden of proof shifted from those who favored war to those who opposed it, the argument was lost.
We are poised on the same tipping point with regard to the debt. Amid official unemployment of 9.5 percent and a global contraction, we shouldn’t even be talking about deficits in the short run. Yet these days, entrance into the club of the “serious” requires not a plan for reducing unemployment but a plan to do battle with the invisible and as yet unmaterialized international bond traders preparing an attack on the dollar.
Perhaps the most egregious aspect of the selling of the Iraq War was its false pretext. It never really was about weapons of mass destruction, as Paul Wolfowitz admitted. WMDs were just “what everyone could agree on.” So it is with deficits. Conservatives and their neoliberal allies don’t really care about deficits; they care about austerity—about gutting the welfare state and redistributing wealth upward. That’s the objective. Deficits are just what they can all agree on, the WMDs of this manufactured crisis. Senator John Kyl of Arizona, speaking on Fox, has come out and admitted as much. All new spending increases must be offset, he said, but “you should never have to offset the cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.” So there you have it.
Here’s one more example of RWA lies that led to a consensus and, unfortunately, completion of a major RWA goal:
Bipartisan Consensus on RWA Lies Killed ACORN
So, all the deficit hysteria from the RWAs combined with the fearful shifting to the right by Democrats, a consensus, is aimed at further reductions in our social safety net and letting the mega rich keep their Republican tax breaks.
This hysteria has nothing to do with balancing the budget or protecting our grandchildren. For RWAs, deficits are for wars and making the mega rich richer and more powerful.
(Do you think the RWAs actually planned the deficits just to maintain the Republican tax breaks for the mega rich?)