December 17, 2010

Today’s Austerity and Tomorrow’s Jubilation


Neither the banks nor the government have any legitimacy. Austerity is a Tax imposed without representation or even the barest sovereignty. The minimal criterion for one to even debate the legitimacy of these neoliberal governments would be that they honor their existing legal and political commitments. But as we see in the US and every European country, these are only illegitimate kleptocracies whose robbery has become overt and brazen.
So we see the “austerity” agenda moving forward, as Obama and the Republicans collaborate on extending tax cuts for the rich while conspiring to gut Social Security. (I no longer care about the tax cuts in themselves, but I juxtapose them with the call for further gutting of social spending and privatization as smoking gun evidence of government criminality, class war robbery.) Obama is a hard core Reaganite whose cherished policy goal, what he believes will be his righteous legacy to the elites (who he sees as his constituency) for the rest of history, is to gut the entire New deal state including SS and Medicare. The “deal” he made here, extracting a few slight concessions from himself, was done only under extreme political duress. For the first time he now fears for his re-election. (Though as the “sanctimonious purist” quote demonstrates, his heart isn’t in giving even a few crumbs to the poor. He truly despises the progressives, and even political expediency can’t overcome his public expression of that loathing.)
But on the policy agenda he and the Republicans are 100% simpatico. He is a Republican.
Many wanted to argue about the politics of the payroll tax holiday. Unfortunately, many more believe the lies about its being fiscally imperiled, or even that these governmental elites care about that. But the assault on SS has nothing whatsoever to do with rational concerns about its funding. Nor does the attempt to vilify it as “welfare” rather than an entitlement have any effect. Those who argue are mired in the appeasement mentality. They think you can “persuade” incorrigible criminals not to steal whatever they feel able to steal. It’s like believing you can appease the bank by begging for a mortgage modification and continuing to pay on a delinquent mortgage, because in theory they might decide you rationally merit a mod. Um, no.
The people overwhelmingly support SS and want to see it strengthened.
The elites universally want to destroy it, because they want to steal the money for themselves, because destroying it would further weaken the people, and because they simply hate the idea of having to trickle back down any of what they’ve stolen.
The fact that SS is perfectly solvent and has no inherent funding problems whatsoever is meaningless in a system run by criminals, where their lies prevail. The fact is that Social Security is an account payable by the US government. The only way it can be insolvent is if the government is insolvent. That’s impossible for a government sovereign in its own currency.
So whenever anyone in the government claims SS is in trouble, he’s simply threatening a voluntary default on the part of the government. And whenever anyone outside the government makes a similar claim, he’s simply predicting such a sovereign default.
So the fact that Obama and the DC gangs are making these threats does prove the nonexistence of this government’s sovereignty. Not because that’s fiscally “true”, but because they chose to make it true. They voluntarily abdicated.
The facts are clear:
1. No one among the elites cares about the deficit or the debt. The Bailout, the wars, Pentagon budgets, Big Ag subsidies, and all other corporate welfare, prove this.
2. “Austerity” is not, and is not intended to be, any kind of “fiscally conservative” or “fiscally responsible” measure. By definition any such conservative, if he existed, would focus 100% on the corporate welfare listed in (1).
3. To give a specific example, health care costs are out of control. We all know Single Payer is the only policy which would save a huge amount instead of increasing these costs. The Obama-Republican racket bailout will only increase them; their own CBO says so. No one who supported Obamacare (like all Democrats) or will support it going forward (like Republicans who refuse to repeal it) has any right to any opinion at all on the cost of anything, or to claim any concern for “responsibility”.
4. Deficit terrorism like that propagated by the NYT (which is a rabid supporter or the wars and also supports the Bailout, the health racket bailout, and massive corporate welfare in general) is therefore nothing but a criminal propaganda campaign on behalf of the austerity crime agenda. It’s qualitatively similar to telling people being herded onto trains that they’re being sent to a place with better conditions. Some Nazi propagandists (“journalists”) were later tried for that.
5. So the people’s agenda here is clear:
We have to absolutely reject deficit terrorism. It’s already proven to be a false idea, and not one single person who argues in favor of it has any standing whatsoever do so, since the only true fiscally responsible position would be: Let’s end all corporate welfare, including the wars and the Bailout, and restitute everything the banks stole. Let’s institute Single Payer, which will save trillions. Then we’ll see whether or not we need to cut any social programs.
Since there is no such advocate, we can regard the subject as closed, and stick to a few simple demands:
Total Austerity for the Criminals, Not One Cent More From the People.
Total Austerity for Corporate Welfare.
No Taxes on the Non-Rich. (Meaning we must reject any new tax or tax increase which isn’t 100% upon corporations and the rich. That means rejecting everything.)
And refuse to even discuss deficits or the debt except in terms like the ones outlined here. Refuse to even discuss beyond: “Deficits? OK, then let’s end all corporate welfare.”
There’s one piece of the proposed deal which is of real interest, the allegation that it will clobber already-reeling state budgets by ending the Build America Bonds (BAB) program.
Even before this the moderate Chris Whalen has been saying he thought it won’t be long into 2011 before state governments will start telling mortgage debtors to stop paying mortgages but continue paying property taxes. The idea is that the states are increasingly being abandoned by the banks and the federal government. This abdication of legitimacy is becoming clear at the same time the states and localities are facing true fiscal crisis. So under those circumstances, rational state and local governments would want the people to keep the money local as much as possible. Paying the property tax before the mortgage, and if necessary only the property tax, while keeping up the property (which the banks themselves are prone to leave derelict after a foreclosure), is a way to accomplish that. Why should a state feel any call to enforce any “right” of Wall Street? On the contrary, they should declare such abdicated rights null and void.
If the alert about how this DC deal will further hit the states is true, that may accelerate the coming of the day Whalen was talking about.  
Yet another critical piece of evidence for the already massive pile: There is absolutely no legality or legitimacy whatsoever in this bank mortgage-based land dispensation.
It is manifest nonsense to even try to claim the homeowner has any moral or legal relationship with anyone but the local government, to whom he owes property taxes, and the community, to whom he owes his good stewardship of the property.
Beyond that, to pay a cent to the banks, e.g. to keep paying on an invalid mortgage, is simply to throw money into a meaningless void.
So just a quick recap:
1. The Bailout itself strips the banks of any and all valid right to exist, period. They’re history’s worst robbers, nothing more and nothing less. No citizen could possibly owe them anything.
2. The failure to convey the title legally converts the mortgage to an unsecured loan in 45 states, and renders the MBS, which we already knew were worth pennies on the dollar at best, literally worthless, since the trusts were never anything but pure fraud. So the former proves the invalidity of the mortgage for the legalistically minded, while the latter is further proof that the banks are all insolvent, and the bailout was nothing but a monumental robbery committed by the government itself.
3. Even if one wanted to legally and/or morally argue that “the homeowner still owes somebody” on the mortgage, there’s no way to legally establish who that “somebody” might be. So I insist again that under such extreme circumstances (circumstances of course imposed unilaterally by the banks themselves), we should consider our legal obligation to be only to the local government and our moral obligation to be only to the community.
And again, even if in a particular case we could establish which bankster technically has a “right”, it would be irrelevant since through the immensity of their crimes all banksters have forfeit all rights to anything from us.
4. And now, after MERS, after robo-signing, after forged notes and allonges, we learn that the foreclosures have also been directly criminally processed in this new way. And God knows how many other ways that we don’t yet know about.
How could anyone coherently argue that there’s any constructive way to deal with such absolutely incorrigible criminals? Or to coexist with them at all?
There’s really no alternative. Jubilate In Place, or else cave in and submit once and for all to history’s most larcenous tyranny and chaotic banana republic.
I think by now the call for debt jubilee and smashing the banks is the truly moderate, rational, conservative, law-seeking position, while any call to still temporize with the banks at all is the real call to riot.


  1. Bravo! Brilliant post. As a real conservative I agree completely with everything you wrote. Neoliberalism isn’t conservative it’s just criminality and mammon worship. Empires must fall and this one will as well it lawful for it to do so.

    Comment by Septeus7 — December 17, 2010 @ 10:42 am

    • Thanks, Septeus. All emnpires have fallen, and so will this one, hopefully sooner rather than later.

      Everything is accelerated in modern times.

      Comment by Russ — December 17, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

  2. Excellent argumentation vis à vis the banks’ having abdicated their positions due to clear malfeasance and disregard of state property laws.

    I will take issue with your assertion that “all Democrats” were in favor of Obamacare. Many were, in the end, only to the extent that it seemed to represent a perceived improvement over the status quo.

    Once Obama showed his Republican stripes [you are the first person I’ve read to have called this out]—beginning “negotiation” taking the public option off the table—in fact, the number of Democrats unhappy with Obamacare polled about equal to the number of Republicans unhappy with it, IIRC. Most Democrats did and still do want single-payer and are unhappy with the shit sandwich O. made out of the existing shit.

    Comment by Lidia — December 17, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

    • Thanks, Lidia. I hope I can hone that argument well enough to eventually start making it at public assemblies.

      Actually, when I said “all Democrats” I meant all establishment cadres, and especially those in government. There wasn’t a single Dem who voted against it on progressive grounds, was there? The “progressive block” was a criminal fraud.

      To be frank, I don’t really care why somebody supports a criminal act. Abetting is abetting.

      Is it true that most rank and file Dems want single payer? (The measure of wanting it being the rejection of Obamacare and demand for single payer, upon pain of withholding votes and money and volunteer support until they get it. But I guess it’s too late now.)

      I thought polls show that most self-identified Democrats still support Heritage/Obamacare?

      Ah well, it’s moot. All that matters now as far as the Dems go is that people reject them once and for all.

      Comment by Russ — December 17, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

      • And go… where, exactly?

        Most people refuse to vote as it is, but they still keep holding an election between Republicans and Democrats every couple of years, somehow, and one of them gets elected, whether we like it or not.

        I’m coming around to the idea of mandatory voting.

        Comment by Lidia — December 18, 2010 @ 8:07 am

      • Where? Back to ourselves. We have to redeem our polities and economies all by ourselves.

        We have to do it. No elites. No hierarchical “leaders”. Certainly not through pseudo-federal rigged “elections”.

        But the zombie faith in this gutter criminal gang, the Democratic Party, is nothing but dead weight.

        As for the cult of voting in these neoliberal kangaroo elections, I dealt with that at length here:


        Certainly for any citizen of principle (let alone any anarchist), “mandatory voting” would be the equivalent of being forcibly driven into a church to submit to all of its most odious rituals. That would be the same soul-rape, and I’d respond to it the same way.

        Comment by Russ — December 18, 2010 @ 9:57 am

      • Well, I generally agree that we should go “back to ourselves”, although we seem to come from opposite ends of the spectrum.

        What you call a “zombie faith” on the part of Dems could be used to explain, on the other side of the aisle an Inhofe, a Vitter, a DeMint, a DeLay, a Larry Craig, etc.

        Mandatory voting would (as I see it) bring alternate candidates out of the woodwork.

        Otherwise, we should just give up the concept of a United States altogether, since there are by now far too many people involved to yield a coherent result.

        Comment by Lidia — December 18, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

      • I don’t know what spectrum you mean. The only spectrum which has any reality is:

        direct democracy vs. political elitism,

        worker self-management vs. economic elitism,

        citizen vs. corporatism.

        My position has always been absolutely clear.

        I can’t imagine why you think Republican criminals are any worse, or even different in detail by now, from Democratic criminals.

        This is a kleptocracy. All elites are unproductive, predatory criminal parasites. There are no exceptions. Every policy has no intent and no effect but to further steal from the productive people and politically dispossesss the citizenry. It has no intent and no effect but to cause an illegitimate, anti-sovereign criminal gang to illicitly monopolize all wealth and power.

        The Democratic Party is a criminal enterprise, just like all other elite organizations, (anti-)political and corporate.

        Nor is it any longer admissible to still dream of “better elites”. Representative pseudo-democracy has definitively failed. It’s now empirically proven to have been another trickle-down scam. Positive democracy is the only way forward which can still work and has any rational or moral legitimacy.

        The US certainly is too large and diverse to be democratically coherent. The only moral, rational, and practical solution is to correct the error of 1787-88, resume the American Revolution’s proper path, and restore true federalism.



        Comment by Russ — December 19, 2010 @ 2:24 am

  3. Well this post has the ring of Truth. When I go over to baselinescenario.com, I get depressed. It seems increasingly confusing to keep track of what Simon Johnson’s views really are. To me he seems like a chameleon. So will someone please enlighten me about what his views currently are about austerity measures, specifically medicare and social security? It seems like yesterday Professor Johnson was posting about what a red-herring the deficit hawk debate was. Now it seems like he’s thrown all his weight in favor of stringent austerity measures. Yet he seems to single out some ‘entitlements,’ while not stressing the ridiculous military budget. Anybody care to shed light on this? Thanks.

    Comment by Steven — December 17, 2010 @ 3:09 pm

    • Sorry Steven, Simon’s a mystery to me just as much as to most others. (Unless he’s just angling for an administration adviser position.)

      He was good on calling for breaking up the banks, and when that didn’t happen, he basically gave up and reverted to IMFism. “If you can’t beat ’em join ’em”, or something like that.

      Comment by Russ — December 17, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

  4. I surmise the reason that Simon Johnson are a “mystery” is that they don’t want to formally admit that the system is not reformable from within. And the reason they can’t bring themselves to do that is because the personal implications for them are too unpleasant to bear.

    To admit, let alone assert, that “the system” is criminal, incorrigibly so, necessitates, from a moral standpoint, “taking up “arms” figuratively, if not necessarily literally, against said system. That, in turn, entails at the very least, the likelihood of the loss of one’s “privileges” and status within the system.

    Comment by Edwardo — December 17, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

  5. Editing gone wrong in the last post.

    Let mw try again.

    I surmise the reason that Simon Johnson is a “mystery” is that he doesn’t want to formally admit that the system is not reformable from within. And the reason he can’t bring himself to do that is because the personal implications are too unpleasant to bear.

    To admit, let alone assert, that “the system” is criminal, incorrigibly so, necessitates, from a moral standpoint, “taking up “arms” figuratively, if not necessarily literally, against said system. That, in turn, entails at the very least, the likelihood of the loss of one’s “privileges” and status within the system.

    Comment by Edwardo — December 17, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

    • You’re probably right, although I don’t know what privileges he still seeks.

      I suppose it’s possible to pretend one believes in reformism while advocating radical measures in detail. But I can’t think of anyone who seems to really be doing that. (There are all too many examples of the opposite, someone who spews vaguely radical rhetoric but whose actual prescriptions are picayune “reform” all the way.)

      I admit I’m about to give up on Baseline Scenario. The posts yesterday were nauseating. It no longer seems possible to even argue with it, the place is getting so idiotically counter-reality.

      What kind of lunatic was skeptical or at least reserved about Obama before, but chooses the aftermath of the Dems’ 100% self-imposed electoral debacle, where we have such empirical proof of the effects of their stupidity and malevolence, to suddenly go all in on believing in Obama and his ideology? It’s a sickness. I felt a physical revulsion yesterday at Kwak’s two posts.

      Comment by Russ — December 18, 2010 @ 2:35 am

  6. Excellent post! This bankster controlled government is committing so many crimes so fast that it’s a full time job just trying to keep up with their sleaze.

    I especially liked the following line:

    “Deficit terrorism like that propagated by the NYT…(is)….qualitatively similar to telling people being herded onto trains that they’re being sent to a place with better conditions. Some Nazi propagandists (“journalists”) were later tried for that.”

    Because I think it might help if we stop expecting any good whatsoever to come from this criminal government, to stop imagining that they ever act with good intentions, to stop being surprised by anything they do, no matter how reprehensible.

    We have to understand, that at least *morally speaking*, there’s little difference between the kind of leaders we have on Washington and Wall Street today, and the kind of men who once ruled over Nazi Germany.

    Samuel Johnson said: “The prospect of hanging concentrates the mind wonderfully.”

    And in this same spirit, seeing our elite rulers as no different from Nazis might help to concentrate our minds on the task at hand and on what needs to be done.

    Comment by Frank — December 17, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

    • Thanks, Frank. You’re right, a key part of the philosophy we need to propagate is the fundamental criminality of all elite structures.

      Comment by Russ — December 18, 2010 @ 2:25 am

    • I agree also Frank. And the greatest historical lesson for common people around the world is that we must understand and adopt solidarity. We must not allow abuses (rounding up) of any other group on such flimsy excuses as their differences or that we may disagree with them.

      We all survive together, or we drown separatly. There is no middle ground on this.

      Comment by Paul Repstock — December 18, 2010 @ 9:27 pm

      • Thanks, Paul. You’re right about the need for solidarity and that we are all in this together, from the the homeless to the unemployed, from the working class to the endangered middle class, now seen by elites as a luxury that capitalism can no longer afford.

        And without forgetting about third world peasants and the poor everywhere.

        Comment by Frank — December 19, 2010 @ 12:52 am

  7. This is actually a follow-up to the Paul Krugman post “Smugman”, but seeing how that discussion appears to be closed, I hope you won’t mind me posting it here.

    Today I came across a poem that I thought might be relevant to Paul Krugman and the liberal class he represents.

    It’s by Bertolt Brecht and is entitled “The Interrogation of the Good”:

    “Step forward: we hear
    That you are a good man.
    You cannot be bought, but the lightning
    Which strikes the house, also
    Cannot be bought.
    You hold to what you said.
    But what did you say?
    You are honest, you say your opinion.
    Which opinion?
    You are brave.
    Against whom?
    You are wise.
    For whom.
    You do not consider your personal advantages.
    Whose advantages do you consider then?
    You are a good friend.
    Are you also a good friend of the good people?

    Hear us then: we know
    That you are our enemy. That is why we shall

    Now put you in front of a wall. But in consideration of your merits and good qualities
    We shall put you in front of a good wall
    and shoot you
    With a good bullet from a good gun and bury you
    With a good shovel in the good earth.”

    Comment by Frank — December 18, 2010 @ 8:17 pm

    • Thanks, Frank. Maybe that’s a little harsh for Krugman, but who knows. I guess history will decide.

      You had problems posting that on the other thread? The last few days I’ve been having glitches with comment notifications, and who knows what other problems there may be.

      Comment by Russ — December 19, 2010 @ 2:38 am

      • It might be too harsh for Krugman, yes, but I was thinking of him more as a spokesperson for the liberal class in general. If Chris Hedges is correct that the liberal class is only allowed a place within American capitalism because they are useful in purging and silencing those radicals who defy the corporate state, if, as he suggests, the real enemy of the liberal class is not the Republicans, Foxnews, or Glenn Beck, but radical, independent thinkers such as Noam Chomsky and Ralph Nader. Then perhaps it’s not too harsh. However I’m not literally suggesting these people should be lined up and executed; merely that they should be brutally discarded for distracting us from the real issues of class warfare and kleptocracy, and for pretending the system does not need to be completely overhauled; according to them all it really needs is a little tinkering, a little reform here and there, that’s okay, as long as these do not upset the banksters or pose any real threat to the corporate state.

        Comment by Frank — December 19, 2010 @ 8:10 am

      • PS – I forgot to respond to this part. Actually I didn’t have trouble posting to the other thread, I didn’t try because I thought the discussion there was over and was afraid if I posted anything new it might go unnoticed.

        My mistake, sorry to suggest the comment section wasn’t working, as I haven’t experienced any glitches here so far.

        Comment by Frank — December 19, 2010 @ 8:22 am

      • I agree that the liberals have no future, because politics will inexorably become more radical. If it really comes down to fascism vs. revolution, although most liberals would try to adapt to the fascist side, historically they were unable to, and were driven out completely.

        In tomorrow’s projected post (on the SCOTUS) I’ll point out a possible metric of the decline of the liberals’ position within corporatist neoliberalism.

        I haven’t heard of any posting glitches, but I’m experiencing notification glitches. (I’m supposed to receive an e-mail notifying me of each comment, but the last few days it’s been sporadic, and I’ve had to go to the threads to find most of the new comments. That’s happened a few times before, and each time it cleared up after a few days.)

        Comment by Russ — December 19, 2010 @ 3:53 pm

  8. The only fly in your ointment is the inability of State Governments to make this stick.

    First, the Fedral Government controls all the major military forces, and these forces will be deployed ‘to protect the law’, as it applies to the interests of the corporate structure.

    Second, there is unlikely to be unified action on the part of the states. Self interest will lead State politicians to make side deals with Washington.

    Comment by Paul Repstock — December 18, 2010 @ 9:20 pm

    • Well, if all you’re going to do is picture the worst-case scenario and then dogmatically assert that as the guaranteed outcome, then you might as well pack it in.

      I think you’re too used to seeing how they’re able to get everything they want with no resistance. Even then it doesn’t go very smoothly, on account of how unstable their Tower of Babel is.

      I’m not convinced that they’d be easily able, or perhaps able at all, to impose their will in the face of significant non-violent resistance.

      Comment by Russ — December 19, 2010 @ 2:33 am

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