July 19, 2011

Freakshow: Deficits, Taxes, Austerity

Filed under: Neo-feudalism, Reformism Can't Work — Tags: , — Russ @ 1:28 am


I haven’t been closely following the latest magic show in Washington. I’m aware of the same old maelstrom of lies, fake struggle, phony digressions, dire predictions. The truths are clear: The deficit and the debt are not real issues. No one within the system who claims to care about them actually cares about them, and there’s no reality-based reason anyone should care about them. There’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans on this, although each pretends there is. Of course, if Obama wanted the political/media discussion to be about job creation and not about deficits, that’s what the discussion would be. But just as much as the Reps, he’s focused only on austerity for the people. This is a kleptocratic imperative.
Meanwhile we have digressive, misdirectional nonsense like debates over the legality and/or constitutionality of the debt ceiling, philosophical hand-wringing over the very concept, speculation over how Obama can/ought to do end runs around the law and constitution (thus the liberals get a whack at aggrandizing the imperial presidency). All this is absurd since this government recognizes no “law” in the first place. If it wants to borrow, it’ll borrow. If it wants to print, it’ll print. It’ll deal with this law the same way it deals with every other law, acknowledging its authority or flouting it (brazenly or clandestinely) based purely on what brings the outcome most congenial to kleptocracy.
(Of course the US government is hardly unique in this. It’s cute the way European governments, none of whom, including the Germans and French, adhered to the debt-to-GDP requirements of the Eurozone, are pretending to agonize over this latest example of US banana republicanism. I think there’s plenty of bananas to go around.)
The point of the foregoing was to describe how this is a completely phony debate. As always, the government will do exactly what it wants to do, regardless of the law.
What about the alleged substance of the issue – are deficits and debts really a problem? MMT says no. In an economy this depressed, government can and should run deficits as long as the spending is on constructive things. The current political reality is a funhouse mirror image of this. Everyone in Washington, all elites, agree that the government can and should borrow and spend infinitely on corporate welfare. (And this is without reference to the economy’s operation relative to capacity. No political/media elite thinks corporate welfare should be cut even if the dreaded inflation monster did show itself.) Somehow, deficits are only an issue, and the fear of inflation is only an issue, where it comes to public interest spending. This really means that it’s not deficits or inflation which is the real issue, but the public interest itself. Today’s elites are dedicated to destroying government as something which benefits the people in any way, while maintaining it (in an extremely big, aggressive form) as the machine of corporate tyranny and looting.
This leads us to taxation. Like austerians elsewhere, Obama keeps intoning that we must have “shared sacrifice”, which is of course code for 100% sacrifice for the non-rich, 0% for the rich. What would happen if he were forced to listen to actual citizens demanding to know, “You can actually stand there and claim we haven’t sacrificed enough already? Do you have even the slightest shred of decency or shame?” But he clearly has neither. Part of this demanded sacrifice is raising taxes on the non-rich, even as government abdicates all responsibilities to us, once and for all. On the contrary, we’re to be taxed to fund bureaucratic and police assaults on us, and to facilitate the “privatization”, that is robbery, of our public property.
It’s clear that whether or not taxation on the non-rich ever had any legitimacy in the past, it no longer does. Philosophically, we do not have a legitimate government. This is a kleptocracy which recognizes only the rich and big corporations as citizens, as persons at all. It does nothing other than for their benefit. From the point of view of the actual citizens, people who actually do work, this government is nothing but a parasite and a predator. It will never inaugurate a new public interest program, but only continue to destroy the ones which still exist. To the extent any still exist, this is only out of inertia and political duress.
(As for entitlements, these aren’t legitimately part of any discussion involving deficits and debt, because we the people already paid for them with dedicated taxes. We must refuse to allow that they’re touchable even in principle. We must reject immediately anyone who participated in embezzling those funds for other spending (or who supported such embezzlers) and who now wants to turn around and claim those programs are debt-drivers that need to be cut.)
As a practical matter, people who are struggling, people who face even more severe economic tyranny further down the road, and especially people who are fighting to relocalize their economies and rebuild their communities, need every cent we can get, and we can use that cent far more effectively if we do it directly by ourselves than if it’s “trickled back down” to us by alleged good government, and if we do it now rather than at some indeterminate time in the future. For both of these reasons any taxation upon us robs us of precious resources we can’t afford to lose.
And then there’s the fact that the money taken from us isn’t merely handed over to the corporations and the rich to be thrown down a rathole never to be seen again. That would be bad enough. But much of it is then used by these predators as a weapon against us. This is war, and ammunition stolen from us and handed over to the enemy will then be used to shoot at us. That’s the effect of the government policy of redistributing wealth upward. That’s the effect of all taxation. To the extent that taxation touches the non-rich at all, it is regressive by definition. Viciously so.
That’s why it’s stupid to still argue about “making the tax code more progressive”. One, kleptocracy would never do that. Two, even if this system ever did make the income tax, and even payroll taxes, nominally more progressive, that would make no difference. The rich would continue to evade these taxes, and anything taken from them in taxes would be handed right back to them anyway, since the government’s policy is to benefit them in any way it can. (“Trickle down” really would work for the rich.)
So we’ve disposed of taxation as such, and of the progressive-vs.-regressive misdirection ploy. We’re left with a clear, stark position:
No Taxes on the Non-Rich.
We must furiously resist any tax increases upon us (any hike in existing taxes, any new taxes like a VAT), and fight to have existing taxes removed. Every cent we redeem for our own use in this way is a pure gain. Under this system we’ll never do any better with the diminishing money we have.
(Previous posts on my No Taxes position include No Taxes on the Non-Rich and End All Taxation.)
There’s no point fearing that without taxation the criminals will have a pretext to gut Social Security and Medicare. They already want to do that and will do so whenever it’s politically possible. The presence or absence of any given level of tax revenue won’t change that. No, here we must make another stark demand:
Total Austerity for the Criminals, Not One Cent More From the People.
Including the rock that SS and Medicare are untouchable. Absolutely no cuts to them. (On the contrary, we should be demanding Medicare expansion, Medicare For All, single payer. We should always take the offensive.) They’re perfectly solvent. They’re not part of the deficit. We the people already paid for them. To even suggest compromising them is to advocate robbery plain and simple.
So there’s the clear, simple position: No taxes, no cuts in anything but corporate welfare.

June 28, 2011

School of Athens: The Greek General Strike Against the Austerity Assault


The School of Athens, by Raphael

As I write this the people of Greece are embarked upon a protest action which the unions optimistically termed a general strike in their call to action. The symbolic goal is to try to encircle the parliament building and prevent a vote on the assault package the Greek branch of kleptocracy (the Greek “government”) wants to inflict. The real goal has to be to muster enough fervor and enough of a consciousness that this government is illegitimate that the Greek people renounce it and its crimes once and for all. In the end, that’s the only worthwhile goal for a general strike.
We’re all familiar to the point of nausea with what’s happening in Greece. The government ran up tremendous debt to fund the extractions of the rich while not having to tax them. It allowed the entire taxation system to be flouted even as it engaged in this spending. Little of the short-term bounty went to the people. But the Greek government seeks to saddle them with the odious debt. Now that the banksters have crashed the European economy and revealed the insolvency of the German and French banks who engaged in this predatory lending, the goal of the “troika” (the ECB, EU, IMF) is to use these debts as the pretext for a disaster capitalist looting binge. The plan is nothing less than to steal all real assets in Greece through privatization while dismantling all remaining public interest spending, and to extend the robbery by raising taxes (and presumably collecting them this time) on the non-rich of Greece.
(We can take it as an axiom of taxation going forward that kleptocracy will never raise taxes on corporations and the rich. Such taxes won’t be nominally imposed, and even if they are, they won’t be collected. Therefore our watchword and the battle line we must hold is, No Taxes on the Non-Rich. We must oppose all regressive taxes (existing or proposed) and not waste our energy calling for more progressive taxation, since this will never be enacted and only plays into the hands of the austerian lie that the government needs to tax at all for the sake of revenue. But taxation has no purpose but social control.)
The process and lies of disaster capitalism are clear. A year ago this bailout was foisted upon the Greeks as the only way to maintain their status within the euro. They were foolish to ever want this in the first place, let alone to continue to want it, but at any rate except for some anarchists and other “fringe” dissidents, the people grumbled but submitted. There would be pain, there would be austerity, but they’d get their bailout and eventually recover. Here we are a year later and, as the dissenters predicted, the blackmail already agreed to isn’t enough. The blackmailers are back demanding far more as the price of continuing on the course already agreed to. (What’s at stake today isn’t a new bailout package, but only a vastly more severe austerity rampage as the price of continuing the bailout already agreed to a year ago. Once again we see the truth of what should be common sense. You can’t appease aggressors. If you pay a blackmailer, he’ll just keep coming back demanding more.)
Today far more Greeks realize what’s happening and what’s at stake. The protests and direct actions are no longer the monopoly of mere “leftists”. Today they increasingly encompass all demographics (except the rich). In particular, the middle classes and non-rich businessmen are increasingly turning against the regime as they see how it plans to liquidate them all at the behest of alien banksters and technocrats. More and more the Greek streets talk about nation and sovereignty. (I’ve tried to talk about those at this blog and elsewhere for a long time now, but I think I’m still far ahead of any America curve there; it’s great to see a nation anywhere starting to become conscious of itself, and of the fact that it’s being destroyed.)
But if the Greeks want to take back their sovereignty, they’ll need to go far beyond what they still articulate as their goals. A two-day general strike, even if the breadth of the action warrants that name, is still mired in the limits it imposes upon itself. The general strike won’t work to drive out the criminals completely until it becomes permanent toward achieving that goal. On the other hand, a general strike toward a limited goal like encouraging parliament to vote down the austerity assault (which is the proclaimed goal of the unions and, so far as I read, is still the consciousness of the streets) has two major flaws.
1. It still wants the people to coexist with kleptocracy, but dreams of “reforming” it. But we know this is impossible.
2. It’s still mired in the mindset of receiving from elites, petitioning elites, waiting upon elites to learn their will and then reacting.
For both these reasons, even if the Greeks temporarily stave off this new assault, that will still leave them where they were a few weeks ago: Vulnerable, ravaged, and waiting for the next blow to fall. It won’t have been a step forward toward liberation, but just holding a line which is politically and spiritually undesirable, and which in the longer run is untenable on a practical level.
So that’s a criticism. But I’m not completely pessimistic. I’ll close on the optimistic note that every action, however insufficient in itself, can help build the movement consciousness so that it becomes ever more intrepid and radical. A two-day general strike toward a limited goal can be a step toward the truly revolutionary general strike. (Especially when the people see how the limited action fails, either immediately as in France last year, or a few months later.)
The only strategic plan worth anything has the goal of taking back our countries and driving out all criminals with a whip. The Greek people can do far more than protest in the streets. They can default from the bottom up, go on a total and permanent tax strike, and through direct action take back all that land that’s been stolen. With any favor from the forces of history, the street action shall be the catalyst toward a structural uprising. Once again we can have the School of Athens, already once so seminal and fruitful for Western history.

May 29, 2011

Corporate Welfare, Austerity, and Public Sector Unions

Filed under: Disaster Capitalism, Neo-feudalism — Tags: — Russ @ 5:39 am


Since I put some thought into this intended comment at Naked Capitalism and it got eaten, I’ll post it here instead. It’s about the right viewpoint on public sector unions. Anarchists want to get rid of government, so it follows that we also want public sector employment and its unions to wither away. The jobs which are potentially real should become citizen jobs, those which aren’t should cease to exist. All unionism should be anarcho-syndicalist.
But that doesn’t mean getting on the austerity bandwagon. On the contrary, we who really want to shrink government must focus our counterattacks on corporate welfare and welfare for the rich. The state employee bloat is peripheral. Indeed, for tactical reasons we need to stick up for any non-rich group, statist or not, who is in a death struggle with the kleptocracy.
So here’s the comment I was replying to:

The comments here have become totally lunatic. Of course these people are not going to attack Greece.

The underlying issue here is how to run an economy from a fiscal point of view. The conventional wisdom is that what you need to do is balance the budget across the business cycle, that is, deficit in recession, surplus in boom.

There’s a lunatic chorus here which seems to think that all you have to do is get your own central bank and print as much money as you feel like.

Well, its been tried. It always ends in tears. The problem with Greece is not membership of the euro. The fiscal policies Greece was following would have ended in a crash regardless of whether it were in the euro. You simply cannot have a public sector with the salary and pension arrangements they had, and finance it from borrowing as they did. It is not sustainable, and what cannot be sustained will not continue.

What was going on in Greece was looting. Of course what went on in the US prior to the recent crisis was also looting. Looting is not the sole province of the banks. Any group that has a chance will loot. They will use the government to do it at every opportunity.

Whether Greece is inside the euro or not, makes no difference. The country cannot afford that public sector or that level of spending, so it will come to a stop. They may have the finest revolutionary tradition in the world, its going to stop. Their problem is too small an economy to finance what they would like to be their lifestyle.

[The part about “attacking Greece” refers to the possibility of an actual military attack. While that may be an outlier idea, given our historical circumstances it’s certainly not “lunatic” to consider the possibility, even if only to quickly reject it.]
“The underlying issue here is how to run an economy from a fiscal point of view.”
Yes indeed. So what do the system’s actions prove?
“The conventional wisdom is that what you need to do is balance the budget across the business cycle, that is, deficit in recession, surplus in boom.”
Uh huh. And who does any part of this in practice? It was deficit in boom, and that really confuses cause and effect since the financialized “boom” was simply a criminal spree subsidized by the government. There hasn’t been any actual economic growth in decades, just the bloating of debt and bubbles.
Meanwhile, we still have an ever-escalating deficit binge in the incipient depression. It’s just that this government bingeing is nothing but looting the real economy and handing over the loot to organized crime. So the real economic effect of the deficit spending is to starve, certainly not the beast, i.e. the parasite, but the host, the people and the real economy themselves.
It’s the worst of both worlds: A counter-stimulus debt binge. That’s because it’s aggressive wealth and income redistribution from those who produce to worthless parasites.
Which leads us to this:
“The fiscal policies Greece was following would have ended in a crash regardless of whether it were in the euro. You simply cannot have a public sector with the salary and pension arrangements they had, and finance it from borrowing as they did. It is not sustainable, and what cannot be sustained will not continue.”
Certainly the public sector unions comprise a power structure patronage base. All this government bloat is parasitic as well. (Although I don’t know why a statist like yourself would complain about that.)
So now the elites want to liquidate this portion of their base (just like they’re liquidating all others; doesn’t seem very strategically sound to me). But they’re not proposing to reduce government spending the way deficit fear-mongers claim to want. Any money “saved” by liquidating the public sector unions isn’t going to be restituted to the taxpayer. It’s merely going to be redistributed upward to the gangsters. The Wisconsin budget isn’t trying to cut spending, but redistribute it from public workers to corporate welfare. It’s the same in Washington and everywhere else.
The morality of this is clear enough – government workers do at least some kind of work, while corporate elites are purely destructive parasites. So if a tax dollar has to be extracted and spent at all, morally better on teachers than on banksters.
In addition anyone who cares about that “conventional wisdom” you adduced above would recognize that government spending on worker salaries and benefits will circulate into the economy vastly more readily than handing over the loot to rich parasites who will just hoard it. So as a practical matter, anyone who believes in this system and who cares about “the fiscal point of view” would have to agree that if that tax dollar is going to be extracted at all, it’ll go to far better use being spent on public sector employees than on corporate welfare.
As for government spending being reduced in an absolute sense, the record proves that almost no one who claims to want that really wants it, since anyone who really wanted that would start with the bailouts, the wars, weapons spending, Big Ag subsidies, and the rest of corporate welfare and welfare for the rich. Only once all corporate welfare had been eradicated would one then turn to the relatively miniscule spending which can actually help people.
The fact is, citizen advocates against corporatism like myself are the only people who truly want to shrink government. For example, wanting the abolition of corporations (artificial, high-maintenance extensions of the government) as such is a litmus test for one’s position on Big Government.
“It always ends in tears.”
What could possibly bring more and worse tears than the ones already being inflicted by the criminal status quo?

January 20, 2011

We Have A (Fascist) Command Economy

Filed under: Corporatism, Health Racket Bailout, Neo-feudalism — Tags: , , — Russ @ 6:39 am


1. I mean that in a precise sense. The economic definition of fascism, which is roughly synonymous with corporatism, is a command economy which maintains private rent extractions. (This is separate from other aspects of classical fascism – political authoritarianism, ideological obscurantism, censorship, destruction of civil liberties, tribalism, racism, military aggression. But as we’re seeing, most of these definitely follow from the economic aspect, and all are likely to follow in the end.)
2. Given that necessary part of the definition, there can be two manifestations of this command economy. It may be corporatized toward an ideological goal, as in the case of Nazism. In this case the rentiers are kept because they’re judged to be the most effective vehicle to achieve certain practical goals, e.g. fast rearmament in Hitler’s case. Or, the corporatization may be done for the sake of maximizing the extractions themselves. The already classic case is modern neoliberalism. In this case, the rentiers prefer to dispense with the full fascist phenomenon for as long as they can, since classical fascism generally means the thugs take over the operation, while the “legitimate businessmen” become the junior partners. Today’s corporatists want to maintain control of their thugs, and anyway there’s no need to go all the way to full fascism in the absence of any real leftist movement.
So it’s a fist/glove relationship, although which is the fist and which is the glove varies with the system. The Nazi Four Year Plan was based on building political prestige through a jobs program while the thing was really geared toward rearmament and war. (When Hitler was told about Keynes’ ideas, he grasped the essence immediately. To paraphrase, “It’s all propaganda. The government makes a show of force toward the economy, this causes the people to believe in the government and therefore the economy, and this actually makes the economy strong.” This wasn’t really classical Keynes, which was supposed to function in the context of liberal democracy, if capitalism weren’t actually totalitarian. But of course it is, and Hitler was thus an early exponent of Samuelson-Friedman-Krugman bastard Keynes.)
Neoliberalism flips this relationship over. State, party, war are all meant to serve as accoutrements of profiteering and greed fundamentalism. It’s robbery for its own sake, and everything else is meant to be instrumental toward this.
3. Examples.
*The Bailout. The big banks are permanently insolvent, and all government policy boils down to stealing from the people to hand the loot over to the banks. The banksters are then supposed to directly steal as much as possible in the form of “bonuses” and other “compensation”, as well as swindle, speculate, gamble, wage economic war on currencies and governments,  and commit any and every other financial crime they can think of. They’re not supposed to hold anything back. This is the most profound and evil Permanent War the US government wants to enshrine.
*The military wars of aggression. This is the Permanent War proper. The wars are launched with public money and resources. The main purpose of the wars is to convey stolen public money to an innumerable menagerie of corporate rackets. Weapons contractors are only the beginning. Beyond that, the Permanent War’s goals are to directly aggrandize big government, quell dissent, provide pretexts for further assaults on civil liberties, and keep the phony “war on terror” going as a political astroturf.
*The health racket bailout. Congress artificially commodified health care by propping up zombie “insurance” rackets. They did this first with an antitrust exemption which was meant to shield them from any market competition. Now this bailout, assisted by a corrupt judiciary, is trying to eliminate market competition in the form of non-participation. The government’s command goal is to maximize the forced market for the worthless Stamp, the mandated “insurance” policy, while stripping all cost controls and restrictions on it.
(The favorite lie of these corrupt judges and other system hacks, that “Congress didn’t create this market”, is one of the most brazen direct lies we’ve heard in recent times.)
*Food. The government is indirectly but inexorably trying to repress and strangle all competition for corporatized food.
*“Austerity”. Gut public interest spending and public services, take the money freed up and hand it over to the rich and to big corporations.
*Privatization. For decades now, governments at all levels have engaged in massive control fraud, simply handing over public property to private criminals for pennies on the dollar. (Of course the federal government has led the way.) The corrupt officials involved are paid off in direct bribes, quasi-direct bribes (bribery laundered as “campaign contributions”), and most of all, lucrative revolving door sinecures. This is simply corruption, bribery and embezzlement. It’s a capital crime.
(The commodification of education falls into this category.)
4. Here’s the command pattern.
A. The government borrows and/or prints (i.e. credits accounts), and hands the money directly or indirectly to corporations.
B. The government austeritizes and hands over the loot.
C. Bogus government programs (e.g. the Obama stimulus, or employer tax credits) are really just corporate loot conveyances.
D. The government is now planning to raise taxes on the non-rich. The VAT is one example often bruited. Such regressive levies are then meant to be handed over to the corporations and the rich. The health Stamp mandate is one such tax. Obama, the Democrats, and the Republicans now openly call it a tax.
E. Austerity and privatization are direct robbery. The Bailout-inflicted loss of interest income to pensioners and other savers is indirect robbery.
F. The eventual goal is to buy up all the land as well. (Foreclosuregate is a critical development. The people are still on the land. We could always morally seize it. It’s now clear we can legally seize it as well, even according to the banksters’ own rigged law. This blunder of the banks is a one-time opportunity. Our choice can be to stop paying, stay on the land, Jubilate in Place, and as industrial agriculture fails, we can work our own land as our own bosses. Or the other option is to meekly depart, let the banks take it all, let all land revert to the equivalent of REO, and end up working it as indentured debt slaves. Which of these outcomes we deserve will be demonstrated by the choice we make.)
G. Eventually the dollar collapses, hyperinflates, whatever. Or maybe the system can somehow maintain it, with the public owing all the debt. However it works, the rich and the corporations end up with all the real assets.
We worked for every cent that exists.
They stole every cent they have, and want to steal every cent still outstanding.
But if we let them steal the rest, then I guess Ayn Rand would be proven right, and they really were entitled after all.
So that’s the goal of neoliberalism. That’s the nature and the goal of today’s command economy. I think we can see why the term “fascist” would also be appropriate for it.

December 21, 2010

No Taxes On the Non-Rich

Filed under: Reformism Can't Work — Tags: , — Russ @ 2:26 am


We must get over any and all fixations on “good government”. We face a terminal kleptocracy. That means lots of things, including the fact that all the nice-sounding things in the civics textbooks and progressive training primers are no longer valid. They’ve been hijacked.
It’ll never happen again that this government will extract taxes and then trickle the money back down in a fair, constructive way. From here on, any taxation will only go down the corporate rathole. Every cent taken from the productive people is stolen. So a basic slogan and absolute demand must be:
No Taxes On the Non-Rich.
That means no new taxes (e.g. a VAT), no expansion of existing taxes. It means we should seize anything like a payroll tax holiday as a good thing (though of course we shouldn’t be grateful to the criminals who “let us keep” a little extra of the wealth we and only we produced, and did so only under extreme political duress).
That doesn’t mean we have to accept social spending cuts. As MMT has demonstrated, the government has no constraints on spending under these economic conditions. As their corporate welfare-laden budgets have proven all along, the elites themselves recognize no such constraints and feel total freedom to print and spend.
So when we combine the tax imperative with the austerity imperative:
Total Austerity for the Criminals [banks, corporations, the rich], Not One Cent More From the People.
No Taxes On the Non-Rich.
We see the clear policy platform. We demand full payouts along with no taxes. It turns out the much-maligned tax protestor types were right about that all along. (They were always wrong in their sycophancy and bootlicking for the corporate elites, and they remain wrong. They only have half the picture, No Taxes. They must learn: Total Austerity for the Criminals.)
Here’s the facts:
1. There will never again be progressive taxation under this system.
2. Even if there were a relatively progressive new tax increment, the revenue extracted will never go to the constructive good of the people. It will go down the corporate rathole, and to build up the police state.
3. If the government ever chose to engage in constructive social spending, it can do so at will simply by crediting accounts. It never has to tax to do that.
4. So taxation really serves no purpose but to keep us shackled to the dollar economy.
For these reasons its a tactical error to be dragged into the argument about progressive vs. regressive taxation. Such distractions exist only in the wonk textbooks. In reality all income and payroll taxes are objectively regressive by now, no matter what their nominal form.
There is one constructive way to argue and advocate taxation: We can classify all taxes as being on productive work or on rents. We must demand as close to 100% taxation as possible on all land and interest rents, all large-estate inheritance, and all finance sector transactions. We must demand and support this vector of lessening taxation on productivity, increasing it on parasites. We should represent this as an excise tax, meant to punish parasitism and encourage productivity.
In practice this system will almost certainly never shift taxes that way. So, that exception aside, let’s reject all taxes. All new taxes, all tax increases, all taxes. In an earlier post I said “let’s be neo-Norquists.” But unlike those liars, who claim to want small government but really want an extremely big, aggressive government to serve as corporate thug and bagman, we really do want to get rid of corporatism completely. We want the complete end of big corporations and big government.
That means, not “we want to drown government in a bathtub”, but we want a tsunami to wash away the whole rotten structure.

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.