Meaning of the fiscal cliff: “We were all lying in 2011”


Congress and Obama now must face the consequences of the budgetary agreement they made in 2011 even as they had no intention of honoring. So it’s off the fiscal cliff we go. They kicked the can down the road for 2 years and now, surprise, must honor it. The economy could well suffer because of the continued cynical ineptitude of our parasitical Congress and Obama. Congress could have settled the budget fight months ago if they’d acted like adults and at least pretended to be  elected representatives who gave a hoot about their constituents. But instead they’ve waited until the last possible moment to try to make a deal, complete with the usual gorilla chest-pounding, filled with sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Both sides blame the other for not finding a way to kick the can again. Neither side really expected to go through with this reform. It was all for political show. It was political theater. It was all a charade to fool the rubes back home. “We have a solution to the deficit. We’ll begin to implement it on January 1, 2013. Trust us.”

Orcs v. Goblins: Crazed Republicans turn on each other in ugly fiscal cliff battle

President Obama is comfortable with goblins, and is often secretly thought to be one of them, as Bruce Barlett recently explained in the Fiscal Times. They like him okay, too.

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  • Sorry. It’s not both sides. The Republicans have devolved into a crazed suicide-bombing mob. If they’re gonna go down, they’re gonna take the whole country with them.

    The sooner we recognize the problem, the sooner we can start to do something about it.

    • On this, it is both sides. If the Democrats weren’t lying when they passed the budget act that is now being fear-mongered as the “fiscal cliff”, why are they now beating the fear-mongering drums so hard? They wanted to claim that they would protect social insurance programs and cut military spending (both very popular policies) for electoral season. Now, after the elections, Obama is proposing to cut social insurance programs and protect military spending, and I don’t see other Democratic leaders doing much except blaming Republicans. I’d believe the blame if the Democratic proposal was anything like what they campaigned on.

        • Ezra Klein:

          I don’t think you can look at the last three years and say the White House hasn’t tried to come together with the Republicans.

          I also don’t think you can look at the last three years and say the Republicans have tried to come together with the White House.

          The check on that sort of behavior is blame. If Republicans are being intransigent and the American people want compromise, then, in theory, the Republicans will get blamed. And that does seem to be happening: The GOP polls terribly, and they lost the 2012 election.

          But at the elite level — which encompasses everyone from CEOs to media professionals — there’s a desire to keep up good relations on both sides of the aisle. And so it’s safer, when things are going wrong, to offer an anodyne criticism that offends nobody — “both sides should come together!” — then to actually blame one side or the other. It’s a way to be angry about Washington’s failure without alienating anyone powerful. That goes doubly for commercial actors, like Starbucks, that need to sell coffee to both Republicans and Democrats.

          That breaks the system. It hurts the basic mechanism of accountability, which is the public’s ability to apportion blame. If one side’s intransigence will lead to both sides getting blamed, then it makes perfect sense to be intransigent: You’ll get all the benefits and only half the blame.

          The two parties are not equivalent right now. The two sides are not the same. If you want Washington to come together, you need to make it painful for those who are breaking it apart.

          Again, see Ornstein & Mann (who, btw, were essentially blackballed in 2012 by the DC elite for daring to quantify reality’s apparent liberal bias).

        • I’m saying the Democrats should propose as legislation what they promised in the campaigns. Allowing the 2011 budget act to take effect is much preferable to continuing to exacerbate social and economic inequality, which every reported proposal does. Austerity is the wrong thing to do, but since the elites will impose austerity, I’d rather get it with social insurance programs intact and cuts to the military boondoggle. But again, Democrats ought to be proposing to increase social benefits and to cut upper class free giveaways. To collude in the notion that there’s a CRISIS, a CRISIS, a CRISIS I tell you! in order to push through things they claim not to want but have to do because of those crazy Republicans is dishonest.

  • Psychopathic Christian Reconstructionist theocrat Gary North is now considered a legitimate authority on anything (especially economics)?

    Well. Something tells me his answer to looming fiscal chaos is to reinstitute public stoning.

    But hey, at least he rejects geocentrism (Taking a controversial pro-Copernicus position vs. Daddy-in-Law? PROGRESSIVE!)

    And here I was trying to avoid whiskey for breakfast…

  • So let us be blunt about it: We must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will be get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.”
    –Gary North, 
    quoted in Albert J. Menendez, Visions of Reality: What Fundamentalist Schools Teach, Prometheus Books, 1993

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