The Real Crisis: When Everything Decent Is ‘Off the Table’

By Carl Davidson
Beaver County Blue

Leave it to the New York Times to look for a silver lining in the dark cloud of a Wall St-right wing victory on ‘The Deal’ over the phony budget crisis.

“Democrats can look forward to the expiration of the Bush tax cuts next year,” says their Aug 1, 2011 editorial, “and will have to make the case in the 2012 elections for new lawmakers who will undo the damage.”

In other words, the bondholders will be paid on time, the markets will be stabilized for a short time, and matters will continue to get worse for the jobless and the rest of us. Tighten your belt another notch and get used to it. As for 2012, you have ‘nowhere to go’, so don’t expect much.

No thanks.

This ‘deal’ belongs to those at the top who benefit from it. The rest of us have no choice but to organize and keep fighting.  Demanding an end to tax breaks for the rich will be part of it. So will throwing out useless politicians owned by Wall Street and the banks.

So the Times editorial has a minor point.

But we have a better platform to stand on-the ‘People’s Budget’ of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. John Conyers Full Employment Bill to supply jobs where they’re needed most, Medicare for All, the Employee Free Choice Act and ending three wars. Fund it all with a financial transaction tax on Wall Street’s unproductive speculation.

What’s interesting about this package of demands is that they have all been declared, by our supposed betters, ‘off the table.’  It means we are outside their circle of manufactured consent called ‘neoliberal hegemony.’

Never mind that each one has majority support among voters. Never mind that the largest caucus in Congress supports them. And never mind that they would actually work, and build a progressive path out of prolonged austerity.

Instead, our leaders are owned by finance capital. They have taken a position of circling their own wagons, which makes the crisis deeper and longer for everyone else. To sell it, they repeat the mantra that this is going to create jobs by ‘confidence building,’ i.e., making business people feel better about themselves and their bank balances.

They’re fooling themselves as well as the rest of us. Jobs are created by increasing demand. But the deal will lay off government-funded workers and cut demand everywhere. Our current wars, in addition to being unjust, are making us less secure and less prosperous, not more so.

Getting a seat in the dining room where we’ve been declared ‘off the table’ is no good anymore. We need to start building a new table. That means vastly expanding grassroots organization with a fighting capacity, at the polls and in the streets, and the sooner, the better.

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