Monday, November 26, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #83 - Part 1

"Grand Bargain" is neither

Because I wanted to spend some time this week on the so-called "First Thanksgiving," I'm not going to have time to give as much attention to something I wanted to spend some time on: the business about a Grand Bargain to be reached in the lame-duck session of Congress in order to head off plunging off a so-called Fiscal Cliff. It's going to be reduced here to just a couple of quick comments. I hope to have a fuller discussion next week.

But here's the really important thing to know right now: the "Grand Bargain" to avoid the "Fiscal Cliff" is not grand, it ain't no bargain, and there is no cliff.

If no deal is reached, this is what happens: At the end of 2012, the so-called Bush tax cuts expire. In January, automatic, across the board budget cuts of about $110 billion - half of that from the Pentagon - will kick in. There are other issues, but those are the two which people are focusing on. But it's not like come January 2 :snap: budget cuts and tax increases. Rather, that's when they start to be phased in.

Talk about a fiscal cliff is a scare tactic designed to stampede Congress and the public into accepting trillions of dollars in cuts in social programs for the poor and needy, to stampede us into accepting cuts in the "big three" of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid - cuts over time that are deeper than would happen with the so-called cliff - in exchange for some paltry increase in taxes on the rich who have seen their taxes go down and down again and their wealth go up and up again over the past several decades.

Making this "grand bargain" - which Obama wants to do, remember that last year he offered the GOPpers $4 trillion in cuts in domestic spending, a deal the GOPpers, in thrall to their paymasters, foolishly refused to take - making this "grand bargain" means the poor throwing in their pound of flesh and the rich throwing in their pocket lint and calling that "balanced" because "everyone gave up something."

A bad deal is worse than no deal. We should say loud and clear: Protect the poor, protect the middle class, protect the big three, and make the rich pay their share - or no deal.


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