The administration’s roll-out of its austerity program for Americans fits a pattern we saw in health care reform, in the run-up to the Stimulus bill, in cap-and-trade, in financial reform, whatever. The Administration always operates from the top down, and then tries to mobilize support from the bottom. It decides what it wants to do and then brings interest group/think tanks like the Peterson Foundation to bear to reinforce its narrative in the non-Government sector. The think tanks collaborate with the Administration to set the parameters of public debate in the media. Much of the netroots joins the chorus. If needed parts of the public are mobilized to support the received view through Administration-friendly “progressive” organizations, and real solutions to real problems get shut out of sight and out of mind.
In the fiscal responsibility/reform drive the narrative is that we (the US Government) will run out of money (US Dollars), and won’t be able to borrow it, because interest rates will be too high; or get it through taxation, because raising taxes is deflationary. So the only way not to run out and leave some dollars for our children is to cut Government spending and at least decrease the debt-to-GDP ratio.
We can’t cut the Wars, ’cause that’s national security. We can’t cut the fight against terrorism ’cause that, too, is national security. We can’t cut tax expenditures (or other welfare for businesses), because that will hurt business in a time of recession. So what’s left? Why, only entitlements, of course.
Medicare and Social Security must be cut or we can’t make progress toward "Fiscal sustainability." Why should we worry about this? Because anything else is "fiscally irresponsible," and we don’t want to be fiscally irresponsible. Do we?
Unexamined in delivering this narrative are its fundamental claims. Is the Us Government really running out of US Dollars? Does the Federal Government really have to raise money by borrowing or taxing in order to spend money? Will our grandchildren run out of money?
These questions and many others will be addressed and answered at the Fiscal Sustainability Teach-In Counter-Conference. It will be the answer to the Administration’s latest attempt to orchestrate a political process that will result in transferring more wealth from the middle class and the poor to the very well-off and the corporations.
Bloggers are picking this event up all over the netroots as are PR services. There’s also quite a twitter buzz about this. Search on "fiscal sustainability" and you’ll see it.
On Sunday night or Monday, perhaps before, a front page post at Huffington by Lynn Parramore will contain brief common sense statements by 8 economists, 7 of whom are speakers at the Conference on the primary myths in fiscal sustainability. Don’t miss that post. Don’t miss the Teach-In Counter-Conference. Help if you can. Follow-up afterwards by watching the youtubes and the documentary therealnews.com will be making about the event.
Carry the anti-deficit hawk message of the event. We. Are. Not. Running. Out. Of. Money. The. Money. Was. There. All. Along. The. Money. Is. There. Now. The. Money. Will. Be. There. Tomorrow.
Let’s make this the start of a movement that sweeps Peterson and the deficit hawks aside and that forces this Administration to end this recession and rebuild our nation. Here’s the event web site with all kinds of information about it, our speakers, the issues being addressed, press releases, schedules, location, associated blogs and so on.