“The First Thing We Do, . . .” Let’s Occupy the Super Committee
Here’s a practical suggestion for those puzzled, impatient, frustrated or made hopeful by the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Demand that the Congressional Super Committee meeting in secret somewhere in the off-Wall Street boardrooms of our nation’s capital disband, cease to function, go away . . . repeal its mandate and then subject its members to 30 days of public ridicule, if not rotten tomatoes.
Yeah, it’s time to occupy, disrupt, harass and disband the forgotten but still secretly conspiring Super Committee, the wealthy implementers of perhaps the dumbest act of economic self immolation since 1937. Except for the war forever! Pentagon, the clowns in the GOP House Caucus, the lawless Justice Department, or the current White House political team, it’s hard to imagine a group of federal officials more intent and focused on doing serious, irreparable damage to the public interest or the social fabric that holds the Republic together.
Almost every evil that presumably matters to the Occupy Movement is being confirmed and negotiated behind closed doors by 12 representatives of the 1 Percent. Almost everything they’re likely to agree to will harm significant portions — most likely the least well off — of the 99%.
And why are they doing this? Because they’ve bought the failed economic gibberish spread by an ideological cult of deficit hysterics, charlatans like Paul Ryan or billionaires like Peter Peterson, himself a perfect example of the 1 Percent.
There’s no doubt that what they’re selling is economic gibberish; their remedies have repeatedly failed in Greece, in Spain, in France, in Portugal, in Italy, and now clearly in Great Britain. From today’s New York Times editorial, discussing Britain’s Self-Inflicted Misery:
Austerity was a deliberate ideological choice by Prime Minister David Cameron’s ruling coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, elected 17 months ago. It has failed and can be expected to keep failing. But neither party is yet prepared to acknowledge that reality and change course.
Britain’s economy has barely grown since the budget cuts began taking effect late last year. The most recent quarterly figures showed the economy flat-lining, with growth at 0.1 percent.
New figures released this week reported Britain’s highest jobless numbers in more than 15 years. Independent analysts expect unemployment — now 8.1 percent — to keep rising in the months ahead. The government has kept its promise to slash public-sector jobs — more than 100,000 have been lost in recent months. But its deficit-reduction policies have failed to revive the business confidence that was supposed to spur private-sector hiring.
Drastic public spending cuts were the wrong deficit-reduction strategy for the weakened British economy a year ago. And they are the wrong strategy for the faltering American economy today. Britain’s unhappy experience is further evidence that radical reductions in federal spending will do little but stifle economic recovery.
But it’s not just the macro economic effects we should worry about from radically reduced federal spending. It’s what the 1 Percenters think they’ll have to cut in an environment where Washington consistently ignores the public’s wishes — and the complaints of the Occupy movement — to curtail the military’s adventurism, strengthen education and the safety nets, provide universal health care, invest in infrastructure and get the rich to cover much more of the costs of maintaining a decent country.
When all of these democratically popular and worthwhile matters are ruled off the table, what the super secret cabal will go after is environmental, health and safety regulations; Medicaid, health research and coverage; weather and climate change monitoring and reduction; alternative energy support; emergency services; funding for financial oversight and anti-trust enforcement, consumer protection and enforcement actions against mortgage fraud, and so on.
In other words, there’s a strong overlap between the governmental functions the Super Committee is targeting to cut and the list of grievances that are driving tens of thousands of Occupiers to protest and millions more to stand in support.
The debt-limit deal last Summer gave the Super Committee a job-killing, recession-provoking, public-interest defunding mandate. Every official who supported that deal deserves to be thrown out of office. All of them.
The appointed Committee members exemplify precisely the corruption of government captured by the money and economic interests of the 1 Percent. With it’s millionaire members and their links to campaign fund raising from the financial and energy sectors, the Super Committee is the epitome of everything the Occupy movement is protesting.
The Super Committee members and every member of Congress know this. That’s why they’re meeting in secret, and the only interests who have unfettered access to their deliberations are the lobbyists for the 1 Percent.
And that’s why Congress and the Obama Administration, in a moment of extreme cowardice, agreed to impose a phony mandate on themselves to legitimize the anti-public, pro-corporate, pro-Wall Street proposals likely to emerge from the Super Committee. It’s time to turn out their lights.