Death By A Thousand Cuts

Everyone in Washington seems obsessed with the idea of ‘grown-up conversations’ and ‘hard sacrifices’ these days. Of course, these terms are reserved for the little people out here in Real America. I have not yet heard any major political figure, from Obama to Dick Armey to Alan Simpson, suggest that maybe the Wall Street bankers and Big Business CEOs might be asked to get in on some of this sacrifice. No, instead it’s back to the tried and true methods of screwing the regular taxpayers and vacuuming up every spare dollar the greedy parasites can get their hands on. I wonder how many hedge fund managers are worried that may have to work until the age of 70 to be able to eek out an existence on Social Security and Medicare alone?

Today comes more news of the growing consensus among Very Serious People™ in DC that slashing support for the rest of us is the only possible solution. This is hot on the heels of Obama’s budget, due next week, which seems to take the ‘drown-government-in-a-bathtub’ crowd’s suggestions as a starting point. Turning to the other side of the aisle, Republicans are salivating at the prospect of cutting funding for everything from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to WIC and Head Start. In Wisconsin, newly-minted Teabagger governor, Scott Walker, is threatening to call out the National Guard to break up state worker protests to his plan to unilaterally renegotiate their pension contracts in order to solve his budget crisis. The criminal governor in Florida, Rick Scott is on track to cut almost all public assistance and privatize everything in sight, all while cutting corporate tax rates for his wealthy cronies.

These are only the tip of the iceberg, folks. There is a concerted effort afoot to finally win the class war, begun 30 years ago under Ronnie Raygun, and things don’t look good for the working people of America. And, as they’re telling us slashing SS and Medicare funding is the ‘grown-up sacrifice’ that we’re hungering for, keep in mind that Wall Street bonuses are back up, corporations are sitting on billions in unspent capital rather then investing and hiring, and the richest men in the country are continuing to subvert democracy and public health with billions in private money.

What’s really galling is that the group that seems the most angry about the direction of the country (and scream the loudest) are directly aiding and abetting the wholesale destruction of their own economic prosperity. These are the people who stand to lose the most from gutting the social safety net and they are cheering it on. On the other hand, the sanity-based community is pilloried for even suggesting that perhaps their ire is misplaced.

What will it take to unite the working and lower classes in this country in opposition to the growing oligarchy forming under our very nose? What will it take for those who profess to defend us on the Left and those who profess to despise us on the Right to stop agreeing to screw us together? When will we recognize that a continued assault on our safety net is going to eventually take us all down? I cheered at the crowds gathered in Tahrir Square today as they shook off the shackles of 30 years of autocratic capitalism and wondered to myself, “when will it be America’s turn? When will we recognize that the Egyptian people’s struggle against a powerful, ruling elite is also our own?”

 

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