Some Democrats have come under a lot of criticism lately, much of it deserved, for abandoning popular and important programs that were historically associated with their party. But some of the other Democrats -- the ones who are trying to act in the country's best interests -- are genuinely concerned about what will happen to the economy if the Super Committee fails to come up with a plan.
This message is for them -- and anyone else who has the same concern. You need to know that the evidence is clear: A Super Committee failure won't hurt the economy at all.
But its "success" almost certainly would.
Every month it seems as if there's another "bipartisan" process designed to impose austerity on the American people. And every month we're told there will be terrible consequences in the world's markets if it doesn't succeed. These predictions are the economic equivalent of "Y2K" -- always apocalyptic, never true, and all too frequently believed.
Democratic officials and staffers are being bombarded by these predictions, delivered by think-tank operatives from their own party who have been steeped in the cult of austerity. It doesn't matter how many times they're refuted by impeccably constructed papers, or by the observations of Nobel Prize winners. And it doesn't matter how many times these predictions are proven wrong.
During a National Nurses United (NNU)-sponsored march from Lafayette Square and the Treasury Department to the #OccupyDC encampment in McPherson Square on Thursday, I got the chance to talk to NNU member Tonya Moss, who came more than 1,000 miles to protest Wall Street’s outsize power over our political system.
This week was a sharp reminder that the ancient ideal of democracy is just as threatened - and to some, just as threatening - as it's ever been. In government offices in Athens, G20 meeting rooms in Cannes, and "Super Committee" chambers in Washington, we learned that there are still places where the will of the people can be overruled by the whims of the powerful.
From the Parthenon to the Potomac, it was the same story: Elites still hold veto power over the democratic process, and they're not afraid to use it.
Democracy: 'Radical,' 'Irrational,' 'Dangerous'
Ironically, this week's ferment began in the country that's usually credited with creating democracy. In many ways the Greek economy couldn't be more different from our own. The government's fiscal problems there are due in large part to widespread corruption and massive tax evasion - not tax breaks, tax evasion - which are very different from our own problems. The government's finances dramatically worse than our own - almost like night and day - and a default could create the next major financial crisis.
A proposal to increase the Medicare eligibility age, which the Super Committee is considering, would drive up health care costs to the point where they would consume almost half of the Social Security check of a middle-class retiree, according to a more »
politics.salon.com — Anybody who discerns a relationship between a decade of keeping the “have-mores’” yachts and Lear jets running smoothly and a manufactured crisis supposedly threatening grandma’s monthly Social Security check must be some kind of radical leftist. That, or somebody skeptical of the decades-long propaganda war against America’s most efficient, successful and popular social insurance program. It’s an effort that’s falsely persuaded millions of younger Americans that Social Security is in its last days and made crying wolf a test of “seriousness” among Beltway courtier-pundits like the Post’s Lori Montgomery, who concocted an imaginary front page emergency out of a relatively meaningless actuarial event. All in service, alas, of a single unstated premise: The “have-mores” have made off with grandma’s money fair and square. They have no intention of paying it back.
No, corporations and wealthy people will not be "sacrificing" anything. They won't even notice it. Corporations are nothing more than a legal construct so they don't have the capacity for "sacrifice." And Paris Hilton will still be able to buy anything she wants.
A Huffington Post commenter responding to my recent piece on the Washington Post's recent Social Security article by saying that I "claimed 'inaccuracies, falsehoods, and downright lies' but delivered problems of tone, and emphasis." more »
If you've ever questioned whether the so-called "Super Committee" represents a breakdown in the democratic process, yesterday's proposal from the group's Democratic members should put your doubts to rest. The system's seriously broken when unelected super-legislators from both parties keep trying to top each other in proposing inhumane and unpopular programs. more »
Bad economics makes strange bedfellows. Thanks to our nation's misguided obsession with budget cuts, disabled children and the stock market face a common threat: an undemocratically-selected "Super Committee" which was formed during a national jobs emergency in order to ... reduce deficits instead.
The Super Committee: It's like Congress, except they don't let all the democratically-elected riffraff in. Think of it as our nation's "Platinum Legislature," a members-only private club where you have to know somebody important to get past the velvet rope. And it's like Fight Club, too: The first rule of Super Committee is that you don't talk about Super Committee.
There's compelling evidence that the cuts the Committee is considering will deal a harsh blow to the stock market. But before we see it, there's someone you really ought to meet. more »