Thursday, December 27, 2012

What "Fiscal Cliff?"

What “Fiscal Cliff?”
P. Schultz
December 27, 2012

            Well, the scam continues in Washington as we approach ever closer to the alleged “fiscal cliff” and our politicians in D.C. play the game. If you cannot smell a scam here, then I recommend you not go to state fairs or, if you go, stay away from the games there, which are always scams. [See the article from the NY Times linked below, not on state fairs but on the scam in D.C.]

            “Crisis” created, “crisis” averted, but only temporarily. Such is the character of our politics and, as pointed out previously here, this is merely a way to preserve the status quo, to serve the interests of those who hold power in each party and in the nation. When “crises” arise, they must be dealt with so any attempt at real or genuine reforms must be put on hold. And as “time becomes short,” as it always does in D.C., interim or stop-gap measures are necessary. Genuine or real reform? Well, that just isn’t possible.

            And it seems to me that this is pretty much our political modus operandi. “Crisis” in Iraq? Weapons of mass destruction and, as Condi Rice said, an imminent  threat of a mushroom cloud? Invasion. “Crisis II” in Iraq post-invasion? Ah yes, we need a “surge.” Massacre in Connecticut of 20 children? “Crisis,” yes? Ah, but real change? Well, no, that cannot happen because of the NRA so let us put in place some stopgap measures. Something like a “surge,” if you will. Perhaps if we all just promise to do 26 good deeds, one for each victim of the Connecticut massacre, all will be well. Yes, that should do it.

            And all the while, those in power act in ways that are intended to keep that power, even if it means losing some elections or not addressing issues except in stop-gap ways. To wit:

“Democrats now suggest that Republicans are content to wait until after the January deadline. On Jan. 3, Mr. Boehner is likely to be re-elected speaker for the 113th Congress. After that roll call, he may feel less pressure from his right flank against a deal.”

And note all the procedural hurdles that can be used to feign an inability to act:

“For its part, the Senate may simply be out of time. Without unanimous agreement, Mr. Reid would have to take procedural steps to begin considering a bill. He could then be forced to press for another vote to cut off debate before final passage. If forced to jump through those hoops, the 112th Congress could expire before final votes could be cast.”

So, translation of part of this: Mr. Reid would have to do something to begin considering a bill, which is of course always the case as bills don’t line up on their own to be considered. Of course, this also means that these “procedural steps” are there already and all Mr. Reid has to do is to decide to use them! Oh, “those hoops!” So much to ask of Mr. Reid. And it is all so complex, so involved, isn’t it? And the result: “the Senate may simply be out of time!”

And then there is this, the coup de grace:

“I think there’s some chance that we get a deal done in the early weeks of January, which technically means you’re going over the cliff,” Representative Jim Himes, Democrat of Connecticut, said on CNBC on Wednesday.”

So now, hocus-pocus, the “fiscal cliff” is a “technicality.” And, of course, if going over the “cliff” is a “technicality,” it means it was never a cliff in the first place! Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The charade continues, as always. It’s three card monty. It’s magic. And it is all done with straight faces and a solemnity that is as impressive as any Emmy winning performance from Hollywood.

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