I take it the American news cycle is dominated by the artificial debate over raising the debt limit. It is a silly season story. The budget was being balanced by Clinton in the late 1990s, and the Republicans were the ones who created long-term structural deficits by slashing taxes on the wealthiest Americans (even Bush argued with Cheney over the second cut), by an unfunded prescription drug give-away to get votes from the medicare crowd, and by two unfunded wars, one of them illegal in international law.
The reason that the Republicans deliberately destroyed the balanced budget and created unprecedented government debt was precisely in hopes that at some point they could use the debt as an excuse to destroy social security, medicare, and myriads of educational and health programs. They represent rich people, and the rich don’t want to be having to bear their fair share of the national burden. What better way to get out of having to pay those pesky taxes than making sure the government doesn’t do anything for anyone but the rich.
So everything unfolding in Washington was planned out in a room in 2001, and is going according to plan.
The government will find a way to continue to function eventually, and this particular government will find a way to throw ever more public resources to billionaires and to take even what little the middle class has away from them.
Reducing taxes on the super-wealthy and borrowing money for key government functions is just a sneaky way of increasing taxes on the middle class, who will now have to pay taxes to support the billionaires’ wars and corporate welfare plus pay out of pocket for health care, education, environmental protection, and social security– i.e. things they had already paid into the government for. Starving education of funding ensures that people are too ignorant to figure out this scam. They won’t even be able to distinguish between one-time stimulus deficits like Obama’s, and long-term structural deficits of the sort passed by Bush.
In the meantime, things have been happening on the ‘chipping away at the constitution’ front. The government has more or less admitted that it is using your cellphone’s gps function to track you whenever it likes, without a warrant.
Then, some senators are meeting secretly to decide whether to pass an extension of the 2008 FISA law allowing warrantless wiretaps. This is an attempt to avoid a public debate on this clearly unconstitutional law, which was to expire in 2012. As with the provisions of the so-called PATRIOT act, which were extended without public debate until 2016 last May, such parliamentary maneuvers that sidestep public debate do American democracy a profound disservice. Worse, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon has warned us that there is a secret government interpretation of these acts that permits domestic surveillance far beyond what their text seems to authorize.
As someone who, it has been alleged by Glenn Carle, was the object of illegal US government surveillance, I mind.