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Pretty much every economist who’s not a shill for the financial sector or corporate America agrees that the only way that the United States economy can improve is if the government spends a lot of extra money. Average Americans are afraid to spend money or don’t have money to spend to get the economy going. Small businesses don’t see enough consumer demand to justify creating the new jobs that would get the economy going. Big businesses are sitting on their massive piles of cash, or are using it to buy up their struggling competitors, or are using it to bribe legislators, and are just waiting for the economy to get better on its own. Therefore, about the only player with the capacity to spend money and create jobs would be the government. Theoretically, new government projects would create jobs, these newly employed people would spend their money and pay taxes, simultaneously stimulating the economy and re-filling government coffers.
But not only is the US government refusing to take on this role to jump-start the economy, but it is on course to cut trillions in existing spending. Even worse, many of these cuts are being made to the moth-devoured safety net needed by a country so desperately unemployed and increasingly foreclosed upon.
If this was such a dire situation, if the deficit was really such an important issue, you’d think that some of the politicians now wailing about it would have noticed when the Bush tax cuts were draining the governments bank account, or that we were fighting several wars with no plan to pay for them. They would also now see the need to cut our ludicrous military budgets and raise taxes. The fact that they didn’t and won’t show that their every spoken syllable on the issue is a lie. It’s not a crisis so much as a rhetorical sword to slash at their opponents and defend their ultra-wealthy masters.
Wall Street lost their money, the government fixed them up with our tax money, and now the government tells us that we need to make some sacrifices.
I think it’s safe to say that the ramifications of the budget deficit and the issue of US debt are not really of top importance to the 23 million un-/underemployed Americans, the 50 million who don’t have health insurance, and the 15 million Americans in danger of losing their homes. They are in trouble now and need help now, not in two years or ten years or whenever the debts become due. When was the last time you heard Obama say anything about jobs?
So the recession will continue, if it doesn’t actually get worse. I repeatedly hear that we are entering an “age of austerity”, where politicians only talk of cutting back instead of helping or investing. This current debt ceiling charade is an example of the most ruthless “shock doctrine” calamaties, a manufactured crisis for the purpose of forcing change down the throats of those who would normally rally against it.
I’m no fan of government, but the majority of us are not doing too well right now, and I don’t know any grassroots/DIY way of getting us past this.