If one were observing an ignorant and self-indulgent "consumer" America in the abstract, it would be fun to say, "Go right ahead, enact the deficit reductions recommended by the old right-wing coot Alan Simpson & Co. See how that works out for you." The anti-middle-class, anti-investment-in-the-future tenor of the report is perfectly in keeping with the Tea Party, and apparently the white, suburban vote that the Democrats have lost. And this is a commission appointed by Barack Obama. I'd feel this way if I wanted my country to hurt and fail. But I don't.
"Austerity" is just a con to further enrich the nationless capital markets and the super-rich. Nothing more. The very rich have no interest in the history of America from the 1940s through the 1970s, when a rising and secure middle class, and 90-percent tax rates on top earners, still supported fine lifestyles for the wealthy as well as the world's greatest economy and society. Now we have to lose so they can win yet more. But austerity and tax cuts are the watchword, the intellectual fraud that has taken the day. Somehow the boobs indoctrinated by Fox "News" and rightwing talk radio never think it applies to them. To their 4,000-square-foot exurban houses for a family of four, multiple gas guzzlers and "consuming" from the mall and Wal-Mart — all on credit. Why, that's the American dream. Talk about an unsustainable entitlement program.
Nor can they grasp that their economic insecurity has nothing to do with the federal deficit or debt. Those are products of the Bush tax cuts to the rich; two wars and the creation of a national security state with some 200 new agencies; the lost tax revenues of the Great Recession, and the cost of bailing out the big banks. There's your dreaded deficit and debt. Our economic problems are caused by those big banks and the entire financialization of the economy as our productive enterprises were hollowed out by bad trade deals, offshoring and anti-competitive mergers. Then the swindles and frauds reached such a scale that the Ponzi scheme collapsed. The capital markets and major companies are doing great, but they're not creating jobs. American wages have been slowing in their growth for years and now are stagnant, while the richest have their greatest share of income since the 1920s. None of this is about Washington earmarks or the usual Tea Party villains.
President Hoover seems ready to cave on extending the Bush tax cuts even before the fight was engaged. The same happened with cap-and-trade, a minimal effort to address climate change. Anyone looking for Harry Truman should look elsewhere. Barack Obama makes Richard Nixon look like a populist.
This nation of boobs would get a lesson in the reality of a mixed economy if their defense or other jobs supported by federal spending went away; if their farm subsidies were canceled; if their employers' myriad programs of corporate welfare were shut down. Cheap water and power for Phoenix and Vegas — adios. Of course little of the Simpson comedy will likely be enacted, because the white-right is mostly old people looking for Washington to "keep your government hands" off their Social Security and Medicare. But the atmosphere will prevent the federal government from making the transformative investments to keep America competitive, to prepare us for a high-cost energy future or address climate change. It will ensure that the oligarchs keep hold of the regulators and keep picking clean the carcass of the once great American economy. And those wars? They'll just keep going, on Chinese credit.
Enjoy the third term of George W. Bush.