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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Deficit Commission: What Is "Tough" About Doing What Rich and Powerful People Want You to Do?

Deficit Commission: What Is "Tough" About Doing What Rich and Powerful People Want You to Do?

Monday, 29 November 2010 23:00

It's actually pretty easy to do what the rich and powerful people want you do. After all, they are the ones that can give you jobs and money. This is why it is dishonest for reporters to describe the decision by people associated with the several of the deficit commissions to refer to proposals to cut Social Security and Medicare as "tough" decisions.

Given the constellation of power in the United States, these are relatively easy decisions. The really touch decisions would be to confront the doctors' lobbies, the pharmaceutical industry, the health insurance industry and Wall Street. People like the co-chair's of President Obama's commission, Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson, lacked the courage for these tough decisions.

Comments (7)Add Comment
Producer Monopolies.
written by Ralph Musgrave, November 30, 2010 12:10
Confronting producer monopolies was what Margaret Thatcher did. She was the only British politician in the 1980s with balls.

But Dean, Shaun Rein (of Forbes, that Cosmopolitan of finance) says,
written by diesel, November 30, 2010 12:59
"Lowering the value of dollar also won't help America export its way to success, as Bernanke and President Obama [and you too, Dean] mistakenly believe. Countries like Thailand and Japan will keep up by devaluing their own currencies. Currency wars don't help anyone.

Instead of debasing the greenback, America should bolster its manufacturing prowess...it can and should be manufacturing more products higher up the value chain, where China and Vietnam can't compete.

Instead of trying to blame China's currency policies for America's problems...the Federal Reserve chairman needs to look at quelling America's economic demons. There are no easy answers. Fixing those problems will be painful and politically difficult and may cause unemployment to spike and the equity markets to drop. But it has to be done."

So you see, devaluing our currency is escapist. We don't get off the hook that easily. No, we need to rebuild our economy around higher value-added exports (where and when had we heard that before?--seems like all through the 90's). The lower and middle classes will be skewered on the "spike" of yet more painful unemployment while the middle and upper middle classes will watch their 401Ks swirl down the toilet. What a gratifying prognosis with plenty of suffering for everyone, except for one group who won't have to swallow this bitter medicine. Now who would that be?

But of course, "it has to be done." You see? A Force of Nature. An Act of God. It is simply part of the Order of the Universe. Not a "tough decision" motivated by class warfare. It is Inevitable. Bow to It. Accept the Yoke. Bear it Nobly. Thy Will be done. Amen. Over and Out.
written by Ron Alley, November 30, 2010 8:13
Tough enough -- but tough on whom? Not the Deciders, but the rest of us.
Tough Love Requires Tough Choices: Bowles and Simpson are Heroes
written by izzatzo, November 30, 2010 9:01
Come in Americans. Welcome to America Austerity Inc. We're sorry to meet you under these circumstances, but we're sure you agree with Bowles and Simpson as we do, that honesty is the best policy in times like these.

It's true. The money is gone. The account is depleted, ravaged with uncontrolled debt. All we have left is ourselves, our faith, our will to survive. The only way out is shared sacrifice and the only way there is tough love to make tough choices.

There's an old saying in America. It's not about falling down. It's about picking yourselves up again.

There's examples everywhere. Just look around. Big Pharma. Big Health. Big Insurance. Big Finance. They all bounced back from the depths of bankruptcy. On their own, with every inch of their will and faith pushing them back to recovery, sharing the viscious cutbacks of austerity with steadfast patriotic solidarity and fortitude.

Get on your knees America and stop the denial. Thank God that not everyone is a freeloading coward living on unsustainable debt and bailouts, that enough honest heroes like Bowles and Simpson still exist to make the tough choices with tough love necessary for our economic survival.

Follow the lead of North Korea, a global leader in Austerity. Issue a white cleaning cloth exclusively dedicated to cleaning the portraits of Bowles and Simpson required to hang in your living room.
written by umass1993, November 30, 2010 10:34
Dean, you are getting quite good at blogging.
mark twain is blushing!?
written by frankenduf, November 30, 2010 12:20
lol isthatso- that was hilarious! :)- but i hope that falling down thing wasn't a shot at batman begins- that movie kicked some serious bum
written by fuller schmidt, November 30, 2010 12:42
Excellent point - it's so easy to follow the instructions of the Political Divine Right. Also a thank you for the NKorea austerity slogan.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.