portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts united states

social services

Austerity USA Begins March 1st

U.S. politicians have cried wolf over austerity long enough for the public to ignore them. A perfect time, then, for politicians to actually unleash the wolves. Barring an unlikely last minute deal, here's a short list of some of the massive, national bi-partisan-created austerity cuts, according to the New York Times.
- 600,000 food stamp recipients will be cut from the program
- Massive education cuts. According to President Obama: Once these cuts take effect thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off and tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids. "
- $12 billion in Medicare cuts (more to come after 2013)
- Federal funds to state governments will be cut, creating even more deficits for states and municipalities, and thus more localized cuts (the states have already made austerity cuts of $337 billion!)
- Also, 700,000 jobs are expected to be loss, while 70,000 kids are also expected to be kicked off of Head Start

And this is just for 2013. The current plan for the austerity "sequester" cuts is $100 billion of federal cuts every year for ten years, equaling massive cuts to jobs, Medicare, education, and completely destroying federally funded social programs.

Will it actually happen this time? The New York Times reports:

In private, Capitol Hill staff members and members of Congress have admitted that there are no viable plans on the horizon to delay or offset the cuts.

The finger pointing in Washington, D.C. has already reached a crescendo, with the perverted logic being that, if both parties are to blame, it's really no one's fault. In reality Democrats and Republicans created these "sequester" cuts, and they can just as easily undo them with a snap of the finger.

Both parties are choosing not to delete the cuts. They just don't want political responsibility for the fallout, which many economists have predicted will push the U.S. economy over the edge into official recession.

Obama has predictably blamed the Republicans for this mess, even though he personally began this process by creating the "deficit reduction commission" that helped shape the cuts (keep in mind there is zero debt crisis that calls for such drastic measures).

Obama could also just as easily appeal to the American public — over the heads of congressmen — to demand that the cuts be shelved forever. Instead, he's proposing a "grand bargain" deal that he knows the Republicans won't go for.

What's in Obama's grand bargain deal? According to the White House website:

- $130 billion in "savings" [cuts] to Social Security, by implementing a "superlative CPI"
- $35 billion in "savings" [cuts] to the retirement of federal employees
- $400 billion in health care "savings" [cuts], much of it Medicare cuts.

Obama cynically fails to mention the words Social Security or Medicare in the above plan, choosing instead to write in code ("superlative Consumer Price Index"). Obama's plan to avoid the March 1st cuts still assumes that $500 billion in cuts will be implemented over the next ten years, as opposed to $1trillion.

But his plan is just a distraction. Obama knows his plan has no chance of being passed by March 1st. He's falsely portraying his plan as the only alternative to the March 1st cuts, even though a far better idea — the one preferred by a vast majority of Americans — is to simply to shelve the sequester cuts forever. To not put forth this option makes Obama complicit in the cuts.

Many pundits have speculated that Congress will allow the cuts to go into effect for three weeks, since March 27th marks a fiscal deadline that will pressure Congress to maneuver anew. This might trigger a new round of haggling over a new "grand bargain" that again targets "entitlement programs" and re-packages the massive cuts into a prettier box. The party that does the most effective finger pointing after the March 1st cuts will be in the best position to dictate matters post-March 27th, so say the pundits.

Whatever the actual result, the Democrats and Republicans share similar enough visions that massive cuts to cherished social programs appear to be inevitable. Much of the made-for-TV bickering is pure political posturing, meant to fool the working people most affected by these cuts into believing it's "the other party" that's responsible.

Politicians have been able to get away with this disgusting behavior because there are very few independent voices telling the truth about what's happening. Many labor and progressive groups are consciously lying about the dynamic, placing blame squarely on the Republicans, thus allowing the Democrats not to be held accountable for their pandering to the corporate elite's demand to use austerity to attack the social safety net. In reality both parties are jointly attacking working and poor people via austerity, on a city, state, and national level.

If Labor and community groups united in a demand of 'No Cuts, Tax the Rich' and organized massive mobilizations, there would be a very different public debate happening right now. It's not too late for these groups to tear themselves from the jaws of their attackers.

________________________________________________________

Sources cited for this article:
 link to www.nytimes.com

 link to abcnews.go.com

 http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=711

 link to www.ibtimes.com

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/22/sequester-recession_n_2741558.html

 link to www.whitehouse.gov

 link to www.economist.com

homepage: homepage: http://workerscompass.org


Going Green 26.Feb.2013 22:05

dude

This maybe very horrible...

Perhaps this will lower our carbon footprint.

Perhaps the people may organize.

Hard to see us feeding ourselves.

Shrinking the economy will not just hurt the government,
it will hurt us all.
How to rid a few billion?
How to rid a few billion?

it is sad 27.Feb.2013 09:22

Clyde

But it also probably means we couldn't afford any of this stuff to begin with. And that's the part that people are going to have the hardest time swallowing: We've been funding programs from nothing for decades, and it is finally catching up with us.

Isn’t this a good thing? 27.Feb.2013 13:54

Fidelity

What you call "Austerity" I consider the "Awakening", or what @hlc recently described as the "Reckoning." Shamus has been doing activism for years in Portland (and probably many PIMC readers have too), and during that time, through all of our hard-work (and Shamus is an exceptionally hard worker) there has been few if any advancements or achievements by any activists in Portland. It's pretty clear that people on Food Stamps won't bite the hand that feeds them, and if it's the government that's feeding them, then they won't give two shits if the government is spending money on bombs rather than food or education or civil advancements. The "OBAMA PHONE!" lady won't give two shits about her economic condition, nor will she care about improving herself, if the federal government continues to provide just enough welfare to keep her poor ass complacent. Emblematic of this is our unemployment rate: I meet people regularly who complain about the lack of work and the economy, and yet I'm able to find work for people in less than a month simply by posting their resume on Craigslist. The unemployed are living poor lives, but in a level of "comfortable poor" where they will neither riot nor seek improvement out of complacency. We are living in a "Welfare State" that is disabling individuals from seeking improvement, and coincidently maintaining a corporate oligopoly, living off of corporate welfare, that dominates our government. This welfare must end, austerity is due to come.

I'm really unsure why Shamus thinks these cuts are a bad thing. It's simply inevitable that our government must come down, as Shamus admits, both the Democrats and the Republicans are not working for the egalitarian interest of citizens. This government is corrupt to the core, and the corporate institutions dominating our lives are mutually supported by this government. The process of this collapse includes austerity and the obliteration of public pensions and public services. This is all inevitable, and this is a good thing for most people, even if they don't yet see it. I have no sympathy for the public unions or people on Social Security who failed to maintain a functioning government: it is their fault that we have been at war for a decade, it is their fault that we bailed out the banks, it is their fault that their own pensions and investments are going to collapse - for they should have fought these bad policies with more vigor than they did. They should have demanded and voted for better representation, they should have sacrificed more to achieve than they actually did. As Shamus said, "If Labor and community groups united in a demand", but Labor and community groups did not: they voted for Obama.

It is time for people to reap what they have sowed: those who counted on Uncle Sam sowed no seeds, for they were waiting for Food Stamps. It is a sad thing that they will starve, but they are to blame for their own condition.

"[T]he one preferred by a vast majority of Americans — is to simply to shelve the sequester cuts forever." This is an interesting and provocative statement, as I know fewer and fewer who want this particular government, a government run by international Bankers. I can agree that many people want to shelve these cuts, but this inclination by many people is out of complacency and fear, it is not because they want King Obama and Bank Of America dictating their lives, they want a genuine change but they are ignorant of the process required.

Clyde nailed the point, "we couldn't afford any of this stuff to begin with." Our entire economy is based on a lie called fiat money, it works against the general interests of the people by giving them the false impression of wealth. We're all going to wake up and realize how poor we actually are, and how a iPhone is not wealth, but debt and poverty. This federal government needs to collapse on its self for hundreds of reasons, and this austerity is the process in which it collapses. If you're living on Disability, Social Security, Medicare, or Food Stamps, you need to own up to your dependency and fix your shit. Stop sucking on the government's teat and save and invest money on your own, or find a community to support you. If you fail to fix yourself or for someone to carry you, then you'll die, and no one will care when the fool dies.

Standard Of Living Is Plunging Fast In The U.S., U.K, Spain, Greece, Etc. 27.Feb.2013 14:29

blues

But is rising fast in China, Iran, Russia, etc.!

We can't even make jet airplanes anymore. Our criminal eleets have sold us right down the river, and will soon be moving to Hong Kong. Just join the Army and be all you can be in the wars that cost more than half of what we spend. Or take a vacation in our beautiful Motor City and witness our glowing future!

The Most Honest Three Minutes In Television History (a clip from the HBO series The Newsroom) (3½ min.)
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGa57az2VqY&feature=player_embedded

@blues 27.Feb.2013 20:00

dude

More like 1 min 59sec....back to BS after that

Scratch An “Anarchist”, Find A “Libertarian”? 28.Feb.2013 01:08

blues

/ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ
If you're living on Disability, Social Security, Medicare, or Food Stamps, you need to own up to your dependency and fix your shit. Stop sucking on the government's teat and save and invest money on your own, or find a community to support you. If you fail to fix yourself or for someone to carry you, then you'll die, and no one will care when the fool dies.
\____________________

What fascist bullshit. I hope you get cancer and starve. My friend had to sign away her right to further life-extending treatment to get "hospice," so the government would give her food and shelter and pain medication. They've already done away with most of welfare, but some wouldn't know that. The "anarchists" look more like the fascist clowns I suspected them to be.

The 99% are not responsible for the decisions of the ruling eleets. But I would suggest:

/ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ
The entire internet is filled with fraudulent "election methods" websites! Here's (approximately) how I explained simple score voting previously (it's additive; totally simple!):

Fortunately for me, I live in a county that has left behind the two-party lock-in of plurality voting. Because of our rallying and protests, I get to vote for whomever I want. Thanks to simple score voting, I can give as many candidates (up to 20, since we can't hog the election booths voting for everybody in the phone book) as I want between 1 to 10 votes. They each can get 10 of my votes (allocating 100% endorsement), or 9 (allocating 90% endorsement), or 8 (allocating 80% endorsement), and so on, of my vote. So there is absolutely no two-party lock-in. I know precisely how many of my votes I am potentially wasting because of the spoiler effect. Therefor I have a simple and practical available strategy to disrupt the two-party lock-in.

Based on degree of preference, I will give Cynthia McKinney 10 votes, and Ralph Nader 10 votes. And based on degree of preference combined with degree of perceived attainability, will give and Jesse Ventura 9 votes. Based on degree of rejection combined with degree of perceived attainability, I will give Barack Obama 8 votes. I don't want to give any votes, or advantage, to the hideous Mitt Romney, so I simply ignore his candidacy.

Unlike the majority of hapless Americans, strategic voting is available to me, and I intend to use it. I will not vote "sincerely" or "honestly" (that is, heroically and foolishly).

And NO! I will NOT put my pen and paper ballot into some infernal electronic machine! Politics combined with technological complexity always percolates into conventional political complexity. And political complexity always breeds total corruption.

I will not protest the Janus-face "parties!" I will protest the fraudulent elections themselves.

Until we get simple score voting, and machine-free vote casting and counting, the multitudes of modern era liberals will be somewhat foolish to waste their time and energy contemplating political issues. So of course all we will mostly hear will come from fake liberals working to keep the majority of real ones sound asleep.

I find it almost strange that people worry about the Puppet in Chief Obama, when they could have avoided all this insanity completely if the had simple score voting. If we could bust the election methods ConsPiracy the result would be 1,000 times greater than if Obama and Congress were to announce that 9/11 was an inside job. I know people won't swallow that, but THAT is the real TRUTH!
\____________________

Dear "libertarian" freaks: the poor are not getting all your money, the rich are (I know, it's surprising). Maybe the "anarchists" can go on Craig's List and get me a Learjet? Jobs are everywhere. Somebody just offered me $107 an hour to make popcorn. I'm going to be the first popcorn billionaire!

@blues 28.Feb.2013 09:20

Fidelity

"The 99% are not responsible for the decisions of the ruling eleets."

Yeah, they are. If they're not, then who is? Own up to your own personal problem: **your inability to get shit done**. Just ask Mario Savio: you can do it, it's just a matter of how badly you want to get it done. The people will revolt when they're pressured and desperate enough, and the elites are just wise enough to keep the population comfortably poor, to keep them passive in the face of increasing poverty. This is a primary reason the vast majority of the people should own weaponry: because it's the ultimate power check if the elites have usurped the government and given the people no other means to challenge their oligopoly. If the common body of the people are unable to control their elites, then you have reached ultimate despotism. Until then, the public has many means to revolt, protest and control policies through democratic means, but the public chooses not to, it's not that the public is unable to.

I don't know what you were trying to convey in your rant Blues, I don't know how you could call my statement "fascist" when I'm explicitly telling people not to depend upon the government. Your "fascist" comment is moronic on the simplest levels, I am inclined to think that you throw the word "fascist" at ideas you don't like or don't understand. Your vitriolic hatred for people with differing political viewpoints is so seething that it's not unsurprising that you feel so hopeless in the face of power structures. Fighting power means people uniting, and it seems that you are angry that people don't rally around your political ideas. Sorry dude, maybe it's because your political ideas are fundamentally toxic, naïve, or stupid - and that's why no one is listening to you. If you can't work with Libertarians and Anarchists, then how the hell do you ever expect people to come together to fight power with you? Your hatred disables your ability to get shit done.

Also, your satire on the popcorn job is an utter failure. There was nearly 500 jobs posted on Portland Craigslist yesterday and about 100 resumes were posted. Really think about that ratio. A good number of both the resumes and the job postings are as bullshit as your Popcorn analogy, but the conclusion of these numbers is really simple: there's lots of jobs out there for people looking. That's why I can easily find work for people, I'm not lying about that. My own company has hired two people just this week, one started just this morning, and we're still hiring. If someone told you that you're going to be a billionaire, then, I'm sorry to inform you of this: you won't be, you'll never be, you'll be lucky to own your own home. Less than .001% of people become billionaires, so why would you think that you would be?

The CIA And Mario Savio? 28.Feb.2013 19:12

blues

That's all you have? What about REAL DEMOCRACY?

I ask once again:

/ŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻŻ
The entire internet is filled with fraudulent "election methods" websites! Here's (approximately) how I explained simple score voting previously (it's additive; totally simple!):

Fortunately for me, I live in a county that has left behind the two-party lock-in of plurality voting. Because of our rallying and protests, I get to vote for whomever I want. Thanks to simple score voting, I can give as many candidates (up to 20, since we can't hog the election booths voting for everybody in the phone book) as I want between 1 to 10 votes. They each can get 10 of my votes (allocating 100% endorsement), or 9 (allocating 90% endorsement), or 8 (allocating 80% endorsement), and so on, of my vote. So there is absolutely no two-party lock-in. I know precisely how many of my votes I am potentially wasting because of the spoiler effect. Therefor I have a simple and practical available strategy to disrupt the two-party lock-in.

Based on degree of preference, I will give Cynthia McKinney 10 votes, and Ralph Nader 10 votes. And based on degree of preference combined with degree of perceived attainability, will give and Jesse Ventura 9 votes. Based on degree of rejection combined with degree of perceived attainability, I will give Barack Obama 8 votes. I don't want to give any votes, or advantage, to the hideous Mitt Romney, so I simply ignore his candidacy.

Unlike the majority of hapless Americans, strategic voting is available to me, and I intend to use it. I will not vote "sincerely" or "honestly" (that is, heroically and foolishly).

And NO! I will NOT put my pen and paper ballot into some infernal electronic machine! Politics combined with technological complexity always percolates into conventional political complexity. And political complexity always breeds total corruption.

I will not protest the Janus-face "parties!" I will protest the fraudulent elections themselves.

Until we get simple score voting, and machine-free vote casting and counting, the multitudes of modern era liberals will be somewhat foolish to waste their time and energy contemplating political issues. So of course all we will mostly hear will come from fake liberals working to keep the majority of real ones sound asleep.

I find it almost strange that people worry about the Puppet in Chief Obama, when they could have avoided all this insanity completely if the had simple score voting. If we could bust the election methods ConsPiracy the result would be 1,000 times greater than if Obama and Congress were to announce that 9/11 was an inside job. I know people won't swallow that, but THAT is the real TRUTH!
\____________________

You NeoCon child killer.