Will US politicians kick the can down the road once again? Need we ask? Of course they will, except each time that happens, the can gets heavier and travels fewer and fewer feet, giving us an indication that soon the can might be so heavy that they’ll bust their toes. Or will they?
No, it won’t be politicians but the people who’ll find themselves with the can cemented to the road. It is the people who’ll bust their toes as finally they will be facing a long deferred economic doom.
We have a predilection for indulging in the use of superlatives, instead of adjectives, and end-of-the-line metaphors: debt ceiling, fiscal cliff, economic holocaust… and now, budget sequestration. Our government, at least the legislative and executive branches, treats us, the governed, as the helpless fold of sheep we are, telling us time and again that we are just about to cross the economic Rubicon, and the dire consequences that we’ll be facing when that occurs.
But the economic Rubicon was crossed long ago, and we have been in a fiscal eclipse ever since; our economic intelligentsia, from the economics ‘university-cathedrae to our political juggling Fed, showing to be totally oblivious to the impending economic doom being deferred by kicking the proverbial can.
So, come March 1, unless our politicians kick the postponement-can by finding some temporary remedy, automatic, across-the-board cuts in spending by government agencies amounting to $1.2 trillion over 10 years, will take effect – supposedly split in half between defense and domestic discretionary spending.
In reality, we have made a mountain out of a mound-hill, and the approximate $100 billion cut in annual spending is but a trickle in our unearned spending. Just a reason for the vociferous warmongers among us to decry how the shortfall in military funds will debilitate our world-policing empire! The Pentagon may have to streamline its program of weapons’ procurement, reversing its current mismanagement and waste… even cut down on its shameless advertising, such as the current ads being run on television to promote the US Navy… and its motto: America’s Navy, A Global Force for Good. Perhaps we should consider changing the name of the US Department of Defense to the World Department of Defense. We are about due for a change – two-thirds of a century has gone by since our Department of War became Department of Defense. Much of America, unfortunately, sees no fault in the United States being an empire… as long as we are the “good guys.” But the question remains: just who determines who the good or the bad guys are? The White House… the Pentagon… America’s capitalist elite?
The United States in its lack of political wisdom, and sacrilegious contempt for democracy, has already created a society of haves and have-nots. From this point on, it’s only a question of the quantity, and the speed, at which the haves becoming have-nots. To put it any other way is an act of self-denial, proclaiming ourselves to be people we are not, confining ourselves to self-ridicule when spreading our wings of imperialism to defend not the interests of Americans, all Americans, but the interests of global capitalists.
Longer term, perhaps it is in Americans’ best interest not to have the politicians kick the can this time around. Let the sequestration take place, let reality set in and austerity begin; after all, economic austerity is no virtue, only penance for past sins. Economists who prescribe growth in mature economies, such as that in the US, as the way out of an impending economic doomsday are either demented or incompetent in their craft. Of course, most were unable to predict pat economic bubbles… why would their wisdom have changed?
Letting the sequestration take place will be a start, a way for Americans to determine what is important in their lives, whether they care about their fellow man, or are selfish and continue on the path that divide us in two groups: the haves and the have-nots. It will not put the US on the road to a “green economy” but it will allow us to ponder where we are… and perhaps determine what is important to us as a society.
Unfortunately, the can will be kicked one more time…
© 2013 Ben Tanosborn
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