Starve The Beast Game Plan, 2010

So much of what you read, hear and see in the MSM Lie Machine really needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The debt/deficit hysteria – what’s it all about anyway. The bottom line in the “centrist media” is that we need to start making massive cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security right now or experience Financial Armageddon 10 years down the road. So Obama is setting up a sickening “Gut the Entitlements” commission which thankfully will get nothing done due to Republican intransigence. None of this really makes much sense.

What’s behind all of this? Turns out that Republican Game Plan since Reagan has been “starve the beast.” This was reiterated by Reagan, Bush, Allan Greenspan (the economic hero of both political parties) and Irving Kristol. Since spending cuts would not be popular, the Game Plan was to push through massive tax cuts, which would be.

Starving the beast means depriving the government of spending. Faced with drying revenue inflows, spending cuts would be sold as necessity. That, or the Republicans would just run up wild deficits and explode the public debt while they were in office, with the obvious though unstated agenda of causing state financial ruin at a later day.

The entire MSM, across the board, from “liberal” to “centrist” to right, would be utterly silent while this financial time bomb was being set off. The tax cuts of Reagan and Bush were greeted with glorious accolades, while the wild deficits were blown off with statements like, “Deficits don’t matter.” Huge armies of columnists and think tank whores were enlisted in this “deficits don’t matter” lie. Just about every Republican asshole you met in real life, if they had an opinion at all, repeated the same insanity.

When a Republican was in, it was all “deficits don’t matter,” but as soon as Bill Clinton came in, everything changed. Once again, the entire “democratic” and “diverse” US MSM was bombarded with a torrent of propaganda about how we needed to “balance the budget,” control the “deficit” and then hopefully start “paying down the federal debt.”

Your average Republican dipshit on the street, if they had an opinion, was repeating the same stuff like a Goddamned Myna Bird. I’d tell them how a few years back they were all, “deficits don’t matter” and they’d either get pissed or act like I was speaking Swahili.

Turns out Bill Clinton was the most fiscally responsible US President in decades, but he got no credit for it. Instead, bizarrely, he was tarred as a “tax and spend” profligate.

Turns out Clinton left office with the US government massively in the black. That was only 2000, ten years ago. The Republicans were freaked, and they were in office. Suddenly there was a “debate” about what to do with “extra money.” Like save it for a rainy day? Hell no.

There was no debate. Once again, the entire “left to right” spectrum of the US media decided that, “It’s your money, so you need it back.” The entire surplus was immediately blown on dumbfuck tax cuts and within a year, the state was badly in the red again. About this, once again, there was silence from the MSN and cheers from the Republican on the street.

Soon Bush beat all previous Presidents in financial irresponsiibility, but there was not a pipsqueak to be heard about that from the “democratic and diverse” MSM media in the US, nor from the Republican on the street. I’d bring it up, and all I got was, “deficits don’t matter” again.

Does any of that make sense? Of course not. Why should deficits be irrelevant and government act like a drunken gambler on a bender with a credit card and when Republicans are in office, but then as soon as a Democrat comes in, it’s all financial responsibility again.

Well, now we have a new Democratic President, and the shit’s started all over again. Remember: as soon as a Democrat comes in, the entire MSM and the Corporate Ruling Class turn into deficit hawks, quick as a chameleon. Your average dumbass on the street, including “liberal Democrats” my late father (and he was a good, solid liberal Democrat too), fall for the con one more time.

Since Obama came in, it’s all debt and deficits and spending freezes, all the time. Furthermore, now the big boys, the Big Three, are on the block: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They could never cut those before, because they are too popular. But the entire US media, from “left to right” has been itching to destroy these programs for over 30 years.

Paul Krugman makes sense of all of it here. It was all just a sinister plot from Day One. And now the Republicans are doubling down: They are deliberately trying to provoke a financial catastrophe so that “emergency measures” will be needed to deal with the Big Three and slash the state to bits once and for all.

A few things are clear. Just as Marx said, you never really have democracy in capitalism. You have in effect a class dictatorship of the ruling class. We know it is a dictatorship because they will steal elections if need to, kill, jail and harass opponents, and if there is ever a threat to their rule, the result is typically either a military coup or a Contra insurgency. A true democracy would allow the Ruling Class state to be replaced by a popular one. Since generally this is not possible, you typically never have democracy under capitalism.

Part of the way that Ruling Class Rule is enforced is by capturing the entirety of private sector media. The Ruling Class then sets up fake “left,” “center” and “right” factions of the Ruling Class media which more or less all say the same thing, with a few variations. Bottom line is they are all part of a project to perpetuate Ruling Class Rule. In fact, all of these outfits, from “left to right” are all run by Ruling Class members themselves, who use the outlets to aggressively propagandize for their class interests.

The Ruling Class then sets up or infiltrates various political parties, once again, “from left to right,” but once again, all of these parties are simply factions of the Ruling Class. Members of society then align with the media outlets and parties somewhere along this spectrum. Some become “liberals,” some “centrists,” some “conservatives.” Most of them don’t realize that these positions are almost meaningless and they are all, liberals to conservatives, simply supporting one faction or the other of the Ruling Class and its mouthpieces.

So you don’t really have much in the way of political freedom under capitalism since all or certainly most of electorate is under the sway of one faction of the Ruling Class or other. Sure, you can form some little popular party, but with no money, you will probably never get elected.

So you don’t have much in the way of freedom of the press under capitalism. Sure, you can say whatever you want, but unless you have a zillion bucks, no one can hear you. You have freedom of the press for those who own one, and everyone else is effectively silenced.

You don’t even have much freedom of thought under capitalism, because due to the fact that the entire media and all of the parties are typically just factionized elements of the Ruling Class, the overwhelming majority of society is effectively brainwashed into becoming a “supporter” of one faction of the other of the Ruling Class.

Through clever use of media and political ideological monopoly (washed together into what Gramsci called “culture”), you have a society that, at the end of the day, is nearly as brainwashed as Maoist China’s. Yeah, you have freedom of thought, but almost everyone is too brainwashed to exercise it. There’s no need for gulags or bullets in the head, as there are few dissenters and their political power is zilch anyway, so they can be ignored.

If through some miracle, a popular regime is ever somehow elected through the fog of Ruling Class Propaganda and Politics (“culture”) there are always contras, military coups, imperialist sanctions and death squads to reverse the progress.

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13 thoughts on “Starve The Beast Game Plan, 2010”

  1. The mainstream media in this country is a joke. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t take anything they say seriously anymore.

    Their “analysis” of what goes on in the world amounts to a conversation they’re having amongst themselves – fellow “club members.” As Robert says, the entire conversation has to stay within certain parameters, and anyone who doesn’t agree to them has no “credibility” to give an opinion.

    Of what value are these people, again?

  2. Turns out Clinton left office with the US government massively in the black.

    No.. although in much better than we are now.. the national debt increased every year that Clinton was in office. There have been and continue to be off balance budget items. Several parts of the Iraq and Afghan war funding fall under this.

  3. Dear Robert
    I think that it is a mistake to think in terms of a dichotomy of rich poor. It seems to me more realistic to use a 5-way classification of the superrich, rich, well-off, poor and dirtpoor. What if the poor and dirtpoor are a minority. Then we could see a majority coalition of the superrich, rich and well-off against the poor and dirtpoor, who will be left to their fate.
    Regards. James

    1. The dichotomy here in the US seems to be the rich, the corporations and the upper middle classes against everyone else. The US elite generally has the upper middle classes along for the ride. This is somewhat mysterious to me. Why is is that the US upper middle class wants to eviscerate all social spending, because this IS the project of the US Ruling Class.

      Who wants to eviscerate all or most all US social spending? The super-rich, the rich and the corporations. The small business class? If they are not wealthy, I don’t think so.

      The upper middle class? I am not sure. Is it really true that the majority of middle class small businessmen and the upper middle class wish to devastate all social spending, pursue a purely corporate agenda in society and the state, and end, devastate or eviscerate public education from K-graduate level, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

      Your average small businessman is an idiot, sure, but does he really believe in this libertarian/3rd World state? Don’t the upper middle class use the public schools? Don’t they send their kids to college? Don’t they use roads and bridges and whatnot.

      The super rich, the rich and the corporations have good reasons for devastating the state. They wish to turn the US into a 3rd World type state where the state is eviscerated and broke, the public sector is nearly nonexistent and the rich and well off pay almost no taxes. They want to recreate the shitholes of Latin America, South Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc.

      It’s easy to understand why. These countries suck, from my POV, but I understand that the rich and well off love living in these devastated lands. They live like kings, pay almost no taxes, and don’t care about the lack of a state.

      But does your average middle class small businessman and upper middle class citizen really want to turn the US into a wealthy Brazil-Pakistan-Philippines? What’s in it for them?

      What is interesting is that another group of folks along for this ride are rural Whites. Rural Whites are 100% behind the utter devastation of the US state, right in line with the rich and the corporations. Many of these people are working class, middle class and even low income and poor, but their politics is straight out of a boardroom or Beverly Hills. I don’t get it. What’s in it for them?

  4. No, when Clinton left office and the Bush assumed office there was instead of a deficit, a vast government surplus. Remember?

    Yes, I remember what was written in press, however like you I like to look behind the curtain:

    If you’ll notice the national debt increased every year that Clinton was in office (albeit towards his later years at a slower pace..) by definition this shows that government was not running a surplus but was actually running a deficit.

  5. To Rob:

    Rural Whites are 100% behind the utter devastation of the US state, right in line with the rich and the corporations.

    No, I disagree, if you consider Paul Craig Roberts a sort of mouth piece of the working class (Note I strongly disagree with some of his positions) I’d say quite a few Whites know we are being taken for a ride.

  6. By the way, I think you are partially correct with the “Starving the beast” premise, it was basically uttered out loud by the likes of David Stockman, that said Bush II seemed to have absolutely no fiscal backbone whatsoever. He rarely protested non-military spending.

  7. Dear Robert and Uncle Milton
    According to a chart in Wikipedia, the public debt went down in the 1990s while the gross debt went up. It seems therefore that you are both right about Clinton. I’m not sure which is the more important figure.
    Regards. James

  8. According to a chart in Wikipedia, the public debt went down in the 1990s while the gross debt went up.

    James, I believe both Robert and I were both talking about the Public debt. I would like to see the chart from Wikipedia but I have seen figures several times (and not charts – see my link..) that indicate that although the public debt growth slowed dramatically in the late Clinton years nevertheless it did grow.

    From this Wikipedia link it does look as if the US Public debt continued to grow:

    Date Public Debt
    09/30/2009 $11,909,829,003,511.75
    09/30/2008 $10,024,724,896,912.49
    09/30/2007 $9,007,653,372,262.48
    09/30/2006 $8,506,973,899,215.23
    09/30/2005 $7,932,709,661,723.50
    09/30/2004 $7,379,052,696,330.32
    09/30/2003 $6,783,231,062,743.62
    09/30/2002 $6,228,235,965,597.16
    09/28/2001 $5,807,463,412,200.06
    09/29/2000 $5,674,178,209,886.86
    09/30/1999 $5,656,270,901,615.43
    09/30/1998 $5,526,193,008,897.62
    09/30/1997 $5,413,146,011,397.34
    09/30/1996 $5,224,810,939,135.73
    09/29/1995 $4,973,982,900,709.39

  9. Dear Uncle Milton
    I think that I can expain the discrepancy between the chart and your figures. The chart uses constant 2008 dollars while the figures use nominal dollars. When there is inflation, figures in nominal dollars can rise even though figures in constant dollars remain the same or fall.
    To illustrate this, let’s take a country with a GDP of 500 billion in 2008. Its nominal GDP grew by 4% in 2009 and inflation in the same period was 5%. Its nominal GDP for 2009 became 520 billion while its GDP in constant 2008 dollars was 520/1.05 = 495.24 billion dollars. Nominal GDP went up but real GDP went down.
    Something similar must have happend to public debt in the Clinton years. Nominal debt went up but real (inflation-corrected) debt went down. It is the real figures that are the valid ones because they use the same yardstick for each year.
    Anyway, to see the chart, just go to Wikipedia and put “US public debt” in search.
    Cheers. James

  10. Nominal debt went up but real (inflation-corrected) debt went down. It is the real figures that are the valid ones because they use the same yardstick for each year.

    For the purposes of debate between myself and Robert I respectfully disagree. I stated that the Clinton never ran a budget surplus when one includes the off budget items. This is a correct statement. They did however narrow the deficit spending markedly the last 3 years he was in office.

    To the best of my knowledge the last time the US government ran a budget surplus was during the Eisenhower years.

  11. Rob,

    You were wondering why there were cuts for social services in California..?

    California Income Tax Revenue Drops 44% In April (Year-Over-Year)

    “They just posted the [California Income Tax Tracker] results for April 30. For the full month of April, income tax receipts were $7.336B. For April 2008, the total was $12.995B. This is a 44% decline. The fiscal YTD is down 20%. I suspect that the April numbers reflect actual tax returns that show lower incomes and more refunds than April 2008. But it also must indicate that wages/incomes are dropping at an accelerating pace.”

    Add to that the incredible drop in property values in some areas (up to 75%..) and the lack of real estate transactions with the sales that are occurring at lower prices… (many local and county governments collect a substantial fee on the turnover of property – a little over 1% in Oakland and San Francisco..)

    And you are looking at a major funding problem.

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