Volatility, “Freakshow: Deficits, Taxes, Austerity”

From here. The left blog Volatility is absolutely excellent, if heterodox in its outlook. It is extremely well written. Here is a recent post on the fake deficit crisis. I don’t agree with his no taxes idea, but it’s definitely very radical. I believe he’s actually sort of an anarchist, but I don’t hate anarchists. They hate me, but not vice versa. At least their heads are in the right place.

He makes a lot of excellent points.

The problem is that it plays into an anti-government directive that is then used by the elites to attack the notion that the state should do anything at all for the common good or especially for the non-rich. It’s also clear that there is little difference between Republicans and Democrats on these issues. They both work for the rich and attack the non-rich.

Obama, in particular, works for the rich, he’s their servant. His role is to serve as General in the Calls War of the rich against the non-rich. He plays that role very well. I think that future historians will properly show that Obama is a corporatist, and a very rightwing one at that. Obama’s purpose appears to be to destroy the Democratic Party once and for all.

I think he also wants to go down on history as the man who began the destruction of the New Deal. It’s obvious that he hates the New Deal and wants to wipe it off the face of the Earth. If he gets elected to a 2nd term, Obama will do just that – he will kill the New Deal and Great Society once and for all. This is what Obama wants his place in history to be, and this is what it will be. After he does that, the Democratic Party will be a dead, rotting corpse, gone forever.

I think Obama also wanted the Democrats to lose in the 2010 elections so what he calls “my Republican friends” could win the election. Then he would be “forced” to begin the destruction of the New Deal and Great Society, which has been itching to do ever since he came into office. Democrats running for office in 2010 were told by Obama and Rahm Emmanuel to “go Blue dog.” A Blue Dog is a DINO, a Democrat who is really just nothing but a Republican.

During the campaign, White House used and urged other Democrats to use the very slogan that internal polling would work worst for Democrats and best for Republicans. Obama wanted the Democrats to lose! I keep telling you, Obama is a Manchurian Candidate, selected by the elites to kill the Democratic Party.

The only thing that happened was that all the blue dogs got killed in the election.
I haven’t been closely following the latest magic show in Washington. I’m aware of the same old maelstrom of lies, fake struggle, phony digressions, dire predictions.

The truths are clear: The deficit and the debt are not real issues. No one within the system who claims to care about them actually cares about them, and there’s no reality-based reason anyone should care about them. There’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans on this, although each pretends there is. Of course, if Obama wanted the political/media discussion to be about job creation and not about deficits, that’s what the discussion would be.

But just as much as the Reps, he’s focused only on austerity for the people. This is a kleptocratic imperative.

Meanwhile we have digressive, misdirectional nonsense like debates over the legality and/or constitutionality of the debt ceiling, philosophical hand-wringing over the very concept, speculation over how Obama can/ought to do end runs around the law and constitution (thus the liberals get a whack at aggrandizing the imperial presidency).

All this is absurd since this government recognizes no “law” in the first place. If it wants to borrow, it’ll borrow. If it wants to print, it’ll print. It’ll deal with this law the same way it deals with every other law, acknowledging its authority or flouting it (brazenly or clandestinely) based purely on what brings the outcome most congenial to kleptocracy.

Of course the US government is hardly unique in this. It’s cute the way European governments, none of whom, including the Germans and French, adhered to the debt-to-GDP requirements of the Eurozone, are pretending to agonize over this latest example of US banana republicanism. I think there’s plenty of bananas to go around.)

The point of the foregoing was to describe how this is a completely phony debate. As always, the government will do exactly what it wants to do, regardless of the law.

What about the alleged substance of the issue – are deficits and debts really a problem? MMT says no. In an economy this depressed, government can and should run deficits as long as the spending is on constructive things. The current political reality is a funhouse mirror image of this.

Everyone in Washington, all elites, agree that the government can and should borrow and spend infinitely on corporate welfare. (And this is without reference to the economy’s operation relative to capacity. No political/media elite thinks corporate welfare should be cut even if the dreaded inflation monster did show itself.)

Somehow, deficits are only an issue, and the fear of inflation is only an issue, where it comes to public interest spending. This really means that it’s not deficits or inflation which is the real issue, but the public interest itself. Today’s elites are dedicated to destroying government as something which benefits the people in any way, while maintaining it (in an extremely big, aggressive form) as the machine of corporate tyranny and looting.

This leads us to taxation. Like austerians elsewhere, Obama keeps intoning that we must have “shared sacrifice”, which is of course code for 100% sacrifice for the non-rich, 0% for the rich. What would happen if he were forced to listen to actual citizens demanding to know, “You can actually stand there and claim we haven’t sacrificed enough already? Do you have even the slightest shred of decency or shame?” But he clearly has neither.

Part of this demanded sacrifice is raising taxes on the non-rich, even as government abdicates all responsibilities to us, once and for all. On the contrary, we’re to be taxed to fund bureaucratic and police assaults on us, and to facilitate the “privatization”, that is robbery, of our public property.

It’s clear that whether or not taxation on the non-rich ever had any legitimacy in the past, it no longer does. Philosophically, we do not have a legitimate government. This is a kleptocracy which recognizes only the rich and big corporations as citizens, as persons at all. It does nothing other than for their benefit. From the point of view of the actual citizens, people who actually do work, this government is nothing but a parasite and a predator.

It will never inaugurate a new public interest program, but only continue to destroy the ones which still exist. To the extent any still exist, this is only out of inertia and political duress.

(As for entitlements, these aren’t legitimately part of any discussion involving deficits and debt, because we the people already paid for them with dedicated taxes. We must refuse to allow that they’re touchable even in principle. We must reject immediately anyone who participated in embezzling those funds for other spending (or who supported such embezzlers) and who now wants to turn around and claim those programs are debt-drivers that need to be cut.)

As a practical matter, people who are struggling, people who face even more severe economic tyranny further down the road, and especially people who are fighting to relocalize their economies and rebuild their communities, need every cent we can get, and we can use that cent far more effectively if we do it directly by ourselves than if it’s “trickled back down” to us by alleged good government, and if we do it now rather than at some indeterminate time in the future. For both of these reasons any taxation upon us robs us of precious resources we can’t afford to lose.

And then there’s the fact that the money taken from us isn’t merely handed over to the corporations and the rich to be thrown down a rathole never to be seen again. That would be bad enough. But much of it is then used by these predators as a weapon against us. This is war, and ammunition stolen from us and handed over to the enemy will then be used to shoot at us.

That’s the effect of the government policy of redistributing wealth upward. That’s the effect of all taxation. To the extent that taxation touches the non-rich at all, it is regressive by definition. Viciously so.

That’s why it’s stupid to still argue about “making the tax code more progressive”. One, kleptocracy would never do that. Two, even if this system ever did make the income tax, and even payroll taxes, nominally more progressive, that would make no difference. The rich would continue to evade these taxes, and anything taken from them in taxes would be handed right back to them anyway, since the government’s policy is to benefit them in any way it can. (“Trickle down” really would work for the rich.)

So we’ve disposed of taxation as such, and of the progressive-vs.-regressive misdirection ploy. We’re left with a clear, stark position:

No Taxes on the Non-Rich.

We must furiously resist any tax increases upon us (any hike in existing taxes, any new taxes like a VAT), and fight to have existing taxes removed. Every cent we redeem for our own use in this way is a pure gain. Under this system we’ll never do any better with the diminishing money we have.

(Previous posts on my No Taxes position include No Taxes on the Non-Rich and End All Taxation.)

There’s no point fearing that without taxation the criminals will have a pretext to gut Social Security and Medicare. They already want to do that and will do so whenever it’s politically possible. The presence or absence of any given level of tax revenue won’t change that. No, here we must make another stark demand:

Total Austerity for the Criminals, Not One Cent More From the People.

Including the rock that SS and Medicare are untouchable. Absolutely no cuts to them. (On the contrary, we should be demanding Medicare expansion, Medicare For All, single payer. We should always take the offensive.) They’re perfectly solvent. They’re not part of the deficit. We the people already paid for them. To even suggest compromising them is to advocate robbery plain and simple.

So there’s the clear, simple position: No taxes, no cuts in anything but corporate welfare.

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0 thoughts on “Volatility, “Freakshow: Deficits, Taxes, Austerity””

  1. The guy, Russ, seems to want to lead a movement of sorts, but he hasn’t devloped an organizational structure. He would do well to appeal,among others, to that fraction of the Tea Party which dominated at first before the Party majority was co-opted by the corporate kleptocrats.

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