Matters become clearer once you reach the section on tax reform. The goals of reform, as Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson see them, are presented in the form of seven bullet points. “Lower Rates” is the first point; “Reduce the Deficit” is the seventh.
So how, exactly, did a deficit-cutting commission become a commission whose first priority is cutting tax rates, with deficit reduction literally at the bottom of the list?
Paul, Paul, Paul. The deficit cutting commission was never intended to be a “commission” intended to “cut” the “deficit,” as those words are commonly understood by English speakers. Reduce the Deficit is the seventh of seven bullet points only because someone remembered, as an afterthought, to slap it on there in order to cover up and gloss over the actual point of the entire exercise, no doubt enjoying a hearty chuckle when they did it.
It will take time to crunch the numbers here, but this proposal clearly represents a major transfer of income upward, from the middle class to a small minority of wealthy Americans. And what does any of this have to do with deficit reduction?
It has absolutely nothing to do with deficit reduction whatsoever. It has everything to do with “a major transfer of income upward, from the middle class to a small minority of wealthy Americans.”
See, I learned something many years ago (the hard way, of course): when what someone says is directly contradictory to what someone does, the words are lies. Actions always speak the truth. In this situation, a “deficit reduction commission” has put forth a plan which will do little or nothing to reduce the deficit and instead transfer wealth from an already reeling middle class to
America’s owners a few already ridiculously wealthy elite. The most reasonable conclusion to draw, the one that makes the fewest assumptions, explains all the facts, and clarifies most of the (very deliberately created) confusion, is that this is exactly what the commission was intended to accomplish. Occam’s Razor cuts right through their bullshit – effortlessly.
On the commission are some of the most powerful people in Washington, who were tasked by the most powerful people in Washington. Since when, pray tell, have the most powerful people and factions in Washington done anything but entrench their own power, privilege, and wealth? None of these people – not one – gives a shit about the deficit, except insofar as it must never burden their benefactors. Which leaves the rest of us, everyone outside their elite little caste, to be buried by it. If they actually did give a shit about the deficit, they would all be chanting “Single Payer Healthcare!” in unison, and everyone paying the least bit of attention knows it.
It’s no mystery what has happened on the deficit commission: as so often happens in modern Washington, a process meant to deal with real problems has been hijacked on behalf of an ideological agenda. Under the guise of facing our fiscal problems, Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson are trying to smuggle in the same old, same old — tax cuts for the rich and erosion of the social safety net.
Au contraire, mon frere. The process was not meant to deal with real problems at all – at least not the real problems of the vast majority of American citizens. The process was meant to promote tax cuts for the rich and the erosion of the social safety net. Conservative Agenda 101: Priority #1, Talking Point #1, Mission #1, Legislative Priority #1.
Can anything be salvaged from this wreck? I doubt it.
I do, too, Mr. Krugman. However this does not make me a cynic, just someone who pays attention.