When I was a kid, I used to play a game with myself by walking around the house with a vanity mirror held in front of me, face up. I’d look down at the mirror and see the ceiling above me, but projected downward. By looking at the mirror as I walked, it seemed as if I were constantly on the verge of stepping off into the void – fun!
Yep, that cliff we hear about endlessly is not the real thing: it’s a manufactured illusion. Just yesterday, I had the misfortune to catch a sound-bite of a Republican congressman jabbering on about “unsustainable deficits,” and the need for “spending cuts to protect our bond rates.” You could read Paul Krugman almost at random to have that notion destroyed: the so-called bond vigilantes have been predicting Armageddon for years, and it just never happens. And I have a folder full of clippings about the deficit and the doom that awaits us, which also never happens. I guess the deficit is sustainable, at least for quite a while. (Oh, we did run a surplus for a few years, but that was under Clinton, so it doesn’t count, and Bush took care of it.)
Frequently, we hear that “we just cannot afford our current entitlement programs.” Uh…strange. So, these programs provide valuable, even essential services and support for millions of Americans, so we just have to cut back, right? Good health care is just too damn costly, by gosh! We’ll make do, some of us, without it. In the most wealthy country on the globe. Where wealth is more concentrated among a few than ever before. And they’d like to keep it that way.
It’s really quite simple.