The facts and the delusions of Americans

August 6, 2011 | By | 10 Replies More

Here’s what China says about the United States:

“The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone,” Xinhua said.

It said the rating cut would be followed by more “devastating credit rating cuts” and global financial turbulence if the U.S. fails to learn to “live within its means.”

“China, the largest creditor of the world’s sole superpower, has every right now to demand the United States to address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China’s dollar assets,” it said.

Xinhua said the U.S. must slash its “gigantic military expenditure and bloated social welfare costs” and accept international supervision over U.S. dollar issues.

Here’s what United States Officials say:

Officials at the Treasury Department fought the downgrade until virtually the last minute. Administration sources familiar with discussions said the S&P analysis was fundamentally flawed. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Here is a stunning fact, but by no means newly revealed information: The federal government is borrowing about 40 percent of what it spends.

If some other country were ruining its economy like this, we would scold them, much like China is now scolding us.


Category: American Culture, hypocrisy

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (10)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Mark Steyn says that the clock is running out on our chances of avoiding financial Armageddon.

    America will be cutting federal spending by $900 billion over ten years. “Cutting federal spending by $900 billion over ten years” is Washington-speak for increasing federal spending by $7 trillion over ten years. And, as they’d originally planned to increase it by eight trillion, that counts as a cut. If they’d planned to increase it by $20 trillion and then settled for merely $15 trillion, they could have saved five trillion. See how easy this is?

    As part of this historic “cut,” we’ve now raised the “debt ceiling” — or, more accurately, lowered the debt abyss. Do you ever discuss the debt with your neighbor? Do you think he has any serious intention to repay the 15 trillion racked up in his and your name? Does your congressman? Does your senator? Look into their eyes. You can see the answer.

    This problem of American debt has been swept under the rug for decades, but I believe that it’s about to explode into constant coverage because we’re entering a dangerous period of transition that will culminate in an extremely different way of running our country. We won’t have the option of kicking the can just a bit down the road any more.

  2. Jim Razinha says:

    You do realize that they’ll spin it to a “bright side”…at least we’re not spending a dollar for every forty cents.

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    U.S. Treasury is now bickering with S&P over deficit math.

    I won’t take sides in this one. S&P is the entity that passed of billions of crap mortgage securities as AAA, while U.S. Treasury (led by Tim Geithner and his criminal Wall Street buddies) doesn’t seem to have any problem with running the federal budget on deficit spending every year. Of course the Dems want a lot of things–so do I, but there needs to be a sustainable way to pay for those things. Where is any honest dialogue about that or any public detailed plan? Just because I’m lashing out at the Dems doesn’t mean I have any respect for the Republicans either. Neither of the two major parties have any credibility regarding the debt situation. The Republican “plan” will needless destroy jobs and lives. The Democrats’ have no sustainable plan and no courage to bring the fight to the Republicans by advocating the People’s Budget. The game is rigged for the American People, and the media are in on it too, engaging in argument from the excluded middle, ignoring that there is a way for reasonable people to work out an austere budget that cuts our war-mongering and encourages jobs–how is it that Obama has so thoroughly forgotten about the new clean-energy economy that could be leading the way. And how surreal that the Republicans are responding by trying to re-legalize highly inefficient light bulbs. The political system of American is entirely broken. It is best for people to assume at this point that virtually everything we hear out of either party is a lie, and that everything is paltering and spinning. To top it off, we have a media dominate by big corporations that make money by drumming up conflict rather than educating and doing investigative journalism. I’ve never been so exasperated (or scared) for our country.

    You know, under Bill Clinton, it was well recognized that the country should be balancing its budget and not be running up deficits as a general rule. There’s a lot of Republican hypocrisy going around these days, but also lots of Democrat hypocrisy. Why aren’t we fighting hard to spend only what we have to spend, so that we don’t poison the next generation of Americans? Why didn’t we insist that the military take a huge hit on the recent budget plan? And corporate welfare (e.g., farm subsidies, including corn ethanol?).

    It seems to me that the only “plan” in place by the Democrats is to try to kick the can 10 feet down the road, to avoid important topics and to ultimately self-destruct, lead by a President who desperately needs to listen to and heed his campaign promises from the last election. But I have no hope that he will change his ways. He just doesn’t have it in him to dig in and fight for what he says he believes. I cannot count the number of people I know who supported Obama with significant money last cycle, who have lost all faith in him to accomplish anything other than give pretty speeches. I met yet another one of those people tonight. The mood is not pretty for those of us who had tears in our eyes while we watched Obama’s inauguration.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Drew Weston of the NYT has some ideas about what happened to Barack Obama:

    “Like most Americans, at this point, I have no idea what Barack Obama — and by extension the party he leads — believes on virtually any issue. The president tells us he prefers a “balanced” approach to deficit reduction, one that weds “revenue enhancements” (a weak way of describing popular taxes on the rich and big corporations that are evading them) with “entitlement cuts” (an equally poor choice of words that implies that people who’ve worked their whole lives are looking for handouts). But the law he just signed includes only the cuts.

    . . .

    Or perhaps, like so many politicians who come to Washington, he has already been consciously or unconsciously corrupted by a system that tests the souls even of people of tremendous integrity, by forcing them to dial for dollars — in the case of the modern presidency, for hundreds of millions of dollars. When he wants to be, the president is a brilliant and moving speaker, but his stories virtually always lack one element: the villain who caused the problem, who is always left out, described in impersonal terms, or described in passive voice, as if the cause of others’ misery has no agency and hence no culpability. Whether that reflects his aversion to conflict, an aversion to conflict with potential campaign donors that today cripples both parties’ ability to govern and threatens our democracy, or both, is unclear.”

  5. NIklaus Pfirsig says:

    What we are witnessing is the culmination of a decades old strategy to destroy democracy in the world one and for all. It all reminds me of the well known volley ball “setup and spike” tactic.
    Sine the Regan presidency, we have been brainwashed with a cultish belief that government is bad, that government is wasteful, that government is not run like a busness. We have also been thoroughly indoctrinated by the parasitic leeches of the financial sector (I refuse to consider them an industry, as that implies they actually produce something).
    The misdirection of the public has resulted in a gradual weakening of the government, to the point that we are becomong a population enslaved to dictatorial corporatist fascists. The debt ceiling crisis was manufactured, through the fanatic belief of suplly-side economics, through the massive give-away under Bush that we called TARP, to the insistance that the beneficiariaries of the massive flow of corporate welfare should not be made to pay a fair share.
    For the financial sector, it was a win-win situation. Defaulting on the debt would allow them to significantly boost their take of tax money by jacking the interest rates on the debt. On the other hand the level of austerity measures needed to match the revenues lost through tax cuts for the wealthy, will weaken the government to the degree that it will have no ability to enforce the laws, allowing the multinational corporations to do as they please.
    Note to the Conservatives on the USA. According to protocol, you are supposed to kiss someone before you screw them.

  6. Erich Vieth says:

    Here’s another way to run a country/economy. It’s called “Contract for the American Dream.”

    “The basic premise of the campaign is that America isn’t broke, it’s merely imbalanced. In order to stabilize the economy, politicians should make substantial investments in infrastructure, energy, education and the social safety net, tax the rich, end the wars, and create a wider revenue base through job creation.”

  7. Mike M. says:

    I was told that we can’t do any of the good and decent stuff advocated by the C.A.D… because we don’t all agree on any of it. So, not enough votes -and inertia reigns. We do, apparently, somehow mysteriously all agree on bombing the shit out of non-Western countries in which we see a possible financial gain or an opportunity for international power leverage.
    How does this phantom of consensus work? Is it possible that the American people are not consulted or asked for their agreement on any of this, but rather are after the fact duped into phony complicity at the hands of the government and it’s Propaganda Arm (Media)?
    I suspect that those initiatives proposed by C.A.D do not financially benefit the Military-Industrial Complex, Big Banks, Big Pharma or the oil/coal/atomic gang. Therefore…snowball’s chance in hell of seeing anything beyond lip service and token gestures.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Mike M.: I mustn’t have been home the day they called or stopped by to check whether I supported spending $2 billion per week to bomb poor people in Afghanistan. No one asked me or asked anyone I know.

  8. Erich Vieth says:

    It’s not easy to find balanced commentary on the U.S. budget. Here’s one written by William Saletan of that is enjoyably neither Democrat nor Republican apologetic.

  9. Erich Vieth says:

    Noam Chomsky explains that America’s current problems were long in the making:

    “The self-inflicted blows . . . trace back to the 1970s, when the national political economy underwent major transformations, ending what is commonly called “the Golden Age” of (state) capitalism. Two major elements were financialization (the shift of investor preference from industrial production to so-called FIRE: finance, insurance, real estate) and the offshoring of production. The ideological triumph of “free market doctrines,” highly selective as always, administered further blows, as they were translated into deregulation, rules of corporate governance linking huge CEO rewards to short-term profit, and other such policy decisions.

    The resulting concentration of wealth yielded greater political power, accelerating a vicious cycle that has led to extraordinary wealth for a fraction of 1 percent of the population, mainly CEOs of major corporations, hedge fund managers and the like, while for the large majority real incomes have virtually stagnated.

    In parallel, the cost of elections skyrocketed, driving both parties even deeper into corporate pockets. What remains of political democracy has been undermined further as both parties have turned to auctioning congressional leadership positions . . .”

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