Politico is a inside the beltway newsletter that revels in political gossip — the kind of new media phenomena that reflects the self-inflating, self-referencing character of behavior in the Hall of Mirrors that is Versailles on the Potomac. This rag is funded by right leaning contributors. That said, Politico is a barometer of sorts — in this case of bad ju ju (see report below).
Note, for example — its description of how pressure is building to whack the Pentagon’s budget. It will be interesting to see how Military – Industrial – Congressional Complex (MICC) will wiggle out of the squeeze described in last few graphs. For what it is worth, my guess is that the MICC will move to protect its hi-tech cold-war rice bowls at the expense of its people and readiness. But we are in the middle of at least two wars — which of course will generate effective counter-pressures, because we “must to protect the troops!” — and so in the end very little will happen beyond a few cometic swipes. This one of the benefits of perpetual small wars or the perpetual threat of small wars (explained more fully in my essay, The Domestic Roots of Perpetual War) A more extensive discourse on the MICC's game will be found in soon to be released anthology, The Pentagon Labyrinth, which will be freely available in hard copy as well as electronic form).
So, get ready for a run on Social Security (and Medicare?), which conveniently is not even mentioned in the Politico “report.” Obama made SS more vulnerable with his recent “temporary” 2% cut in withholding tax. My guess is that little will happen to SS in near term, but the “phony solvency issue” was strengthened by the cut, and we should expect it to be reinforced endlessly in the looming political debate. Liberal economists who recently welcomed Obama's tax cut by arguing that it will clarify the real “pay as you go” nature of economic debate over SS may be in for a nasty surprise.
So, without saying so, this superficial report helps us understand how war between the MICC and SS is being joined, where the politics of fear (national insecurity versus personal insecurity) will be the weapons of choice. Fasten your seat belt.
GOP cuts deep as right revolts
By: David Rogers, Politico
February 9, 2011 10:33 AM EST
Faced with a revolt on the right, House Republicans scrambled Wednesday to adjust their budget strategy and come up with tens of billions of dollars in additional savings — including a possible across-the-board cut — to appease tea party supporters.
The day began with the once-proud House Appropriations Committee previewing what it saw as an unprecedented package of more than $40 billion in reductions from current domestic and foreign aid funding. But even as the numbers were released, conservatives at a morning caucus demanded twice the reductions. And by late in the day, the committee’s cardinals were closeted away in the Capitol, fending off talk of across-the-board cuts but also admitting they will most likely need days more to come up with an alternative.
More than any single event in the new Congress, the standoff captured what’s become a rhetorical nightmare for GOP leaders — having pledged to cut $100 billion from spending this year but then single-mindedly targeting just one narrow segment of the budget covering domestic programs and foreign aid.
Phi Beta Iota: What we call a “government” is more like a tragic farce. The US Intelligence Community is not helping and the Office of Management and Budget is completely under water. None of these people are serious about fulfilling their Article 1 Constitutional responsibilities, or balancing means, ways, and ends. A random group of twelve honest citizens could make better decisions that these well-intentioned but completely inept politicians.