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●The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes.
●Austerity is the government’s method for widening the gap between rich and poor, which ultimately leads to civil disorder.
●Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.
●To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments.
●Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
●The penalty for ignorance is slavery.
●Everything in economics devolves to motive.
“Cruelty creep” is the name I’ve assigned to the slow slicing of the non-rich by the rich, under guise of compassion. Here is an example — an editorial in the Florida Sun Sentinel.
(Background: The Florida Sun Sentinel is owned by the right-wing, Tribune Company, which is controlled by Oaktree Capital Management (23% interest), Angelo, Gordon & Co. (9% interest) and JPMorgan Chase (9% interest). Briefly, the Sun Sentinel is run by the rich.)
Make surgical, not slashing cuts, to food stamp program
By Sun Sentinel Editorial Board, November 4, 2013
Beginning with its headline, the editorial oozes compassion. Don’t “slash” food stamps. Instead make “surgical cuts.”
Never mind that we’re talking about our poorest people, who already have trouble feeding themselves and their children. The Sun Sentinel (Tribune) bosses tell us our Monetarily Sovereign government suddenly has lost the ability to create its sovereign currency, so it needs to cut spending.
And the first thing that must go, according to the rich, is benefits to the poor. But it’s O.K., because the cuts will be “surgical.”
Last week, roughly 3.6 million Floridians saw their food-stamp allotments cut, reductions that will mean the loss of up to $36 per month for a family of four. Unfortunately, the pain may not stop there.
Congress is considering even deeper cuts in the food-stamp program. The U.S. House passed legislation to cut $4 billion annually and tighten eligibility rules to eliminate 10 percent of recipients. The Senate cut is more modest — $400 million a year. The two sides met in conference this week, but couldn’t agree on how to close the yawning spending gap.
The “spending gap” (aka the federal deficit) is “yawning.” We don’t know what “yawning” means, nor do the editorial writers (That’s why they use the term), but we suspect it means “too large.”
How large is “too large”? Since the federal government’s deficit is the economy’s surplus (i.e. money in the pockets of taxpayers), how much of a surplus should the economy have? How much extra money should taxpayers have? This question never will be answered by the rich or those employed by the rich.
While the rich warn us of the “spending gap,” the income/wealth gap (the difference between the rich and the rest) keeps growing, much to the advantage of the rich.
While the economy may be recovering, now is simply not the time for Congress to dramatically cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
There simply aren’t enough good-paying jobs to keep poor and low-income families from going hungry. Already, one in six Americans who can’t make ends meet are forced to skip meals, sometimes for days. Many are children.
Note the word, “dramatically.” According to the rich owners of the Tribune, benefits to the poor always should be cut, but to demonstrate compassion, the rich owners say these benefits should not be cut dramatically — just snipped slowly, steadily and “surgically” — even while admitting that millions of Americans are forced to skip meals — a cruel death of a thousand cuts.
So what next? More “surgical” cuts to make those lazy children miss even more meals?
“Yes, the federal government has budget problems, but children didn’t cause them, and cutting anti-hunger investments is the wrong way to solve them,” Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children, told the New York Times.
Solutions are not easy, because added funds from the 2009 stimulus package have dried up, representing a loss of $5 billion over the next year.
And here we again come to the false claim that the federal government “has budget problems” so “solutions are not easy.” In fact, the ONLY budget problem the federal government has is the claim that is HAS a budget problem.
A Monetarily Sovereign government never can run short of its sovereign currency, so has no budget “problems.”
Yes, trims are needed in the food stamp program, but draconian cuts to food-insecure Americans are unacceptable.
Florida receives $6 billion in food-stamp benefits, which provides relief to one of every five Floridians, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington think tank.
During the Great Recession, the rolls grew dramatically when the Obama administration made it easier for jobless people to apply for benefits. The stimulus also increased the program’s monthly benefit to an average $133 — hardly a champagne-and-caviar amount.
The children and their parents are going to bed hungry, so being compassionate, the rich only want to “trim” the food stamp program, not make “draconian cuts.” Of course, when someone is hungry, even a small “trim” is draconian.
But the rich don’t want the people to die of starvation; they just want them to be desperate. Being desperate, the people will accept low-paying jobs with unpleasant job conditions — exactly what the rich want.
(Why do you think the stock market has been booming while the economy continues to languish? Payroll cuts.)
Inflation Adjusted Hourly Earnings of Production and Nonsupervisory Employees has not increased since 1967
Fear of a bloated safety-net program has prompted congressional Republicans to pursue deep cuts. Led by Republican Rep. Steve Southerland from the Florida Panhandle, the House wants to cut $39 billion over 10 years and set new eligibility standards that would remove 3.8 million recipients, including 400,000 Floridians.
As everyone knows, the poor are “takers.” They are lazy, good-for-nothing, shiftless, free-loading criminals, who would rather drink, take drugs, commit crimes and accept food stamps, than do honest work. (At least, that is the lie the rich-owned media want you to believe.)
And, as everyone know, it’s the hard-working taxpayers who must support all that free loading. (That is the lie the rich-owned politicians want you to believe. The truth: Taxpayers do not pay for federal spending.)
“This bill makes getting Americans back to work a priority again for our nation’s welfare programs,” House Speaker John A. Boehner said.
According to the Republicans, the way to “get Americans back to work,” is not to strengthen the economy, but to make joblessness even more punishing than it already is. All those millions of impoverished unemployed could find jobs if only they tried.
(Remember, the Sun Sentinel already has admitted, “There simply aren’t enough good-paying jobs to keep poor and low-income families from going hungry.” So how does cutting food stamps “get Americans back to work”?)
It’s never easy to reduce safety-net benefits, particularly one so tied to an essential commodity – food. Making sensible cuts is one thing. But gutting a program that helps vulnerable families and individuals survive in a weak economy hardly defines American exceptionalism.
According to the Sun Sentinel (aka Tribune), making these cuts is oh-so-difficult. Their hearts bleed for the starving children. So they just wish to make “sensible” cuts — just enough to keep the starving barely alive, not not so much as to kill them.
With unemployment still high and hunger persisting, a viable food-stamp program is still needed.
We urge our representatives to make surgical trims to the program, but block the proposed machete-style cuts that would hurt those Florida families and children who can least afford it.
“See, we’re on your side. We don’t want you to starve to death. We just want you to starve a little more than you already are starving. And remember, this is for your own good. It’s to convince you to get a job.”
“We just want to make small cuts, so that next year, and every year after, we can continue to complain about “yawning spending gaps” and “budget problems,” so that next year and every year after, we cruelly can make more and more “surgical” cuts.
It’s cruelty creep — the day-by-day, year-by-year slicing and shredding of the poor, all to widen the gap between the rich and the rest.
Is there no limit?
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Nine Steps to Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA (Click here)
2. Medicare — parts A, B & D plus long term nursing care — for everyone (Click here)
3. Send every American citizen an annual check for $5,000 or give every state $5,000 per capita (Click here)
4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone. Click here
5. Salary for attending school (Click here)
6. Eliminate corporate taxes (Click here)
7. Increase the standard income tax deduction annually
8. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99% (Click here)
9. Federal ownership of all banks (Click here)
10 Steps to Economic Misery: (Click here:)
1. Maintain or increase the FICA tax..
2. Spread the myth Social Security, Medicare and the U.S. government are insolvent.
3. Cut federal employment in the military, post office, other federal agencies.
4. Broaden the income tax base so more lower income people will pay.
5. Cut financial assistance to the states.
6. Spread the myth federal taxes pay for federal spending.
7. Allow banks to trade for their own accounts; save them when their investments go sour.
8. Never prosecute any banker for criminal activity.
9. Nominate arch conservatives to the Supreme Court.
10. Reduce the federal deficit and debt
No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.
Two key equations in economics:
1. Federal Deficits – Net Imports = Net Private Savings
2. Gross Domestic Product = Federal Spending + Private Investment and Consumption – Net Imports
THE RECESSION CLOCK
As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recession, which will be cured only when the lines rise.
12 thoughts on “Cruelty creep: How the rich pretend compassion while slicing flesh from the poor.”
A Monetarily Sovereign government never can run short of its sovereign currency, so has no budget “problems.”
Ben Bernanke told Scott Pelley of CBS in an interview the same thing only he used the word ‘electrons’ rather than ‘sovereign currency.’
Paraphrasing : Death by a thousand budget cuts.
I apologize in advanced if my question is too dumb and stupid.
Per your statement, if welfare benefits are cut – various poor children will go hungry. But I think it’s more complicated than that.
According to one of your previous posts, creating new money can have inflationary implications (minor, but existing nonetheless). If creating new money has minor implications in terms of inflation, I presume that removing money has the opposite impact. And by this token, I assume output/production would not be impacted in a negative way.
Who would eat the lunches that these poor folks can no longer afford?
“Who would eat the lunches that these poor folks can no longer afford?” Total income equals total spending. If the poor can’t afford lunch, the grocers and farmers have less income. Another thing I have a problem with is the strong incentives given for people to save. This is only fine if in the aggregate, there are an equal amount of borrowers. I don’t fault the Suze Orman’s of the world, but the combination of people in the aggregate being net savers, and US Govt striving towards a balanced budget is not a good one. Reduced income will result.
Thanks for trying, but I don’t think that answers the question. Total income measured in dollars equals total spending measured in dollars. Income measured in dollars going up or down does not mean more or less food is being produced. That’s the argument I made on the original post.
As I said above, if creating new money has a minor chance of creating inflation, than removing money has the opposite effect. That opposite effect should not impact output negatively. To your point, farmers may be making less income in dollar terms, but would make more in purchasing power terms.
The point is not inflation; the point is GDP
GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports
Nobody would eat the lunches, because they wouldn’t exist. Assuming that money creation causes no inflation – a safe assumption in this case under current conditions, the money removal would have “the opposite impact” – output/production would definitely be impacted in a negative way. Farmers will make less income in dollar terms and less income in purchasing power terms. Just as more food stamps would yield more food to “the poor” – including people like airline pilots nowadays – and more real and nominal income to food producers.
But that is the opposite of your conclusion, which is thus hard to understand. In advanced modern economies, run as insanely as they have been for decades, money creation toward public purposes as sensible as food stamps are a “free lunch”. Wealth and welfare is basically printed into existence.
rodger here frequently talks about bribery of politicians in general terms. for those of you who want to know the sordid details of how the bribery takes place each and every day, take a look at this book:
as i have said on other posts, i’m not totally convinced that it’s a question of “bribery,” per se. i think that politicians are actually demanding “tribute” from the corporations they regulate.
I found the following article concerning and would like to know if you support massive federal investment in green energy: http://www.salon.com/2013/11/05/the_window_of_opportunity_to_prevent_catastrophic_warming_is_closing/
Yes, it would have three benefits:
1. To some unknown degree, it will slow global warming.
2. Research of all kinds eventually proves serendipitously beneficial
3. The additional dollars stimulate the entire economy.
After reading your commentary, you have prompted me to research the actual percentage of the Federal budget that is earmarked for programs that provide, somewhat, for the less fortunate. My gut feeling is that the percentage is quite small in comparison to the “entitlements” granted to the rich in the form of corporate subsidies, tax benefits on unearned, unproductive income and other free lunch government benefits. Not to mention financial bail-outs and other benefits that facilitate parasitism on the real economy bestowed upon the rich by their congressional lap dogs. The numbers will, I am certain, will be astounding.
You’re right to include the lower (or nonexistent) taxes on various investments dominated by the rich, as “entitlements” for the rich. However, it will be difficult to quantify them.
FICA is paid by everyone, though it’s much more costly to the 99% than to the 1%. Medicare and Social Security are received by most over-65s, though they are much more beneficial to the 99%.
That is why FICA was increased, while Social Security is taxed (Who ever heard of taxing an “insurance” policy benefit supposedly “paid for” by the “insured”?)
Virtually all federal spending helps salaried people and reduces unemployment, which is why federal spending is under siege.
Bottom line: All taxes hurt everyone, but taxes on salaries and sales taxes hurt the 99% more All federal spending helps everyone, but it helps the 99% more.
So, to widen the Gap:
*Broaden the tax base to include more of the poor
*Increase sales taxes and even add a VAT
*Tax Social Security and reduce benefits, while increasing FICA
*Tax interest, capital gains and other non-salaried sources of income, at lower rates than salaries
*Cut federal spending and reduce federal employment.
*Claim the federal debt and deficit are unsustainable.
It’s pretty simple, really.
Agreed, completely. The .01% and the media they control or own have managed, as seems to be the case with so many issues, to convince the majority of citizens that it is the free lunch given to the less fortunate that is the cause of our debt and deficit problems (debt and deficit problems that are really not problems, except for the private sector). The actual figures, when it comes to where and to whom the free lunch is granted, will, I’m certain surprise the vast majority of the lower 90%; whose minds for the most part have been brain boxed by the elites and their facilitators. I will still make the effort to attempt to expose the true facts and evidence; for whatever it’s worth. Thanks for your response.