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The Sequester has been the big topic in the news as of late. What it amounts to is austerity for the masses in America. Obama created this stealth austerity maneuver with his newly appointed Secretary of Treasury, Wall Street shark Jacob Lew:

…President Obama and a host of administration spokespersons have condemned the Sequestration, explaining how it will cause catastrophic damage to hundreds of vital government services. Those of us who teach economics, however, always stress “revealed preferences” – it’s not what you say that matters, it’s what you do that matters. Obama has revealed his preference by refusing to sponsor, or even support, a clean bill that would kill the sequestration threat to our Nation. Instead, he has nominated Jacob Lew, the author of the Sequestration provision, as his principal economic advisor. Lew is one of the strongest proponents of austerity and what he and Obama call the “Grand Bargain” – which would inflict large cuts in social programs and the safety net and some increases in revenues. Obama has made clear that he hopes this Grand Betrayal (my phrase) will be his legacy. Obama and Lew do not want to remove the Sequester because they view it as creating the leverage – over progressives – essential to induce them to vote for the Grand Betrayal…

In a rare case of truth-telling, a San Francisco news station spells out exactly what this stealth austerity is intended to do – strip away what is left of the social safety net and the remnants of the New Deal:

So while the financial elite are protected by wealth security insurance programs, aka quantitative easing and endless bailouts, the carcass of Main Street is picked clean by various asset grabs. Conservatives are correct in that you cannot have endless growth of debt and spending, but their demand of government cuts as the way to bring back growth and renew the economy will not work. It will serve only to further push down an already devastated middle class, hastening America’s fall into a barbaric neo-feudal society in a world of resource-scarcity and environmental devastation.

…It follows that neoliberal leaders of governments and their corporate masters view the ongoing economic contraction as a temporary deviation from the “natural” pattern of wealth accumulation-to-elites-trickle down-to-the-masses economics made possible by constant growth. Therefore, economic elites see an “opportunity” to use austerity as a cover to increase upward wealth transfer.[xi] A bonus is to accomplish the long-standing atavistic goal of rolling back[xii] the gains of the New Deal and Great Society.[xiii] Hence the massive governmental and corporate propaganda assaults on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid –and other social benefits programs- as “Entitlements” that allegedly weaken the collective moral character, fiscal integrity and work ethic of the nation. The central premise of this attack -which is arrantly false yet widely disseminated without skepticism by mainstream media- is that these entitlements[xiv] for the “Lesser People”[xv]place the United States government at high risk of debt[xvi] default[xvii] or bankruptcy.[xviii]

Sixty years ago Karl Polanyi anticipated the present crisis when he wrote that belief in “free market forces” –a dogma at the core of neoliberalism[xix]– is a direct threat to the “natural environment…[which also] would result in the demolition of society.”[xx]

It is vital to remember that on the whole, they do not yet understand why modern societies -right now- are entering a post-growth world, which augers a context where government public policy –if it overcomes neoliberalism,[xxxv] which is not guaranteed- faces the central challenge of justly divvying up a shrinking economic pie. (Remember that almost every public health lecture, article and discussion in the United States ends with some variation of this exhortation: “We’re the wealthiest and greatest nation on earth. We’ve got the technology, know-how and resources to do the job; we just need the determination to commit them…”)

Neoliberal governments are blind to the emerging world of degrowth and continue apace facilitating the 1% to impoverish and cannibalize widening segments of the 99%, in essence producing more and more socioeconomically and politically superfluous people in the process. Neoliberalism can only operate in a social world where as the economy contracts -for thermodynamic reasons- wealth and other economic benefits continue to flow upwards, while the costs and burdens fall upon those outside the tiny elite economic…source

In other words, capitalism is cannibalizing itself – eating the underclass and environment to keep this unchecked growth of wealth accumulation intact for the upper class, as scientist Brad Jarvis also explains:

The big news of the week was, of course, the “sequester,” one of several attempts by radical government-haters to open the door to unrestrained pillage of nature and society; it will cut back on many of the means we currently have for limiting and adapting to environmental damage. The scale of that environmental damage includes, of course, more than climate change: recent research shows that wild bees are more critical to our food supply than honeybees, and being wiped out by the top mechanism of extinction, habitat loss…

…I recalled something I learned a few years ago about what is perhaps the key driver of business operation, pursuit of profit. Profit must continuously increase, preferably at an exponential rate, for a business to be considered successful. There are several ways to do so: add value to what you produce, increase demand for what you’re already making, and reduce costs. The first two approaches increase consumption if the business can provide supply to meet demand, which is bad enough in a resource-constrained world. The last approach, however, is the most damaging when applied exponentially, because there is always a minimum cost required – you can’t get something for nothing – and if you’re “successful,” you are likely just good at forcing someone else to eat that cost. Many of the mechanisms directly causing unhealthy income and social inequality in this country and elsewhere may be directly tied to the application of this approach, but it has even more far-ranging effects. Because business is the most powerful human enterprise, society and the planet’s other species are effectively being forced to give more than they can afford and still survive. We are all dying as a result. – source

What else can I say, but that we will eventually have to eat the rich.

Snap 2013-03-02 at 15.07.56