It’s not a “fiscal cliff” — it’s an “austerity bomb”

Framing alert, lefties. I’m serious. The so-called “fiscal cliff” really is an “austerity bomb” and there’s a ton of reasons to use that phrasing — or something, at least, not dictated by the mainstream who wants it (my Twitter friend @cybrestrike likes Grand Betrayal; so do I).

Also, accuracy alert. “Austerity bomb” really does describe both the cause and the effect. The Professor (my emphasis and paragraphing):

Brian Beutler of Talking Points Memo seems to have been the first to use the phrase “austerity bomb” for what’s scheduled to happen at the end of the year. It’s a much better term than “fiscal cliff”.

The cliff stuff makes people imagine that it’s a problem of excessive deficits when it’s actually about the risk that the deficit will be too small; also and relatedly, the fiscal cliff stuff enables a bait and switch in which people say “so, this means that we need to enact Bowles-Simpson and raise the retirement age!” which have nothing at all to do with it.

I talked about the bait-and-switch here:

There are no serious deficit hawks in Washington; just serious safety net killers. The “fiscal cliff” wasn’t designed to force budget changes. It was designed to force scary budget changes as a cover for safety net reductions.

Back to Krugman:

And it can’t be emphasized enough that everyone who shrieks about the dangers of the austerity bomb is in effect acknowledging that the Keynesians were right all along, that slashing spending and raising taxes on ordinary workers is destructive in a depressed economy, and that we should actually be doing the opposite.

Yes. And there’s a nice chart of what the austerity bomb is doing to unemployment in Europe. Click to see; up is bad.

Look, there’s only one bottom line here. This is a Demand Depression. The economy is depressed because no one is buying — lack of demand. If it were a Supply Depression — a depression caused by a lack of a supply of goods — we’d be out of it already. We’ve handed money hand over fist to the “job creators,” and they’ve given us nada in the way of ramped-up production. If there were money to be made by producing, they’d be making it — in this country, the one actual Americans care about.

‘Nuff said? Or do I need to go on about how those internationalist “job creators” don’t give an actual damn about the country of their origin — so long as their next pile of megalomaniacal cash comes from somewhere. (Hello from China, Mr. Romney; make yourself right at home. Your table is ready.)

OK, I lied. There really is a second bottom line. Progressive writers — austerity bomb, not “fiscal cliff”. Grand Betrayal works as well.

Can we do this? Can we coordinate some reframing? Yes, I think we can (heh).


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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