Not missing a beat, CNBC launches next assault on “entitlements”

Who would have guessed that CNBC could round up so many US CEOs who hate the fiscal cliff deal because it doesn’t cut enough?

The pampered class has done quite well in the last decade, including their runaway spending on military adventures and excessive tax cuts for the rich. But they still want more. CNBC:

“It doesn’t work talking to the politicians, obviously,” former Wells [Fargo] CEO Kovacevich said. “What we’ve got to do is educate the American public that our country is going to hell.”….

“I think this deal’s a disaster,” said Peter Huntsman, chief executive of chemical producer Huntsman Corp.

“We’re just living in a fantasy land. We’re borrowing more and more money. This did absolutely nothing to address the fundamental issue of the debt cliff.”

No, the country isn’t going to hell because of Social Security and Medicare, Dick. It’s going to hell because of CEO ingrates who had no problem seeking government handouts to keep their companies afloat in 2008 and 2009 – and who didn’t say boo about the GOP’s multiple budget-busting tax cuts and wars – but now suddenly they’re just besides themselves about “borrowing.” You want to see “going to hell,” look in a mirror, Dick.

Rich 1%

Rich via Shutterstock

Since the “fiscal cliff” marketing effort went so well for CNBC, they already know which CEOs to put in front of a microphone, and which fake groups (like Erskine Bowles’ Fix The Debt) to involve. What CNBC fails to point out is that the loudmouths who all want cuts now have lived quite comfortably from government money in the past, and still aren’t willing to pay their fair share in taxes, be they Starbucks or Blankfein.

Wells Fargo, for example, accepted $25 billion of TARP money. They were in such bad shape they struggled to buy back their shares from the feds, leading some to suggest they did not have any spare cash. Then there’s the free money courtesy of the Federal Reserve. But now that granny needs Medicare, or the middle class needs the Social Security that they paid for all of these years out of their hard-earned paychecks (you bet we feel “entitled” to something we already paid for), tough luck. Wells Fargo got theirs, so everyone else can buzz off.

Everyone in Washington needs to get serious about taking away “entitlements,” because that’s the real problem — uh huh. Forget about those foreign adventures that never end, the defense spending that towers above what other countries spend, the corporate tax rates that allow GE to pay 0%, the personal tax system that allows Mitt Romney to pay less than 14% (if that).  Sure, the system that the middle class desperately needs is costly. And so was bailing out the 1% when they needed it.  And we did.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • Ford Prefect

    Revolutions are not made. They happen. In the case of Russia, the Bolshies ended up on top in the end, but they didn’t “make” the revolution happen. Everyone from peasants to the bourgeoisie made it happen. It took about 20-30 years for people to get to that point. Then it just happened.

  • cole3244

    believe me it took more than criminals and their thugs to overthrow russia, it took the masses anger at the system to accomplish that as it takes generally when a govt or system gets out of control and we are headed in that direction.

  • Sweetie

    I’m not so sure it was the “masses” who revolted in Russia. Stalin and his men, for instance, were organized criminals who robbed banks to fund their activities.

  • Sweetie

    Moulitsas showed his true colors when he called Howard Dean a lunatic for saying the health bill needed to have a public option. Progressive in name only.

  • jjdpro media production

    @uck! these CEO’s!!!

  • Naja pallida

    Boehner re-elected as Speaker. So now he gets a chance to beat his record of “leading” the most feckless Congress in US history.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Probably all of the GOP-controlled states that went Blue in 2012 would be my guess.

  • cole3244

    america if it continues on the current path will be just like czarist russia with the ruling class and the peasants, if that happens the result will be the same as the masses get angry enough that they take back the nation through a violent revolution and replace democracy with who knows what, the only way to defeat a powerful nation is from within and we are on that path to destruction of the american dream as the political class fiddles.

  • Ford Prefect

    That’s excellent!

    It seems Augusto Pinochet is alive and well in the US. A ghost that keeps haunting us from afar. Why, even Barack Obama just signed off (again) on Indefinite Detention, which is something Pinochet codified in Chile in 1973, when he declared all of Chile to be a “battlefield.”

    Since Chile is in a post-Pinochet period and the US is in a Neo-Pinochet renaissance, perhaps Chile might be a safer place to live?

  • Ford Prefect

    Of course, there has to be a way of gaming it even further! Hadn’t thought of that. I guess I’m just not cynical enough.

  • Ford Prefect

    I don’t think anyone really knows. Or if they do, they sure aren’t sayin’. Global GDP is something like $72 Trillion and the last estimate of the derivatives “market” I saw was about $700 Trillion. That’s more than enough to undo most societies on the planet, by financially “bombing us back to the stone age.”

  • Naja pallida

    ThinkProgress, TPM, and DKos have all covered ALEC in the past, at least on specific issues. I don’t read JMG so not sure about them. HuffPo sold out the first chance it got, so I have no idea what kind of politics is behind their postings anymore. This blog has covered them in passing, but hasn’t spent much direct focus on them as an organization. Which I find odd, because ALEC has been among the groups trying to codify anti-gay discrimination into the corporate workplace.

  • Ford Prefect

    Well, the evidence is in the content, methinks. One key theme in both parties agit-prop is distraction (like a magician performing a card trick). For Dems, that means bombarding audiences with content that waves aggrieved fingers at Republicans while ignoring the awful things Democrats are doing. That’s the predominate theme at OFATV (MSNBC), for example. The meetings and such merely provide a confirmation of sorts.

    That technique is as old as Bernays and it’s a cornerstone in both parties propaganda playbooks. The only real difference with the Dem agit-prop is that it has the advantage of more Truthiness. But the technique is the same.

    The fact is, the evidence is all around. The mere fact that Dem apparatchiks can bemoan GOP efforts at slashing Social Security while their own party leadership is in fact leading that charge is the best current example. It’s simply not an honest way of presenting the issue or the facts surrounding the issue. It’s crass manipulation that relies on the audience’s tendency to make snap judgments on the basis of incomplete information. Just an endless campaign of “button-pushing” that keeps the proles in line.

    Yes, we have almost-instant comms. But we also have almost-instant manipulation of the facts, which often makes it harder for people to make distinctions. And when those muddying up the discourse have such massive resources at hand and can even make them look “grassroots,” it’s easy for them to collude and get away with it. The advantage goes to those who control the news cycle and already have a small mountain of agit-prop to go with it…. assuming the “news” isn’t pure disinformation in the first place, which is often the case.

    Unity in message is the first clue. Especially when the “message” serves no real purpose in informing people, but rather to disinform them.

  • nicho
  • Drew2u

    Not necessarily. Scott Walker in Wisconsin is open to the idea of apportioning the EC votes along Assembly District lines, which now heavily favor Republicans due to the gerrymandered map in 2010.

  • Ford Prefect

    Theoretically, if all states apportioned, it would be a wash, since it would only mean EVs go to candidates in proportion to the popular vote. If only Blue States do it, that’s a net gain for Cracker Nation. If only Red States did it, it would be a net gain for Neo-Liberal Democrats (since that’s the only kind that will be allowed a serious campaign coffer).

    The best thing, of course, would be to abolish the EC. It’s only purpose is to further entrench hegemonic power. It diminishes democracy and always has.

  • Drew2u

    Just how much is the derivatives bubble worth when it pops? $1.3Q?

  • Drew2u

    Even taking aside those blogs/commentors, and even TYT, we are still in an age of almost instant-communication and sharing of facts, ideas, opinions, etc. And in this forum there is no way to find out how the apparent collusion is taking place and how the perpetrators are culpable?

  • Ford Prefect

    Good point. ALEC is the current outrage du jour (and justly so), but it’s more of a symptom than the disease. The Democratic apparat has its own outlets, with their own funding and a fairly unified communications strategy. HuffPo ought not to be considered “progressive media,” since they are now a part of a global media conglomerate. And besides, Arianna Huffington was also a very aggressive Republican for many years. Her opeds back in the day used to make me rather nauseous with her violent disdain for “little people.”

    Prog “elites” like Kos, Maddow, et al get to have private, off-the-record meetings at the White House. If they aren’t actually “bought,” they are certainly co-opted. But chances are those folks are really just Neo-Liberals at heart (Kos was a Republican originally, as was John Cole and several other “leading lights” of the prog-blog scene). No doubt they prefer the “good cop” image of Dem Neo-Libs to the soulless hatred of their former comrades. But in the end, they still support a toxic policy regime and package it in very dishonest terms.

    But in the end, this is what it means to be a “party hack.” They are cogs in the Party machine, delivering their goods to their audiences at the behest of those who will certainly aid in their career prospects down the road. That, by the way, is as old as the sun.

  • Drew2u

    The thing I’m wanting to keep an eye on for between now and the next presidential election is how many states try to enact Electoral College vote apportioning.

  • Drew2u

    It may be new, but as I’ve frustratingly heard echoed on news stations about waiting to the last minute on everything about the fiscal cliff and filibustering almost everything noncontroversial, there’s a new normal so how is my generation supposed to recognize the difference?

  • Drew2u

    That only goes so far, though. What about this blog? JMG? DailyKos? ThinkProgress? TPM? HuffPo? That other blog that tv news likes to pretend is a news site instead of opinionated blustering (I forget what it’s called)? You can’t tell me all of these outlets are ALEC-owned, as well.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    No, as Nicho says, this is new. I’ve been voting since 1981, and followed politics even earlier though my precocious teens and childhood. I don’t think I’ve ever seen before such an active repudiation of the bedrock principles of democracy and active collusion to roll back every single social progress law passed in the last century.

    Just 20 years ago, the GOP would not even hint that they planned to cut Social Security or Medicare benefits. Now? They (and their Democratic quisling enablers) are busting unions, talking about repealing the minimum wage, reinstating child labor, rolling back women’s rights, and much more.

    It didn’t used to be normal. But it’s become the new normal.

  • Ford Prefect

    Yes, but note that NYT front page piece also heralded Latvia (and the other dystopian states) as “on the path to recovery,” which is essentially declaring a Neo-Liberal victory. IOW, the elites see mass migration as a Feature, not a Bug. No word on how 10% of Latvia’s population is faring since being essentially forced to leave their own homes, though the Editors seem quite confident of their happiness to be abroad.

    There are other nations who have used migration as a means of lowering the unemployment rate. In the Americas, Mexico pops up first, since that’s been their policy for a solid half-century or so. This is why the Mexican government is so angry with our crackdown on their migrants. They don’t want to provide them with a living wage, so they prefer they come here and send money back home. I’m not anti-immigrant at all, by the way, but that’s the institutional preference of that government and the US was quite happy to oblige until recently. Millions of exploitable people are quite popular with those who own capital.

    Of course, for the US to have the kind of “success” (per the NYT) Latvia is enjoying, we’ll have to kick 20 million people or so out of the country. No word yet on where the American Disapora is supposed to go. Any takers out there? Canada? No? Bueller?!

  • nicho

    I was reading yesterday about how Canada is poised to fall — due to the same causes the US suffered from. Today, I was reading how Latvia is in dire straits — to the point where people, especially young people, are leaving in droves. They have a serious population decline as a result of the manufactured crisis. We all know the stories of Spain and Greece. Portugal too, but it’s hardly mentioned any more. Iceland (where things aren’t as rosy as some sources would have you believe). Ireland. England is in trouble. And on and on and on.

  • nicho

    I don’t remember such collusion between state bills before. Is that normal?

    No, this is something completely new — and I’m an old codger. My first presidential vote was for LBJ. This assault on the country is a new device.

  • Ford Prefect

    Yes. And thanks to the Fiscal Grift, they all made off with massive taxpayer subsidies (GE alone got $3 Billion), so helping out with the Class War is the very least they can do. After all, less money for common people means more money for them.

    They’re not just ALEC contributors. They’re also major funders of BOTH parties. MSNBC is essentially OFATV, after all.

  • Naja pallida

    Why isn’t a bigger story? Because News Corp (that owns Fox), General Electric (that owns NBC), Time Warner (that owns CNN), are all major ALEC contributors. Among hundreds of other large corporations that pervade our every day lives. There was some push back earlier last year that caused a few companies to jump ship from ALEC, but not nearly enough to even put a tiny dent in their anti-American agenda.

  • Ford Prefect

    And yet none dare call it Dystopia.

    It’s not enough that the middle and lower orders have to cough up $12 a piece to make sure our corporate overlords get subsidy-enhanced profit margins. No, we have to finish them off altogether, just to make the 1%-ers more comfortable in their persons.

    Nicho is right. The war is almost over. The anti-social propaganda will continue until the Debt Limit Kabuki reaches its pique in a couple months. Then we’ll find out just how much damage they’re going to do to us.

    I received a call from the DCCC yesterday. My interlocutor told me I have to “have Obama’s back.” I asked, “Why? He wants me to die early in poverty, most likely while trying to live under a highway overpass. Why would I have his back for such an agenda, when all he really wants is to destroy the standard of living in this country? Since when do Democrats think dystopia is somehow a good way forward? Because it would be nice if they were simply plain about that.”

    He then changed the subject, explaining that they had some debt they had to get rid of, so I suggested they go to their Number One funder, Goldman Sachs, and have them bundle all that debt into worthless derivatives. I pointed out they could make a fortune doing that.” He laughingly agreed.

    I mean, who made the loans in the first place? He couldn’t say. I’m guessing it was TBTF banks, so why not have them write off the loans and deduct them from their generous tax allowances?

    But no, we’re supposed to “have their backs” instead. Wankers.

  • Drew2u

    So why isn’t it a bigger story than, apparently nothing, that a handful of the corporate aristocracy are personally controlling dozens of state legislatures and deciding on the fate of millions?

    I know in Minnesota there’s mary kiffmeyer who routinely attends ALEC functions (and boy does it sound like she gets a sweet ride for selling out the state).

  • Naja pallida

    ALEC has been quite successful in getting state governments to fall in line.

  • Drew2u

    What bothers me is the legislative coup in the states. For the past few years there’s been an almost simultaneous introduction and attempted passage of bills across states that’s basically the exact same thing, only with the name of the state changed; including but not limited to: the way abortion is being criminalized, the way unions are being destroyed, the way maps have been gerrymandered, and the way votes are being suppressed.
    Example: It’s one thing to say, “Oh, there are a lot of abortion bills out there”, it’s another thing entirely when a lot of the bills in a short time span include, as Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, a transvaginal ultrasound. Now that’s getting VERY specific.

    Now I’m a young’un, John Kerry was my first presidential vote, but I don’t remember such collusion between state bills before. Is that normal?

  • bkmn

    I see a parallel between the chattering class on CNBC and the upper class on Downton Abbey. Change is coming and they don’t like it or understand it.

  • nicho

    This is World War Three, whether you want to admit it or not. Actually, it’s almost over. The bad guys are winning. Look around the world. What we’re seeing here is being repeated in country after country. This is no accident. It was planned.

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