Of Cat Food and Class Warfare

Perusing the Shock Doctrine  proposals of the Cat Food Commission, I have to say I’m not surprised, but I do question their rather unseemly honesty.  That’s not the way these people usually operate.  Throwing caution to the four winds, they start right out by saying that reducing taxes is much more important than cutting the deficit, and boldly establish a third-worldish, arbitrary ratio of 21% government spending to GDP, as though such a thing were Holy Writ, rather than some right-wing masturbatory fantasy.  Then they blandly declare that in their proposed Utopia military spending will remain at its current highs even as the richest people will have their taxes further lowered from the current 35% to a mere 23%, which sounds to me like a whole lot of people are going to get royally screwed, and of course they are.  Trouble is, everyone except the superrich will suffer, some greatly, from this scam, which might, just might, enliven the other 99% of us to utter an uncharacteristic peep of disapproval, although I’m not holding my breath.  Welcome to the post Citizens (!) United world.

Back in the Gilded Age, that other time when Robber Barons ruled the world, even the barons themselves were often reticent about pushing their selfish interests so nakedly in the political realm; the Trusts liked to quietly buy legislators, one at a time, and work their will where the rabble couldn’t see.  Sadly, just as the old idea of  a somewhat guilty noblesse oblige that led Andrew Carnegie to build his libraries and  Rockefeller  to rebuild Williamsburg has completely evaporated under the relentless Fox News heatlamps of “I’ve got mine,”  rich people, even in the face of widespread economic misery, just come right out and ask for everyone else to sacrifice for the greater glory and comfort of, well, themselves, and as luck would have it, everyone in the media, including Mrs. Alan Greenspan, the cocktailhag also known as Andrea Mitchell, agrees.

Cat food for seniors, early deaths for the poor, and a starvation diet for lower-income workers are all familiar “ideals” the rich have been proposing since the dawn of time, but in our Foxified media environment, these perennial top-down shakedowns have now been joined by elimination of the mortgage interest deduction and the deduction for health care benefits on the chopping block, and place every non-billionaire in America in line for a big hit, and this cockamamie concoction is somehow seen as a prudent move to revive what still remains of our consumer-driven economy.  Turning on the TV today, with a few notable exceptions, leaves one with the inescapable notion that Marie Antoinette’s only mistake was being born too early, and worse, in that commie France, where Rupert Murdoch has so far failed to establish an influential monopoly.  As unemployment stubbornly lingers at near Depression levels and millions of newly struggling Americans lose their homes, the wealthy spend lavishly to buy public offices, offering only more “sacrifices” to their inferiors, and this counterintuitive strategy actually works, thanks to a greedy and clueless media that makes it all possible.

That the very idea of making older people work until 70 even when there are no jobs and keeping our ruinously expensive military unscathed while virtually eliminating all comparatively beneficial domestic spending, meanwhile cutting taxes for people who have enough money to buy the government, and clearly have, seems to the media elite to be even close to legitimate is a searing indictment on the American political system.  Yet such a blatant money grab is seen as “serious” policy.

Serious like a heart attack, unless, of course, you’re Dick Cheney, for whom even heart attacks are but small, taxpayer-funded bumps in the always-widening road to full plutocracy.  If ever there were an argument for real income redistribution, from the top down for a change, it would be the yammerings of the Cat Food Commission.  Rich Americans not only have too much money, but they also have too much time on their hands.  (funny how the two seem to so often go hand in hand…).  They ought to do something both crazy and decidedly unfamiliar and, say, get jobs, and leave the rest of us alone.  When pigs fly.


  1. michlib says:

    Seems Pete Peterson likes the visual of America becoming a third world state so much he wants to hit the accelerator. Cut out the middleman – you’re on your own ship ! These folks are quite content to replace the safety net with a drain – and charge us for the septic clean-up. How “rich” .

  2. cocktailhag says:

    Surprisingly, this whole thing hasn’t gone over as swimmingly as you’d think. That’s at least sort of good news.

  3. daphne says:

    It’s not only “a searing indictment of the American political system,” it’s a scathing indictment of human nature. Some of us, however, have the consciences and the decency to overcome such primal urges.

  4. retzilian says:

    If I read my major constituency correctly (the elderly), it will be a cold day in hell when any party cuts their SS. Absurd. The only possible change to SS will be raising the retirement age, which I assume is a given for our generation. We will have to make it til 69 until we start to collect full benefits and Medicare. If there are no real jobs for us til then, oh well. Live in a cardboard box.

    Incidentally, today is my birthday, and like a little kid, I tell everyone. My second daughter came up from Cincinnati for the weekend, I don’t have to work today for a change (I often have to work Saturdays), and it’s going to be sunny and 65 degrees in the land of Cleve. So, it’s a great day. All are invited out to dinner with us tonight. heh.

  5. mikeinportc says:

    Happy Birthday Retz. :)

    and it’s going to be sunny and 65 degrees in the land of Cleve.

    & the bearer of good news too!
    ( Usually get your used weather, a day or two later . )

    I would expect that they wouldn’t touch the already retired’s $ in any up front way . Too many votes there, with people who have the time to indulge their anger . Us? & Younger? Probably another story. I’d guess a 3, or 4-tiered strategy. Divide-and-conquer is an age-old winning strategy . This came up in discussion at work on Thursday, with a 20-something wondering why SS is even necessary, or dsirable .( That’s the “kooky” Leftist, anti-imperialist speaking, btw.) Seems as though the propaganda has worked, as he other 2 young’uns, & a 40+ Beckian ( who knows GB is nuts, “but still…”) seemed to concur .

    CH , did you see also that they suggest the corporate rate drop to 26%? It should work wonders with the deficeit, eh? It will! It will! Why don’t you believe? We all need that!

    The AP story( usually ~ worthless) suggests that the Pentagon will be taking a big hit too. Why don’t I believe that? ;)

    • cocktailhag says:

      I also noticed in today’s NYT that eliminating the mortgage interest deduction is now mainstream, too. (They used the phony logic that it goes mostly to the rich, which is true, but that it doesn’t increase home ownership, which is doubtful) Little Friskies, here we come!
      Remember back in the liberal old days when Bush made it almost a moral issue that no one should be taxed more than a third? Now they’ve bumped that down to a quarter, with sacrifices for everyone else. Sheesh.

  6. meremark says:

    Old Simpson is rattlin’ sabers again, bumping his gums to hear his jaw squeak — eat worms and die already, I say, back in Wyoming, stoic and silently. Ol’ Bowles, Erskin: where’d they unembalm him from? probably some kind of nod to Hillary. Anyway anyway, none of it is going anywhere no how because they can’t get the 14-vote ‘quorum’ required for Commission consensus, release of the paper ‘findings,’ by the end of November.

    That’s why the totally bogus ‘pre-release’ ‘leak’ ‘bombshell’ ‘distraction’ news conference upstaging Obama-in-Asia news. Gawd, Simpson, gag. Besides, (if they were to ‘report out’ a report now), none of whatever nifty budget thriftiness they publish has ANYthing to do with this lame duck Session, which has its own matters to focus on — TAX the RICH. Whatever Simpy & Bowels puts out should be ignored until February, at the earliest.


    CH, I like your harkening “Back in the Gilded Age.” Great minds apparently synchronize. This from Mr. Rich, Frank, in his Sunday column:

    As “Winner-Take-All Politics” documents, America has been busy “building a bridge to the 19th century” — that is, to a new Gilded Age.

    … in which (column) he is touting that book, with its thoughtful statistics you haven’t heard, being covered up by poopypants politicos and hate-talk broadcasters.

    – in burying Bush ‘Billionaire Tax Relief,’ only 2% of ALL who report ANY ‘small-business income’ would pay more, (2% of 1-out-of-20 filers who are the over-$200,000 bracket), i.e., one-thousandth of all tax payers

    – surveys show 2 -to- 1 Americans AGAINST Bush ‘Billionaire Tax Relief’

    – in the low part of the upper bracket — those (‘small business’) incomes $200,000 to $500,000 — with Bush ‘Billionaire Relief’ (if) re-enacted, the ‘relief’ averages a piddling $700; which The Rightwing Propaganda says can go to hire new ‘small business’ employees with, and rebuild The Economy.

    Here’s the link, but there’s trouble getting through the NYTimes marketing mesh set to snare your ‘identity’ … or buying habits.


    • cocktailhag says:

      I read that. I’m thinking that we ought to set up some new brackets, going all the way up to the 91% of the Eisenhower era. No human is worth more than, say $5 million a year, and if they don’t get that, Uncle Sam needs to wise them up. That kind of absurd money makes certain types of icky people think that they’re really a thousand or so times better than other people, and behave accordingly, as we’ve seen. Furthermore, it rips off everybody else, from subordinates to stockholders to customers, who are needed to make the money in the first place, although they all pretend otherwise.

  7. Ché Pasa says:

    This is just more of the Revolt of the Rich. cf: France under Louis XV.

    What got me was that despite the fact that the Co-Chairs’ Power Point was a “surprise” to all and sundry, the rollout of the propaganda in support was immediate and universal. Good heavens to Betsy! Everyone on the Tube was singing its praises, except for icky people like Pelosi and who cares about her anymore anyways?

    Come on y’all! Shared Sacrifice! Who could object to that!

    To the barricades, people. To the barricades.