Fiscal Cliff ... Whatta Meme!
Offers fly, but still no 'fiscal cliff' agreement ... Last-minute deal elusive despite GOP concessions ... Senate Negotiators Remain Short of a Fiscal Deal ... With hours to go, President Obama and Congress barreled toward the New Year's Day "fiscal cliff," trading last-minute offers and narrowing the range of options Sunday, but reaching no deal. "There's still significant distance between the two sides," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, announced Sunday evening, though he said there was still time to reach agreement by Monday's midnight deadline. "We intend to continue negotiations." Washington Times
Dominant Social Theme: These negotiations are critical for the health of the Republic.
Free-Market Analysis: We have noticed that one way to establish the primacy of government is to create endless crises and then let the mainstream media go to work. Every day there will be new articles, new reports, new deliberations.
People read the newspapers every day and begin to understand that there is no other way for the world to work. The Fiscal Cliff controversy is one of these manufactured crises. The endless sovereign debt crisis in Europe is another. The players come and go but the importance of government is endlessly reaffirmed.
As the Washington Times article tells us, "The fiscal cliff is the combination of across-the-board tax increases due Tuesday, followed a day later by $110 billion in automatic spending cuts imposed as a result of last year's deal to raise the debt ceiling."
Of course, the Fiscal Cliff negotiations could be resolved at any time. But chances are they will not be finished until the very last moment and even then the results will satisfy no one.
But a larger point will have been made. There is a process and it is not one to which you are invited. Always, a handful of people are getting together to decide the fate of the world. Always, these tense negotiations are being reported by "sources" close to the action.
But you are not close to the action. You are a watcher. You have no influence over these events. The entire process, in our view, is designed to reinforce your sense of being a bystander. Here's some more from the article:
Talks were so broken at one point Sunday that the top Republican negotiator, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, bypassed Mr. Reid to speak directly with Vice President Joseph R. Biden.
The blockade seemed to lift somewhat when Republicans dropped their demand to change Social Security's cost-of-living adjustment formula, and both sides traded offers on the income level at which taxpayers will see an income-tax rate increase and debated what other incentives would be included.
"You can't win an argument that has Social Security for seniors versus taxes for the rich. So we need to take it off the table," Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, said in explaining why the party decided to forgo demands for entitlement reform.
A deal would have to clear not only the Senate, but also the House, where conservative Republicans hold sway.
In the absence of an agreement, Senate Democrats were preparing to force a vote Monday on their own fallback solution, which would raise taxes on families making more than $250,000, would extend unemployment benefits and could include other party priorities.
But that legislation is unlikely to reach Mr. Obama's desk, leaving a small window for a deal that could rescue millions of taxpayers from rate increases.
We can see from this reporting how the narrative is structured. There are no caveats, no explaining how these people assumed or accumulated power. The process assumes their legitimacy.
And yet ... one could point out that there are significant doubts about both the process and the players. The president himself has been subject to extensive reports that he is not who he says he is. He won't release any school records, for instance, and various reports claim his birth records are forged.
But one could go down the list of participants and discover questions about all of them. The media won't do this, of course. It will simply present them as one presents actors in a script. The drama is important, not the individuals.
By the time you read this, perhaps the negotiations will have reached an end and the Fiscal Cliff will have been successfully surmounted. But you may be sure that soon government officials will discover another crisis, and then another and another.
The point is not to create a resolution but simply to impress on voters how important and necessary the process is. The power elite that wants to run the world counts on this. Without government, there's no possibility of mercantilism. And without mercantilism there's no running the world behind the scenes.
In reality, there is no resolving the larger problems of the US, which have to do with promises to citizens in excess of US$100 trillion. But that's not the point. We're supposed to be transfixed by drama, reaffirming to us once more that there is no other option than Leviathan's regulatory democracy.
Conclusion: Of course, there is but we are not supposed to consider it. That's the real point.