What fiscal cliff?

Taken from a Dec. 11 audio column at prisonradio.org.

From every TV and radio news broadcast, the words “fiscal cliff” are being mentioned, in a tone and frequency of dread and fear.

Listeners, viewers and readers can sense the dread and faux fear, but little clarity arises from the dust.

What is the fiscal cliff?

It is a political creation — made by Congress itself, as a self-made rule to force agreement (but really to blackmail political opponents), or else massive cuts will be automatically made in defense, social services and other government programs.

In the Mel Brooks-made cowboy comedy “Blazing Saddles,” a Black sheriff moseys into town to the shock and surprise of the white townspeople. When things get ugly, the sheriff, played by actor Cleavon Little (1939-1992), pulls out his Colt .45 and points it at himself, warning them to get back, or else he’ll shoot.

The fiscal cliff? It’s “Blazing Saddles.”

But it’s no comedy.

As Workers World’s Larry Holmes sees it, this so-called “fiscal cliff” is a recent political invention designed to erect an American austerity program — cutbacks in social services so that more money could be sucked up by the ruling 1%.

Holmes, in remarks made to a recent Workers World party conference, made the following analysis:

“We are going to hear a lot about the so-called ‘fiscal cliff.’ It is worldwide austerity. In Greece, in Spain, in Portugal, in Ireland, in South Africa, all throughout Latin America and here in the U.S. From the point of view of the capitalists, the idea is to fix their system on the backs of the workers. They can’t get it from profits because of overproduction, so let’s just go literally into the body of the workers and get more pounds of flesh by stealing things from them. It is a mad, insane exercise in destruction, social destruction. It really should be called ‘the terminal crisis-of-capitalism cliff.’” (workers.org)

In sum, this is economic warfare parading as a political conflict between two capitalist parties. It is a self-made squabble among brothers.

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