Voices from Russia

Sunday, 10 March 2013

A View from Moscow by Valentin Zorin… Republicans in Congress Won’t Allow Steps to Stop the Sequester

00 Paul Ryan. Politics. 08.12


Americans hoped until the last moment that the US government would save them from the threat hanging over the US economy, but it didn’t happen. The crisis that’s loomed over the US economy is now reality. After fruitless attempts to secure cooperation from the US Congress to cut the budget deficit, President Obama imposed across-the-board cuts. By presidential order, budget cuts will slash spending by 1.2 trillion dollars (37 trillion Roubles. 920 billion Euros. 800 billion UK Pounds). This will spell major disaster for millions of Americans. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be out of work, still hundreds of thousands more will lose their medical coverage and social benefits. Schools and day-care centres will close, which will see teachers swell the ranks of the unemployed. Job cuts amongst air traffic controllers will upset normal air travel and the public won’t be able to take tours of the White House. Sadly, this doesn’t exhaust the list of evils due to fall on the heads of ordinary Americans.

The reason for such extraordinary measures was a crippling 17 trillion USD (525 trillion Roubles. 13 trillion Euros. 11.4 trillion UK Pounds) federal government debt and an annually-increasing budget deficit. This disproportionately-huge debt and the government’s annually repeated failure to keep within budgetary limits is largely the result of excessive military spending. Once the Republican administration of George W Bush took office in 2001, it resumed the arms race that ended with the conclusion of the Cold War. Immediately, growing debt replaced deficit-free budgets. By the time that Barack Obama arrived in the White House, the debt had mounted to 13 trillion USD (400 trillion Roubles. 10 trillion Euros. 8.7 trillion UK Pounds). Nevertheless, the arms race didn’t stop. As military spending in Fiscal Year 2013 exceeded 630 billion USD (19.5 trillion Roubles. 500 billion Euros. 425 billion UK Pounds), the US federal debt continues to increase. According to the US Department of the Treasury, the US federal debt may hit a whopping 19 trillion USD (586 trillion Roubles. 14.6 trillion Euros. 12.75 trillion UK Pounds) in the foreseeable future.

However, the US government will do everything possible to mitigate the effects of sequestration. In a search for a solution to this situation, President Obama put forward a plan of far-reaching savings, including the abolition of the substantial Bush tax breaks for major corporations and the richest individuals. Given that large corporations and the “Billionaires Club” account for the bulk of national wealth and yearly revenues, this Democratic proposal was bound to ease the growing US federal debt, if not help the ailing US economy.

However, Obama had no such luck. The Republican-dominated Congress continued to dig in its heels obstinately. Negotiations lasted for many weeks. The President tried to reason with them, he even offered concessions to them, and he sometimes blustered, but nothing worked. The debate continued literally until the last minute, until, on the night of 1 March, President Obama ordered a compulsory reduction in government spending by 85 billion USD (2.6 trillion Roubles. 65 billion Euros. 57 billion UK Pounds), the consequences of which are hard to foresee at present. In its present configuration, the US Congress is mostly an élitist club of ultra-right conservatives, which makes it unable to express the interests that benefit the greater American society. Now, congressmen approve exorbitant military spending, launch unlawful bills like the Magnitsky Act, and doggedly stick to Cold War stereotypes. Big Business interests dictated the budget sequester provoked by the US Congress; as many of the lawmakers take its money, ergo, they serve its ends. In addition, it runs counter to US national interests; it may have serious consequences for the welfare of the USA and for the global economy. Apparently, it looks like those who consider themselves the American national élite couldn’t care less.

zorin_v9 March 2013

Valentin Zorin

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

Let’s keep it simple. American war expenditures are 46 percent of the world total. If we cut it in half, it’d still dwarf the next-nearest rival (the PRC) by THREE TIMES. Most of this money is either spent on pointless adventuring in foreign parts or its outright boodle and corruption (the US Congress is well-known for having been a world-class champion in graft since the time of Mark Twain). For instance, the USA spends BILLIONS on “private for-profit armed corporations” to guard convoys and facilities in combat zones; we should be using regular troops to do so (regular troops are more disciplined and accountable than private mercenaries are… but the US government uses mercs to avoid the political fallout from having to reinstitute conscription in a time of “war”).

The American national interest would be best-served by the defence of the maritime lines of communications of the so-called Anglosphere (USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand), which would require a ocean defence belt based on the GIUK GapBritish home islandsGibraltarAzores line in the Atlantic zone and the AleutiansGuamAustralia line in the Pacific zone. The only Continental navies that have bases outside of the GIUK Gap/English Channel choke-points are France, Spain, and Portugal (all American allies at present). Note well that the Anglosphere home defence isn’t based on the army, as is so on the Continent or in Russia, China, and India, but on the navy. That is, NATO is completely irrelevant to American home defence… the wars on the Asian mainland only knackered the US economy (as General Omar Bradley famously put it, it was “the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong enemy“)… they didn’t add one whit to American national security. The only thing that the Bush Wars did was to transfer an obscene amount of dengi to the already-rich.

In short, the Republican drive for global hegemony, to make the world safe for unrestrained corporate profit, provoked and precipitated the current financial crisis. After all, grounded people know that you don’t go to war and CUT taxes (that is, the Republicans increased war spending exponentially, but cut the revenue flow to pay for it… DELIBERATELY). That’s what the Republican Party did… such reckless and notional foolishness had the inevitable result; it crashed the economy. Reflect on this… the Right stands for personal gain above all else… that means that they’re unpatriotic to the bone, and that they’re grasping cretins. Ironic, ain’t it… those who wrap themselves up the most in the flag are the least patriotic. Don’t forget, Willy Romney was an unrepentant draft dodger and Paul Ryan refused to serve in the forces. In the end, most leftists are more patriotic… but the corporate media says otherwise. Whom do YOU believe? Do you believe what the corporate media tells you, who owe their well-compensated jobs to toeing the “party line” of the plutocrats, or, do you believe the reality that’s in front of your face? Do choose well…



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