Welcome to the Third World, campers.
Here we'll learn just how it feels to be economically marginalized. I somehow missed this the other day when Jon Schwarz posted this on his A Tiny Revolution blog. I don't know how that happened, but DOTOF™ to Avedon for the reminder:
There's been a common phenomenon in the third world over the past three decades or so. A country's financial sector, in collaboration with the larger financial world, would create some type of gigantic economic fuck up. The IMF would then (in collaboration with the local financial elites) step in and provide loans in return for what was called "structural adjustment." Structural adjustment involved getting rid of any kind of social spending that made life bearable for everyone else.Whenever ANYBODY ever talks about 'reforming Entitlements' (Pete Peterson's whole schtick), it ALWAYS means the advocates of reform are advocating reducing benefits and services and raising costs to users.
In other words, the country's financial elites would use the catastrophes they'd created themselves in order to do what they'd always wanted to but couldn't get away with in normal times. They took the profit, and then imposed all the costs on everyone else. (Sound familiar? Ed.)
I've long believed U.S. elites would attempt to do this for America as soon as they had the opportunity. Here's Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner today at the Council on Foreign Relations having a jolly laugh with moderator and investment banker Roger Altman about the process now getting under way—all thanks to propaganda assistance from investment banking billionaire Pete Peterson.
For those without a decoder ring, "everyone" being a fiscal hawk means that due to the current financial disaster, they'll soon be coming after Social Security and Medicare:GEITHNER: Of course, we are all fiscal hawks now because of Pete Peterson. (Laughter.) There are no doves left on the fiscal side. (Laughter.)Yes, the coming massacre of American lives will be quite funny indeed. (Laughter.)
ALTMAN: And he deserves credit for that.