The very best thing that could happen for America is for the Super Committee to fail. To understand why I say that you need a little history.
In my new book, Outlaw Blues;Adventures in the Counter-culture Wars, I write about Walter Lippman helping President Woodrow Wilson “manufacture public consent” for the U.S. to enter World War I, “to make the world safe for democracy.”
Eric Alterman wrote about Lippmann as the precursor of much of our media manipulation of today: “Lippmann likened the average American-or ‘outsider,’ as he tellingly named him-to a ‘deaf spectator in the back row’ at a sporting event: ‘He does not know what is happening, why it is happening, what ought to happen,’ and ‘he lives in a world which he cannot see, does not understand and is unable to direct.’ In a description that may strike a familiar chord with anyone who watches cable news or listens to talk radio today, Lippmann assumed a public that ‘is slow to be aroused and quickly diverted . . . and is interested only when events have been melodramatized as a conflict’.” Thus began the culture war.
We are about to endure a Pentagon inspired propaganda campaign in the next month that will be an echo of Lippmann’s campaign of 1916. It will be triggered by the brilliant position, negotiated by Democrats during the debt ceiling crisis, that if the “Super Committee” was unable to reach a compromise by Thanksgiving, then an automatic “Sequester” would take place, cutting the Defense Budget by $600 Billion in the next ten years. Leon Panetta will be leading the charge against the Sequester for the Military Industrial Complex that views it as Armageddon for the gravy train they have been on since the Soviet Union tested an atomic bomb in 1949. Here is Panetta with the first big lie of this campaign.
“After every major conflict — World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the fall of the Soviet Union — what happened was that we ultimately hollowed out the force, largely by doing deep, across-the-board cuts that impacted on equipment, impacted on training, impacted on capability,” he said. “Whatever we do in confronting the challenges we face now on the fiscal side, we must not make that mistake.”
Here is the reality of defense spending.
The only time defense spending ever declined in real dollars (blue Line) was during the Clinton Administration, after the Soviet Union had dissolved. So as the economy got less “security oriented”in the 1990’s, a huge amount of innovation blossomed, seeded by government spending (the Internet, the microprocessor) from the 1970’s. This meant that as a percentage of GDP (red line) defense spending fell even more as the digital consumer economy boomed. Although the fall of military spending helped Clinton balance the budget for the first time in years, as soon as 9-11 happened, spending went through the roof
So here is the deal I want to make with all my Libertarian friends. Let’s make sure the Sequester goes through. If the latest polls are right 27% of Americans have a positive view of the Tea Party and 32% have a positive view of Occupy Wall Street. Since I doubt there is much overlap in these two cohorts, that would mean that almost 60% of the people are against the “establishment”–military, financial or political. Here is a place to man the barricades. Let Ron Paul and Barney Frank join forces to defeat any efforts by the Military Industrial puppets in the Congress to weasel out of the Sequester.