As of this writing, talks are continuing between congressional Republicans and the White House on the eve of the so-called “fiscal cliff.” It is not clear whether an agreement will be reached over the next few days, or if the manufactured crisis atmosphere will continue into the New Year. What is clear, however, is the overall direction of US social policy and the fact that the real target of both sides in the Washington debate is the working class.
It is necessary to demystify the whole process, which is characterized by an extraordinary level of posturing and lies, behind which is concealed a conspiracy against the American people.
The “fiscal cliff” is an artificially erected deadline, laid down as part of previous negotiations and aimed at creating the conditions for implementing unpopular measures that previously would have been considered politically impossible.
If Washington “goes over the cliff,” the impact will be felt most directly by working people, including tax increases that will effectively cut take-home pay for workers by 7 percent and the immediate elimination of unemployment insurance for 2 million long-term jobless, followed soon after by the cutoff of benefits for another 1 million people. Federal workers will face unpaid furloughs, and essential social programs, from energy assistance to child nutrition to education grants, will be hit with across-the-board cuts.
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