Political Animal


December 26, 2012 9:34 AM Just a Few Shopping Days Left Until the Fiscal Whatever

By Ed Kilgore

As of today, December 26, the maneuverings over various legislative tripwires scheduled to be crossed on January 1 have reached that quintessentially Washingtonian point where reality becomes fully Kabuki-ized.

Congress is coming back tomorrow despite the absence of any significant progress in fiscal talks since Speaker Boehner’s failure to round up enough votes from his own Caucus for his own “Plan B” proposal. The President is also returning to DC touting a smaller bargain that on first blush appears even less likely to overcome conservative opposition.

In the background, of course, are business “analysts” who are deciding whether to stake their reputations on repeating earlier predictions that the world as we know it would end absent a big fiscal deal before January 1. There’s also talk that bargain-hunting could cushion stock market drops attributable to entirely artificial panic over the “fiscal cliff.”

If you share the view of many progressives that this whole crisis was largely contrived to produce a fiscal agreement closer to what we might have expected had Mitt Romney won on November 6, the next few days could represent a fascinating experiment in the willingness of the “investor class” to degrade its own financial assets in order to achieve its preferred public policies. There is no objective reason for the kind of market hysteria that has repeatedly been threatened. So if it breaks out, it should be viewed at least partially as a political exercise rather than as a market reaction to political failure.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on December 26, 2012 10:07 AM:

    Well, the rich and powerful have seen markets rise, fall, and rise again.
    So, they can take a temporary hit to accomplish what they want.
    The market will rise again.

    Of course, our Nihilist Republicans won't do a thing to help the country.
    Even now, that China has lowered the US credit rating:

    If we go off this molehill, aka: "Fiscal Cliff," so be it.
    The damage is already starting, so I'm urging the President and the Democrats not to throw the bodies of seniors, children, the sick, and handicapped, to the followers of the God, Mammon, who wants all of the money.

    Just like with terrorists, you can't negotiate with Nihilists.
    They, like terrorists, live for anarchy.
    Don't give it to them.
    If there's going to be anarchy, make sure they earn it. And make sure everyone knows, who wanted the anarchy in the first place - Conservatives, and Republicans.

  • Rick B on December 26, 2012 10:59 AM:

    If someone has enough wealth they can take a short-term loss to drive those with less wealth out of the market. Then when the market comes back later only the survivors profit, but profit they do.

    The thing is, this is not about wealth and profit. This is about the wealthy gaining direct political power over their nemesis - the federal government. Wealth accrues to power. Power, then, builds both greater power and wealth. That's a normal reaction in a market economy.

    This whole conservative "game" is about taking power from the federal government and shifting it back to the holders of great wealth. The wealthy families like the the Koch's together with many vastly overpaid top executives in big banks and monopolistic large companies want the fictional "fictional cliff" to frighten the public into giving them more power over all of us.

    This is still the counter-FDR revolution being played out.

  • Ron Byers on December 26, 2012 11:01 AM:

    I notice retail sales are way down this holiday season. I wonder if consumers have pulled back in anticipation of the coming Tea Party recession.

  • Ron Byers on December 26, 2012 11:05 AM:

    Ed, I just received notification of a threat from your site. Apparently one of your advertizers is pushing something AVG doesn't like.

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