While the political prank behind news reports that General Electric had decided to pay all its taxes was quickly uncovered, a much greater fraud continues undetected.
Behind the GE prank was a group of political satirists and activists who call themselves the Yes Men. But it’s the nation’s major media that’s really earned that name with its relentless unquestioning hype of deficit hysteria and the need for harsh cuts to social programs.
Anointing only those politicians willing to consider the most severe cuts as the most serious, the major media haven’t questioned who’s behind this austerity agenda, and who will profit from it: Wall Street.
It’s the same crowd that sold the politicians and the public on the benefits of financial deregulation in the 80s, and then scared the country into providing Wall Street with a no-questions asked bailout. We all know how that worked out for the rest of us.
Who would fall for their snake oil a second time without closer examination? The real yes men just keep out churning out the Wall Street-induced hysteria with a straight face. When regular folks insist they're more concerned with unemployment and foreclosures than they are with the deficit, the real yes men just tut-tut.
The little people will never understand.
For Wall Street and its political enablers, the austerity agenda hoax is a just a Trojan horse to carry them to their real goals: crippling government’s ability to regulate and keeping taxes low for the wealthiest Americans.
The financial industry plays the two teams off each other: Republicans claim the Democrats aren’t man enough to make real cuts, while Democrats argue we should go along with their version of austerity to avoid the Tea Party’s lunatic extremes.
After caving in and extending the Bush era tax cuts last year, President Obama has recently talked about sprinkling increased taxes for the wealthiest among the cutbacks on the poor and middle class. But so far in his presidency he has shown little stomach to fight for even his own positions when they encounter resistance from either Wall Street or Republicans.
One of the most bizarre aspects of the continuing hoax is the respect given to the credit rating agencies, which have been justly chastised, but so far escaped prosecution, for their irresponsible antics in the financial collapse. They have about as much credibility as the recently junked color-coded terror alerts.
Now we have credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s, which never raised alarms about toxic mortgage securities, and slept through the both the budget-busting Bush tax cuts and the Obama extension, throwing the stock market into conniptions over the deficit.
It’s not just a coincidence. The ratings agencies are bought and paid for by servants of Wall Street. They know that Wall Street was reaping big short-term profits off the mortgage securities, and favors tax cuts for the rich. They also know Wall Street favors government-crippling budget cuts.
Just how long will the real Wall Street, its servants and cronies get away with this ruse?