Van Jones said not so long ago: “If we want to fix the economy, the first thing we got to do is repeal the Bush tax cuts and pull back our military expenditures to Clinton level expenditures.” The first corrective action one takes does not have to be a vanguard one, but it is clear that President Obama's second term requires an understanding of the stakes for labor and capital, ones greater than those at the Clinton levels. Critical analyses might require interrogating the problem of how the base economy depends on the superstructure’s contractual complicity in coordinating industries that have regional impacts and cultural effects. In the case of the Fiscal Cliff(FC), a critical political economic analysis of the defense sector and its associated practices including procurement pork-barreling can give us some small insights on the fictive, yet dimensional nature of the capital and labor involved. The myth of the cliff metaphor functions as though lemmings were at risk. But as with everything "we have entered the house of language and the doors are closing behind us".
For those requiring a summary:
“The “fiscal cliff’, however, is an invented term applied by politicians to the date various temporary legislative changes to the country’s tax code and spending policy take effect. Politicians began instituting temporary tax cuts with the intention of later transforming them into permanent law in the 1990s. According to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report, this practice exploded during the George W. Bush administration and was accompanied by budget gimmickry to hide their affect on the federal deficit. The Bush era tax cuts, known respectively as the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, are at the center of the storm that is raging around the “fiscal cliff’. The legislation, which was set to expire in 2010 but was extended to 2012, significantly reduced rates on income, estate and dividends and capital gains taxes and exemptions. After the sunset of the Bush era tax cuts, estate and gift tax exemptions will end raising the tax rates on transferred estates over $1 million to 55%. Long-term capital gains taxes will rise from its current rate of 15% to 20%. The tax bracket for the country’s wealthiest citizens will rise from the current 35% to 39.6%. In other words, the tax code will largely return to the rates that were in place prior to the George W. Bush administration.”
The Myth of the Fiscal Cliff: Another False Apocalypse (h/t Jonathan Turley)
For our purposes here, the cliff is more like a speed bump because the funding for defense will continue with little effect because of the contractual aspects of procurement that occur in a spatial and temporal context.
For their part, some defense contractor executives are now making it a point to stress that sequestration, if a fiscal cliff deal isn’t reached by Jan. 1, would be less of a “guillotine” than a “speed bump.” That’s long been the view of military analysts. “The fiscal cliff metaphor just isn’t accurate,” says Todd Harrison, senior fellow in the Defense Budget Studies program at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington. “It’s more of a slope – but it is a slippery slope.” Moreover, sequestration does not apply to cases in which defense companies are working now on vehicles and weapons contracts that have already been obligated. “That’s an important point, because if you’re a defense contractor, whatever you’re working on now is something that has already been obligated, and that will continue until the money runs out,” Mr. Harrison says. “There won’t be any immediate impact on Jan. 2.”
Christian Science Monitor
The Fiscal Cliff is largely such a speed bump in the ever-self-correcting however badly managed capitalist economy, given that it has all the sausage of policy problems derived from trying to constrain one form of the ideological state apparatus (the legislative branch budget power) with another more materially destructive institution like the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). Without rehearsing what others have contributed, I want to make a small point on the spatial analysis of the FC with respect to the defense industry if only to make a point concerning the regulation of the firearms industry and citizens. The subsequently mediated cultural effects that produce calls for citizen disarmament illustrate a false consciousness that show that political power (can) grow out of the barrel of a gun, real and digitally imagined because of a lack of awareness of armaments production, or its application abroad. Yet militarization whether domestic or international will continue unabated; an FC agreement will be made, compromises will be achieved, and the continuing path of exploitation and stagnant growth will run through the first quarter(s) of the Second term. Recent domestic historical spectacles of violence have obscured the necessary path to global demilitarization which cannot be called at any moment world peace. Another diarist came to this spatial contradiction recently.
But of course in a country which cares so little for however much collateral damage we inflict on innocent civilians with drone strikes, so long as none of our boys and girls get hurt, it's hard to expect that emotional pain visited on Afghani non-combatants counts for much in the American scheme of things. We have a national melt down over twenty dead school children in Connecticut. Twenty dead Pakistani school children lost to a drone strike not so much. It's who we are. It's about us. Always about us. Little brown people on the other side of the world are beyond our awareness. I don't have to like it, but that's how it is.
We value things that seem closer to us but as its says in our cars’ right hand mirrors: “objects closer may appear larger than they are”. As it is with tragedy, the proportion of its causes are disproportionate to its scale. Self-defense and self-determination must be bravely seen in their globalized context with a constant goal of nonviolence and choose the appropriate targets for regulation whether individual products or entire industries, tempering social costs with social justice. Please follow me below the orange squiggle to view exceptionally grim(m) triggers for more moral hazards.