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Words: Zach Sanford, Photos: Tim Zimmerman
All of this Fiscal Cliff nonsense has our nations’ elected representatives acting like pensive snowboarders standing atop a relatively tame six-footer with a perfect and soft landing. Under normal circumstances these boarders would roll right off, maybe pop a bit or spin a twizzler. But it’s as though they’ve slid out of the trees after strapping up a zoot and taking on a massive stone, and then rolled up to this little drop… “You first brah.” “Nooooo duuuude, you.” “But I’m really high man.” “And so too am I… bro.” And so neither one does shit. The elephant and the fucking donkey each stoned to the point of monumental inefficiency and ultimate procrastination, presiding over what their misfiring neurons have fabricated as the cliff to end all cliffs.
Well, what if this cliff were indeed no cliff at all. In fact there were few rocky outcroppings to get snared up on, and that very little pop and speed were necessary to hit the landing, that you could almost inch out over it on your heel edge and just snuggle one down, that the cliff was indeed nothing but figment of a stoned and confused mind. Worse still, what if this fear, this seed of doubt about the most basic of snowboarding features was a trumped up implanted sort of fear. A manufactured type of bogus misinformed fear; as if a nefarious agent had dusted these shredders’ stony nuggets with it, before they were twisted in ultra thin Rizla papers (yes, those are the amazing silver ones) in the torrential winds of a high-speed quad.
Whilst our lawmakers tell us that if a deal is not reached by the first of the year, we’ll be swept over the cliff and our nation’s economic fate hangs in the balance, many well-educated commentators suggest that there is no such thing as the fiscal cliff. Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning New York Times columnist, tells us that instead what we’re really dealing with is an “austerity bomb”. We’ll think of this instead as an austerity bomb drop, the landing of which is flat, and concrete, and painful. What Krugman is saying is that the cliff is essentially an alarmist fallacy conjured up in order to impose upon the populace so-called austerity measures which will result in lower wages, unemployment, and a raising of the retirement age (which really can be thought of as a privatizing measure aiming to keep us all beholden to private insurance companies long after 65th birthdays, and the usual enrollment in government-run Medicare that our seniors currently enjoy). Following this logic then, the fiscal cliff is a mere distraction, or more boldly, a manufactured crisis, used to implement the coming austerity bomb[drop] for which Wall Street will be, according to some commentators, eternally grateful.
Asked in a recent Real News Network interview simply if we are going to go off the cliff, professor and economic historian Michael Hudson said, “Well there isn’t any cliff to go off, but for people who believe that a crisis is an opportunity, in order to get the opportunity to shift the taxes more onto the middle class, they have to call it a crisis. Of course, there’s no crisis at all.” As Hudson goes onto suggest, no immediate sweeping changes are needed. The better approach, rather than to become roped in by stony-eyed fear and clog-minded foolishness and stand gripped by apprehension atop an illusory cliff, is to say the hell with it, roll over that shit at speed, ideally switch; in fact, a cab 5 would suit the fiscal cliff well. We’ll land regular, all will remain in place, and onward we’ll go to deal with the nations’ economic future in the New Year, free from a climate of fear and anxiety.
And hey, they guy accidentally dropped a 351 ft cliff, so it could always be worse.