If you want to understand the source of the world's problems, follow the Davos coverage by CNN and Bloomberg News for a few days. Not only will they tell you what the source is, they'll prove that your instincts are right about billionaires and those who present them as the arbiters of all things fair and right.
Davos is the annual billionaires' conclave where they network, get their message straight, gladhand hungry politicians, and try to determine our fate. Ladies and gentlemen, our problem isn't what the billionaires think it is. Our problem is the billionaires.
Last year, the billionaires were obsessing on income inequality. Following the Occupy protests, they saw it as a source of instability and actually, for a short moment, thought it might be something they should try to solve. At least, that's how our corporate media spun it for us. This year, nary a peep out of them about income inequality. No, this year was all fearmongering over the US budget deficit and the European debt crisis.
Donohue on deficits and cuts
Ali Velshi spoke to US Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue on Friday about his solutions to the deficit problem. After the requisite hand-wringing about unemployment rates in Europe which have come about largely because the billionaires forced austerity on Greece, Spain and Italy, Donohue turned to the United States budget deficit, where he drew a distinction between European austerity and American austerity measures.
Donohue explained that American austerity measures involve "the spending that is automatic and that is entitlements -- Social Security a little bit, but primarily Medicare -- and it goes up, up, up."
Is Donohue suggesting that on that basis, it's not really austerity because it's cuts to necessities, so people will pay with or without the social safety net. Really?
We all know better, and we also know that health care spending has decreased during this recession. Not because costs have decreased, but because people are foregoing health care in order to save money. So sure, billionaires, take aim at the two government programs reaching the most people and doing the most good. That makes a ton of sense, right?
Donohue insists that longer life expectancies require lawmakers to "turn the curve down." I will let you speculate on how cutting Medicare might affect life expectancies, and whether that's what Donohue means by turning the curve down.
Keep in mind, this comes from a guy who was paid nearly $5 million dollars in salary in 2010 from a trade organization that spends millions to elect wingnuts to Congress. What the heck does he know about what that "small" Social Security cut and larger Medicare cut would do to anyone?
Donohue: Fracking is our future
All is not lost, peasants. Tom Donohue has the answer to our economic woes. All we need to do, according to the God of Commerce, is open federal lands and frack the hell out of them. Really. Here is his claim, verbatim:
Fracking, for example, has created 1.75 million jobs in less than two years. There's billions and billions of dollars going to the states and the federal coffers. We have more energy than anybody in the world and, if we, in an environmentally friendly way, acquire it, go on the federal lands, do it in the right way, we'll get that extra piece of cash and bring manufacturing and jobs back to the United States or create them in the United States because of our energy.
In laymen's English, Donohue's constituents -- the Kochs, the Hunts, and other Texas oil barons -- see the answer to our economic woes as being pretty simple. Sell federal lands to them, let them frack the heck out of it (in an environmentally friendly way, of course -- cough), and there will be more jobs than the eye can see!
Speaking strictly for me, I'd prefer to leave my children and grandchildren with pristine, unpolluted, unmarred federal lands and find a different way to build the economy, but Donohue does reveal the center of the conflict between the Obama administration and the
robber oil barons of the 21st century. Earlier in the interview, Donohue whined that the president was going to tackle climate change using his regulatory authority specifically with regard to the EPA and said the US Chamber was going to have to "work on that."
Oil oligarchs are struggling to remain relevant even as the rest of the world realizes oil dependency is a national security and economic danger we must mitigate, not celebrate. Donohue is simply the oligarchs' public relations mouthpiece.
Perhaps the Chamber minions in the House could pass a few more bills abolishing the EPA? That might work. Or not.
I trust that this year's billionaire boys' concerns will not be overlooked like last year's were. After all, income inequality is only a problem for as long as the minions cry out about it. Deficits and debt, on the other hand, are a real opportunity for wealth building at the expense of the peasants who were in the streets not that long before.
This is why I loathe Davos and all of the breathless celebrity reporting around it. The financial reporters practically scream like teenagers whenever a billionaire breathes, much less says anything substantive. Davos and the coverage surrounding it are meant to remind everyone that we serve at the pleasure of the oligarchs.
Transcript follows below the fold, courtesy of CNN: