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The "Fix" Is In: Laying Bare Some Sequester Lies

Tuesday, 26 February 2013 09:11 By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed
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Chris Cillizza, writer of The Fix for The Washington Post, speaking at the Miller Center, May 18, 2012.Chris Cillizza, writer of "The Fix" for The Washington Post, speaking at the Miller Center, May 18, 2012. (Photo: Miller Center)With the sequester ax trembling over the neck of the nation, everyone in the "news" media seems desperate to toss their two cents into the well...including, apparently, some who would be wise to remain in the children's pool, lest they drown trying to stroke out to deeper waters. Enter Chris Cillizza, keeper of "The Fix," perhaps the most useless corner of the Washington Post next to the ink that publication sadly donates to the incoherencies of Jennifer Rubin.

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Mr. Cillizza's "Fix" is the Post's failed-hipster answer to those who enjoy the vacuity of horse-race politics. For reasons passing understanding, the powers-that-be at the Post gave Cillizza an outlet to explain - ever without basis beyond his own dubious lights - who's up, who's down, who won, or lost, in any particular political situation. "The Fix" is a triumph of flash over substance, written with wanna-be-clever insider snark for those in DC who still think the internet isn't a real thing yet. Plainly put, Cillizza, as a journalist, is taken about as seriously as the vapid quislings who wait around red carpets to make fun of celebrities' outfits.

This is why Cillizza's article on Monday morning was so remarkable. The guy tasked to make obnoxious judgments on the surface of politics somehow won the chance to dabble in the depths and the details, and came off exactly as one would expect: like someone living in a bubble who would not get the point if it was nailed to his forehead.

For the record: the sequester, slated to take place on Friday, is a series of massive cuts to both the defense industry and the social contract, created as a hard deadline by a pack of Washington politicians who decided they could not get anything done unless they put calamity on their doorstep...but now that calamity is here, eager idiots like Cillizza have been stepping up to argue that the evisceration of the Federal budget is not actually a big deal. Hence, the article titled "Why We Need the Sequester" made its odious debut.

In it, Cillizza takes on the apparently-offensive poll numbers stating that Americans - gasp - enjoy the goods and services provided to them by the government they've been funding with tax revenues, and in nearly every instance want those services expanded. His take:

What those numbers make clear is that most people live in a fantasy world where overall federal spending decreases even as spending on virtually every federal program increases. Given that "reality", it's uniquely possible that only through crisis - manufactured or not - will people come to grips with the fundamental paradox at the center of their thinking of what the federal government should or shouldn't do.

Ermahgerd, what do we do? According to Cillizza, the American people are a pack of indolent, greedy layabouts living in a "fantasy" world where the social services they've paid for are not affordable.

Hm.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which costs around $400 billion, was recently globally grounded due to a crack in an engine fin, a new reason among many others why no one wants this plane to begin with, yet it keeps getting built. The V-22 Osprey has been killing Marines for years now, yet it also keeps getting built, to the tune of $35 billion.

Cancel these two "defense" programs that don't work and are not wanted by the service branches expected to use them, and...gosh. That's $435 billion we just saved, along with the lives of any number of servicemembers.

Two programs.

$435,000,000,000.00

Cillizza's "fundamental paradox" about what government can and cannot afford is seated firmly in the Beltway-insider lingo of what is, and is not, off limits...and "defense" spending clearly falls into the former category. Like many others, he lives in the DC bubble, and gets paid to not write about what is most important. It's a hell of a gig if you can get it, and has been making otherwise-useless writers like Cillizza rich for decades.

For the rest of us common mortals, who expect a return on our investment, we want government to help people with the money we give via taxes, as the poll numbers Cillizza condemns clearly indicate.

We are told by grifters like Cilliza that we can't have the Post Office, or decent health care, or Social Security, or Medicare, or Medicaid, and must eat cuts upon cuts to basic services because "we can't afford them." Fact: anyone who writes that crap is lying to us with their bare face hanging out, and is deliberately avoiding discussion of where most of our tax money winds up getting squandered.

We can fund the civilized society our citizens demonstrably approve of if we make some cuts to the biggest, fattest, happiest "welfare queen" on the block: the Department of "Defense."

And in the meantime, we can leave the horse-race politics to cheap fixers like Chris Cillizza, who should probably spend less time with people who think like him and more time with, well...people.

Just a thought.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

William Rivers Pitt

William Rivers Pitt is Truthout's senior editor and lead columnist. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

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