The Monitor takes a closer look at the supposed deadlock over the debt ceiling (and the deal that was made to ‘avert a crisis’) and recent events in Norway. This week’s guests are Richard Wolff and Vijay Prashad
Wolff said today: “This is theater. This is political theater in which the two parties are posturing for the election coming next year, using this occasion — to put it in perspective, the number of times the government has raised the debt ceiling since 1940: 90, almost twice a year. This is a normal, automatic procedure. … Republicans basically decided to make theater, to run their campaign a little early this year, and to slow it all down and make a big to-do.”
He added: “The Democrats have said, ‘We will do massive cuts. They just won’t be as massive as the Republicans want.’ And then they will appeal to the American people in the hope that Americans will choose the lesser evil: the Democrats who won’t cut so terribly compared to the Republicans. … There are a number of things that are not on the table. And frankly, I’m amazed that the president refers to what he does as a ‘balanced approach. … First of all, the war and its enormous costs, off the table in any serious way. Going back to a serious taxation of corporations and of the rich in America, just, for example, at the scale that they were taxed in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, off the table.”
Wolff is author of the book “Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It.” He is professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and currently a visiting professor in the Graduate Program for International Affairs at the New School University in New York City. http://www.capitalismhitsthefan.com
Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of eleven books, most recently The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World (2007). Two of his books, Karma of Brown Folk (2000) and Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting (2002), were chosen by the Village Voice as books of the year. The Darker Nations was chosen as the Best Nonfiction book by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in 2008 and it won the Muzaffar Ahmed Book Award in 2009.
He just wrote the piece “Palestine’s Norwegians: Marxist-Multiculturalists for BDS” in which he says: “The press might be obsessed by their ‘lone gun-man’ theory. They see things in the police’s terms, which is to say, in terms of who actually acted, and who provided material support for the action. The action in Utøya was not the act of a madman, and it was not a human tragedy. It was an act of political murder against people who had committed themselves to a convivial world not only for their beloved Norway, but also for those who live under Occupation elsewhere.”