During this campaign, he’s ignored the evidence from Europe and elsewhere that austerity doesn’t work and hurts most of the people, most of the time. He’s also ignored all the polling data showing how Americans feel about Social Security,Medicare, and Medicaid. And he has moved slowly, deliberately, persistently, and in concert with allies outside the Administration like Peter G. Peterson, high-level Wall Street Executives, and MSM media personalities and journalists to create a consensus around the idea that “entitlement reform” is both inevitable and necessary for long-term fiscal sustainability. Finally, he has “negotiated” with Republicans during a series of “shock doctrine” crises to try to gradually implement austerity, while making sure that the Republicans, rather than his own party end up bearing the blame for the end result of austerity policies.
The results of the “cliff” negotiations have now set up a confluence of three events: the sequestration; the debt ceiling; and the CR; creating the occasion for the mother of all fiscal “shock doctrine” negotiations over the next three months. This confluence can be seen as an intentional emergence of the conflict between the Republicans and the “progressive” President Obama, or it can be seen as the result of a very long-term conservative campaign setting the stage for austerity, and a comprehensive attempt to weaken the social safety net.