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Fixing the Economy, a New Focus for Congress | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Fixing the Economy, a New Focus for Congress

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

The Perils of Pauline melodrama over the “fiscal cliff” will drag on as Washington heads toward another “debt ceiling” faceoff that will climax over the next eight weeks or so.

This farce captivates the media, but no one should be fooled. This is largely a debate about how much damage will be done to the economic recovery and who will bear the pain. There is bipartisan consensus that the tax hikes and spending cuts that Congress and the White House piled up to build the so-called fiscal cliff are too painful and will drive the economy into a recession. So the folderol is about what mix of taxes and spending cuts they can agree on that won’t be as harsh.

Largely missing is any discussion of how to fix the economy, to make it work for working people once more. Just sustaining the faltering recovery won’t get it done. We’re still struggling with mass unemployment, declining wages and worsening inequality. Corporate profits now capture an all-time record percentage of the economy; workers’ wages have hit an all-time low. A little constriction, or a lot, won’t do anything to change that reality.

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

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