March 30, 2011
Immediately after the 2010 election President Obama went to Senator McConnell and Rep. John Boehner to make a “deal.” He abandoned the Democratic principles against tax cuts for the rich (saying he was held “hostage”) and gave a 2% payroll tax cuts in social security taxes without even a whimper. The graph on the left of the top of this page shows the effective federal tax rates of the richest Americans versus the “median” income Americans since 1955. Obama claimed he was giving a tax cut for the rest of us while setting up the social security system for attack by the right wing since we were collecting less money in the system. The Republicans set up a “Trojan Horse” folks for the attack on the Social Security System and the President accepted it.
Then in February this year, Obama went to the Chamber of Commerce who had spent 10′s of millions of dollars against him in the election and apologized for not bringing them a fruit cake early in his administration. He also offered to sell the services and products of corporations overseas to every place he visited. He invited their representatives to key positions in the White House, including Bill Daley (Chief of Staff), Gene Sperling (Economic Advisor) and Jeffrey Immelt (CEO of GE) as “Jobs” advisor.
Immelt has managed to find ways for GE to pay no income tax, get bailouts for his financial services division, and export huge numbers of jobs to China. “The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.” What a role model for job creation, huh? Robert Scheer at the Nation Magazine has written an excellent article on Immelt and should be read by everyone. These new staff people have intimate ties with Wall Street, the Chamber of Commerce and corporations. This comes after Obama’s strong commitment earlier to end White House lobbying and the revolving door.
And there are those in the Democratic Party who will not hold him accountable for ANYTHING, finding it convenient to blame everyone else. Haven’t they heard of the “bully pulpit”? Don’t they know anything of leadership qualities? President Obama’s behaviors and actions should be sharply contrasted with those of FDR in the midst of a long depression: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nuElu-ipTQ&NR=1
But the prospects for “quick” economic recovery are a fantasy given the present policies and direction by either political party. “The chickens have come home to roost” and we are left with John Boehner’s chicken crap. In this discussion on Democracy Now Jacob Hacker explains the fundamental problem of income/wealth inequalities. There is no evidence that Congress or President Obama is willing to address these issues today. It is like an enormous cancerous tumor continuing to grow and hardly anyone in political office is willing to address it. It has been quite interesting to watch this theater of the absurd and at the same time be studying charts of the “recovery” for the past two years. The chart at the left of the page (click to enlarge) shows job recovery from the depths of the recent depression. By historical standards job recovery is almost nil with few prospects for anything different in the next two years or more. In the meantime, the stock market and earnings by corporations are again approaching their highs at the beginning of the crash as this second chart shows. Putting the two charts together show that corporations have nearly completely recovered with at least 6 million fewer jobs! And yet the Corporatists (corporate fascists) keep claiming that Obama has been “anti business”? What a crock of crap but it works for them to keep screaming, doesn’t it? And when was the last time President Obama said anything about the enormous inequities in wealth and income that existed even before he took office?
It’s like the bank robbers of old who create a distraction at the end of town (like a fire) and then rob the bank in the middle of town in pure daylight. Obama and many Democrats run down to the end of the street to see what is going on with the fire. When Obama finds the fire was only a brush fire, he declares there is nothing to worry about and goes back to his office to exclaim the economy is still recovering. The continued stupidity or ignorance that exists never ceases to amaze me. It’s the biggest con job, by far, ever witnessed by mankind. The scam works so well and is so easy to keep going that it makes one wonder who Obama works for, huh? Of course, Wall Street only pays huge bonuses don’t they? So, Mr. President, Pete Seeger and I ask: Which Side Are You On? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iAIM02kv0g&feature=related
These kinds of “distractions” fit quite well into Naomi Klein’s observations in her book, the “Shock Doctrine, the Rise of Disaster Capitalism” and I can’t wait to see what she has to say about the current crises. They provide an opportunity for the Corporatists to continue their complete take-over of every aspect of our government. We also have the events in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, Maine, Arizona, etc. where Republican Fascist Governors are attacking collective bargaining and the middle class, Obama had previously said he would “march” with those involved in collective bargaining but when time came to show up, he essentially said he had no “shoes.” Members of the national Democratic Party, except Rep. Kucinich of OH, totally ignored the extraordinary courage shown by state Democratic leaders from legislatures. Jon Stewart of the Daily Show describes the “comedic, idiotic” actions of these governors on March 24.
The FACT is that President Obama is letting the domestic economy decay while he is “fiddling” to the business sector. We also have to cope with his international affairs agenda, specifically the war economy. Instead of ending wars in Iraq and Afhanistan where 100′s of billions are spent, he has expanded the war in the latter with no end in sight. And we have no idea what is really happening in Libya but we are spending about one billion dollars per month with no end in sight. The FACT is that our international interventions are all about OIL folks. It has been and it always will be and the claims of a humanitarian cause only apply where oil and terrorists are located. The FACT is that Jimmy Carter wisely cautioned about dependence on oil imports in 1979 and we have ignored that. The FACT is that we have a stupid, dysfunctional government provided to us by a two party system both of which are controlled by a Corporatist system which only desires profit and greed. The FACT is that we have allowed that to exist and expand. And the FACT will be that if we don’t change that we have only ourselves to blame.
Obama and the Democratic Party are continuing to demonstrate that they will do nothing to change that. Tim Kaine, Chairman of the Democratic Party, has been shown to be totally incompetent or totally co-opted by the Corporatists, too. He proved his incompetence during the 2010 elections but that should qualify him to run for the Senate seat in VA, shouldn’t it? Robert Reich wrote an excellent blog on March 23 in which he suggested that Obama and the Democrats are “caving” in to everything the Republicans demand. Reich is being very kind to the President when he says: “To his credit, President Obama argued against Republican demands for extending the Bush tax cut for those making more than a quarter million. But as soon as Republicans pushed back he caved. And the President hasn’t even mentioned that the $61 billion Republicans are demanding in budget cuts this fiscal year is what richer Americans would have paid in taxes had he not caved.” In his post today, March 30, Reich suggests that with the increase in oil prices, decreasing prices of homes and sharp decline in consumer confidence we are headed toward a double dip recession. He laments, as do I, that NO ONE in Washington will be honest about what is really going on in the economy!
If there is any one here reading this post and thinks it is “partisan” let me try to dispel that thought. President Obama loudly explained during the 2010 campaign when he made a “deal” with McConnell and Boehner that he was buying a car that had run into a ditch (the economy). I complained vehemently at the time that this used car was a very bad deal. So I ask you today, would you buy a used, wrecked car from McConnell or Boehner? The FACT is that the Corporatists have totally taken over the Republican Party.
The Tea Party, with a commitment to street action, made a difference. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the right reasons or causes and they were corrupted by the same sources that caused the problem–the Corporatists. So let’s commit ourselves to Democracy again (a democratic republic ) and let’s do it for the right reasons, huh? Leonard Cohen has it exactly right in this inspirational challenge/mission if you wish you accept it! And you must do that if you want to save this Republic.