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Mark Udall, Colorado senator for austerity

November 29, 2011

Mark Udall is Colorado’s senior Democratic senator.  Who does he represent?  His obsession with balanced budgets and deficits makes it clear it’s not the average Coloradan.  His core constituency is nothing other than the valueless forces of austerity, hard money, financial orthodoxy, wealth, and business.  Udall, along with his equally sinister senatorial brother Michael Bennet, is an excellent example of what’s wrong with the Democratic Party and why it’s so out of favor with working class Americans.

Udall is an avid supporter of the bi-partisan attack on working families known as Bowles-Simpson.  Here’s a blurb from his website:

The truth is we have the right pieces in place for a successful debt-reduction plan, one that will not stifle much-needed job creation. The bipartisan Bowles-Simpson plan (named after the commission recently led by a Democrat and Republican) is a balanced deficit-reduction proposal that will make tough spending cuts, raise some new revenues, and shore up Medicare and Social Security…  (I) call for the Senate to pass both the Bowles-Simpson deficit-reduction plan, and a smart and effective balanced budget amendment.

Let’s recall that Bowles-Simpson demands $4 trillion in federal spending cuts through 2020, limits future federal spending to 21% of GDP, sharply reduces social security benefits, cuts medicare, and regressively increases gas taxes, all while actually reducing individual and corporate tax rates.   An amazing attack on the values of widespread prosperity that are at the very heart of the Occupy movements sweeping his state and the country.  But even this radical document is insufficient for Udall; we also need a balanced budget amendment.

Mark Udall is a typical valueless status-quo politician within our valueless socioeconomic system.  Prosperity for his constituents isn’t his starting point, his core is the cold inhuman logic of capitalist accounting around which all must bend.  At a time of massive productive capacity, he blindly accepts the need for unending unemployment and rising old age insecurity, accompanied of course by record low taxation.  It’s not because we lack resources, we have plenty.  Udallian austerity is necessary because he can’t somehow find enough “revenue” within a fiat currency regime fully capable of creating as many dollars as needed.

Udall, along with most of his party, is strangely antagonistic to the growing populism of our times.  Against rising global demands for far greater equality, Udall positions himself solidly alongside the undemocratic forces of conservatism;  aligning himself with Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats, mainstream economists, central bankers, and the bond markets.

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From → Colorado, US

6 Comments
  1. Dave permalink

    Unfortunately, Jim, I think the “average” Coloradan does believe in fiscal conservatism. I don’t think Udall believes in it, but makes a political calculation to support balanced budgets to head off a Republican challenge. The unfortunate thing is that he’s not willing to step up and tell Coloradans the truth.

  2. Hi Dave,

    I think you make a good point about fiscal conservatism. Who knows what Udall actually believes, I suppose it doesn’t make too much difference being that his public persona is austerity. Coloradans may be fiscally conservative on average but they’re strongly against cuts in social security and medicare and favor higher tax rates on high incomes. Yet Udall is pushing strongly in the opposite direction.

    It’s no wonder fiscal conservatism is a common belief given the indoctrination of Democratic politicians, the business media, and the mainstream economists, sadly including the crop who trace their lineage to Keynes.

  3. kacomess permalink

    Perhaps he’s not all bad. See below, which I have excerpted from a Salon.com article by Glenn Greenwald:

    The Senate just voted 37-61 against an amendment, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, that would have stripped the Levin/McCain section from the bill: in other words, Levin/McCain garnered one more vote than the 60 needed to stave off a filibuster. Every GOP Senator (except Rand Paul and Mark Kirk) voted against the Udall amendment, while just enough Democrats – 16 in total — joined the GOP to ensure passage of Levin/McCain. That includes such progressive stalwarts as Debbie Stabenow, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeanne Shaheen and its lead sponsor, Carl Levin.

    I’ve described this little scam before as “Villain Rotation”: “They always have a handful of Democratic Senators announce that they will be the ones to deviate this time from the ostensible party position and impede success, but the designated Villain constantly shifts, so the Party itself can claim it supports these measures while an always-changing handful of their members invariably prevent it.” This has happened with countless votes that are supposed manifestations of right-wing radicalism but that pass because an always-changing roster of Democrats ensure they have the support needed. So here is the Democratic Party — led by its senior progressive National Security expert, Carl Levin, and joined by just enough of its members — joining the GOP to ensure that this bill passes, and that the U.S. Government remains vested with War on Terror powers and even expands that war in some critical respects.

  4. Hello Kacomess,

    yes. Udall is on the correct side on this issue. It’s a scary bill and a very bad omen on where we’re headed.

    • kacomess permalink

      Yes, that’s true but not from exalted motives, I’m afraid. Here is additional information on his decision (excerpted from the same article I referenced, above):

      “Even Democratic opponents of the bill, such as Mark Udall, have couched their opposition in these Executive Power arguments: that it’s better for National Security if the CIA, the Pentagon and the DOJ decides what is done with Terrorists, not Congress. In other words, the debate has entailed very little discussion of whether these powers are dangerous or Constitutional, and has instead focused almost entirely on which of Our Nation’s Strong National Security Experts should make these decisions (one of the few exceptions to this is Rand Paul, who, continuing in his New-Russ-Feingold role on these issues, passionately argued why these powers are such a menace to basic Constitutional guarantees). In sum, the debate is over who in the National Security Priesthood should get to decide which accused Terrorist suspects are denied due process, not whether they should be.”

      –Keith

  5. Good feedback Keith and not at all surprising.

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