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Obama, the democrats, and the upcoming election

August 8, 2010

I just threw away my primary mail in ballot here in Boulder, Colorado.  I can’t quite see the purpose of choosing which democrat should have the honor of not representing me.  My feelings are certainly similar to many.  It’s an amazing thing to behold – the collapse of what initially appeared to be a new progressive movement.  We were all fooled.

I see the overriding problem as one of vision.  Neither Obama nor any other democrat has provided a strategic vision on how the struggling American worker can overcome the massive insecurity caused by modern globalized capitalism.  Not only is real unemployment over 16%, but nearly all employed Americans face the risk of outsourcing or job loss from the ever faster pace of job reducing technology.  He / she is forced to compete against billions of foreign workers who are paid just pennies on the hour.  The American worker is unable to save for retirement since the wage is barely sufficient, if that, to make ends meet.  Health care is the most expensive in the world and a job loss puts the worker at huge risk of ending up with no coverage.  In sum, the American worker has probably never been in worse shape.

In the face of these massive insecurities what does Obama propose to do?  As best I can judge, it’s something like this:

1) No major additional stimulus beyond a few token extensions of unemployment.  Even here, he has not pushed too hard.  There is no mention of a jobs program.

2) Sneaky silent support for the concept of cutting social security.  The deficit commission members appointed by Obama are all in favor of cuts.  Obama is hiding behind the commission which doesn’t report until after the election.  There’s also sneaky support from many democrats for a consumption tax – i.e. a further reduction in living standards for working Americans.

3) Passing a health care reform that incredibly doesn’t even take effect until two years after the next presidential election.  It’s also a gift to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries that is justifiably open to attack from those on the right.  (I do think it’s better than nothing, though.)

4) Expanding domestic surveillance beyond what was approved by the Bush administration.  The security state that is being created poses a serious risk to freedom.

5) Expanding the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  There’s no geo-strategic change in this administration from the long post war history of American overseas adventures.

Domestically, Obama’s policies appear far closer to Hoover than Roosevelt.  In foreign policy, maybe closer to Truman – i.e. active and pro military.  There’s no progressive vision in this White House, it stands for nothing beyond status quo neo-liberalism, and it should not be supported.

From → Dynamics, Suppression

6 Comments
  1. Howard permalink

    One thing I don’t blame Obama for is the coming cuts to Social Security. That was locked in from the very beginning. Ida May Fuller contributing $22 and receiving $20k should’ve been a big ‘ol clue bat.

  2. Can’t agree with you there. What’s the bottom line: the majority of workers don’t make enough to save for retirement. Social security resulted in a sharp decline in poverty levels for seniors. Do we want a society where a huge number of old people are on the streets? I think any shortfall in financing should be handled through taxes on wealth.

  3. Howard permalink

    To me, the problem is how SS has been sold. I’m told that 15% of my income IS being saved for my retirement, when it’s actually being used to fund my parent’s retirement. NTTAWWT, necessarily, but I don’t like being lied to. Agree that some older people need to be taken care of, but I also dislike that in many cases, it’s not that people couldn’t save for retirement, it’s that they didn’t. Instead of the brand-new Suburban, buy a used station wagon. Instead of building a new 3,000 sf house, buy an existing 1800 sf one. And of course, instead of putting your excess income up your nose, in your arm, in the local barkeep’s pocket, put it in the bank. If I’m assured all that has happened, I’m all for the social safety net. There are many in society needing and deserving of compassion and help. I’d like to see a system whereby they were helped without being used simply as political fodder, which is all too often the case.

    Taxes on wealth of course go back to our last convo. How do you prove an individual’s level of wealth? Inevitably, there will be exceptions and loopholes, and who will write those rules? Why, our swells in the Congress and their buddies in the executive agencies, of course, ably assisted by their corporate sponsors. Who, also, have faced no distress over our economic situation; indeed, are seeing boom times.

  4. FJ Jackson permalink

    Howard makes some interesting comments–better put than the standard talking points of the folks-who-would-destroy Social Security, maybe from someone who has heard those points.

    But saying you’re paying for your parents retirement like that is like saying, “gee, I thought when I bought insurance I was paying in case I had an accident. I didn’t think it would be paid out if _someone else_ had an accident.”

    Please see dailyhowler.com for the most telling truths in the Social Security ‘debate.’ Hint: there is plenty of money for Social Security. Saying ‘it’s been spent,’ or ‘it’s all on paper,’ or ‘it’s only IOUs,’ is the same as saying US government bonds are worthless.

    But of course that’s all propaganda.

    And if they touch Social Security, it will be theft, pure and simple. We had a deal.

  5. FJ Jackson permalink

    Sorry, I meant to mention this site is very interesting, with more insight than the standard spin.

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