Barack Obama is a fraud
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice…
We’ve had two years now of President Obama and I think it’s reasonable to say we have a pretty good idea where he stands on the ideological spectrum. We can know somebody by the company they keep and names like Summers, Geitner, Volcker, Bowles, Simpson, Dimon, and Immelt paint a pretty clear picture. The economy’s performance provides further confirmation of the neo-liberal, Hooverian character of this administration. Officially measured unemployment when Obama took office was 7.8%, it’s now 8.8%; the more accurate U6 measure was 14% in January, 2009 and now sits at 15.7%.
Except for his initial stimulus, he’s done exactly nothing of substance to attack what is the highest priority of the nation. He’s utterly failed to use the power of his office to advance a progressive agenda for working Americans and on foreign war and domestic civil liberty issues is but a sad continuation of the Bush years. He fooled a lot of voters in 2008 with his false claims of being something different.
Obama has now ventured out of the confines of his Wall Street infested White House to begin his campaign for re-election. And true to form, he’s campaigning as if he were a progressive. He’s received a great deal of applause from liberals lately as he rhetorically positions himself as the defender of the common man versus the evils of Ryanian capitalism.
But it’s a complete fraud! In today’s oligopolistic and globalized capitalism, the status quo cannot be maintained. Something must yield: either a) low taxes on income and wealth, b) US military prowess, c) living standards for the majority, or d) orthodox notions of deficits and money. Given the rule of money in our society, options a, b, and d are not at all viable. So what has Obama done? He first appointed the right wing Bowles-Simpson commission which predictably emphasized option c) while paying lip service to a) and b). Now Obama’s come out with his own plan, largely taken from Bowles-Simpson. Option d) of course was never considered.
Obama’s plan completely swallows the right wing myth that the path to “winning the future” should be based on drastic cuts to government programs that benefit the majority of the population. One only needs to turn to yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, though, to see a bit of honest reporting on the true state of things. The piece is entitled “Big US Firms Shift Hiring Abroad” and is well worth the read. But of course this larger issue is not addressed by Obama – it’s about deficits and all will be well if Obama can slash them by his $4 trillion over 12 years.
Despite record inequalities and ever declining incomes and security for the vast majority, he seeks a “balanced approach” in which the rich and the military would presumably share in the sacrifice. The very use of the idea of “balance” by a theoretically center-left politician speaks loudly to the absence of democracy in this country. If we actually had a democracy, no representative of the majority would propose “balance” since the full burden would naturally be expected to fall where it belonged. The wealthy few would be the ones desperately seeking “balance” from the majority.
As for taxes, Obama calls only for ending the Bush era rates. But they’ve already ended based on current law and continuing them would require new legislation. He’s proposing nothing other than maintaining the status quo. Is he next going to call for ending slavery or perhaps prohibition? He proposes cuts in medicare and medicaid and sharp reductions in non-security discretionary spending, but seeks just a 5% decline in the much larger military budget. While supporting unspecified reductions in “tax expenditures”, i.e. deductions, he outrageously wants to lower individual and corporate income tax rates. Regarding social security, a program that provides an average of just $1,100 per month to retirees, he promises only to protect current beneficiaries and keep younger generations from having their benefits “slashed”.
This is not at all a progressive agenda. Obama cloaks his radical right wing program behind the rhetoric of progressivism. He’s worse than the right wing because he hides his true agenda and fools a lot of people. Like Bill Clinton before him, he’s a shill for Wall Street and the status quo distribution of power. He’s a fraud.