In the waning days of the Bush administration, 8 years after the Supreme Court interjected itself into a state vote count to usurp the will of the people and install the losing candidate into the Presidency, many could never have imagined that Barack Obama – the person we knocked on doors for, donated parts of our dwindling paychecks to, and voted for with the hopeful assurance that he would work to restore the balance of power between working people and their well-heeled “betters” – would be offering Social Security and Medicaid to the people who have wanted to destroy it for generations.
We rested assuredly that the election of Barack Obama would prove that our system of government worked and the crimes and abuses that inevitably accompany power, greed and financial influence could be rectified through our electoral process for the sake of the General Welfare – without the pain of bloody revolution.
But we were warned. Ralph Nader, who famously called Obama an “Uncle Tom” for corporate interests, and Cynthia McKinney were widely chastised for throwing cold water on the “hope” that the system of government passed down would be enough to remedy the tyrannies our founders knew all too well – one tyranny being the subjugation of the working class by the rich who use their wealth to corrupt government into an appendage to their own affairs.
After Obama’s win, Cynthia McKinney wondered what was the “change we could believe in,”
“What kind of change are we really going to have? I wish we could assume a break from the special-interest orthodoxy that seems to have a grip on Washington, D.C. It is this special-interest orthodoxy that has led to war and occupation, civil liberties attacks, social injustice, unemployment, poor yet very costly education and healthcare.”
The tragedy and shame is that America’s inequality between rich and poor is worse than Cameroon, Ivory Coast and revolutionary Egypt and hopes for Obama to champion actual “change” don’t seem to be coming to fruition.
Cynthia McKinney later wrote, “Our country has been hijacked and the Democrats have proven themselves to have been in on the plan. When it came to the Constitution, the Democratic leadership showed us that aiding and abetting illegal spying on us was more important to them than protecting our civil liberties.
When it came to war and occupation, the Democratic leadership showed us that financing an illegal and immoral war, based on lies, was more important to them than the people’s desire for peace.
And when the people, hurting from the financial mismanagement of this country, called for accountability for the crimes that have been committed against the people here, against the global community, against nature, itself, the Democratic leadership took impeachment off the table!”
Ironically (and fittingly) in 2008 Barack Obama won Advertising Age’s marketer of the year. It’s now clear that “hope” and “change” was nothing but a cleverly constructed brand as shallow as any glitzy campaign ever hatched on Madison Avenue.
As hard as it is to swallow, liberals are waking up. Chris Hedges reported on Cornell West’s awakening. West, who participated in 65 campaign events for Obama, “believed in the potential for change and was encouraged by the populist rhetoric of the Obama campaign. He now nurses, like many others who placed their faith in Obama, the anguish of the deceived, manipulated and betrayed. He bitterly describes Obama as ‘a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.’”
Since America swallowed the Reaganomics voodoo she is now dying from, we have witnessed the largest transference of wealth upward in American history, with the policies that made it possible still in effect. Not to mention, the illegal wars, occupations, and the egregious assault on civil liberties – all begun under George W. Bush – continue (and in some cases are expanded) under Obama.
Never mind the fact that the numbers show the failure of Republican “Cut-Grow Kool-Aid,” with spending cuts actually hampering economic recovery in some states, Obama has now even started to sound like a Republican.
…if all you did was listen to his speeches, you might conclude that he basically shares the G.O.P.’s diagnosis of what ails our economy and what should be done to fix it. And maybe that’s not a false impression; maybe it’s the simple truth.
One striking example of this rightward shift came in last weekend’s presidential address, in which Mr. Obama had this to say about the economics of the budget: “Government has to start living within its means, just like families do. We have to cut the spending we can’t afford so we can put the economy on sounder footing, and give our businesses the confidence they need to grow and create jobs.”
That’s three of the right’s favorite economic fallacies in just two sentences. No, the government shouldn’t budget the way families do; on the contrary, trying to balance the budget in times of economic distress is a recipe for deepening the slump. Spending cuts right now wouldn’t “put the economy on sounder footing.” They would reduce growth and raise unemployment. And last but not least, businesses aren’t holding back because they lack confidence in government policies; they’re holding back because they don’t have enough customers — a problem that would be made worse, not better, by short-term spending cuts.
In his brief remarks after Thursday’s meeting, by the way, Mr. Obama seemed to reiterate the Herbert Hooveresque view that deficit reduction is what we need to “grow the economy.
… I don’t believe that it’s all political calculation. Watching Mr. Obama and listening to his recent statements, it’s hard not to get the impression that he is now turning for advice to people who really believe that the deficit, not unemployment, is the top issue facing America right now, and who also believe that the great bulk of deficit reduction should come from spending cuts. It’s worth noting that even Republicans weren’t suggesting cuts to Social Security; this is something Mr. Obama and those he listens to apparently want for its own sake.”
Despite facts to the contrary, the majority of Americans hold a view that government spending is a job killer. It’s no surprise given that Republicans have a well-organized propaganda machine to propel their “cut and grow” myths – and we have a capitulating President who parrots this fallacy.
“Former chief economist on President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, Andrew Samwick, stated “When the economy suffers from a lack of demand, as it does now, Samwick explained, most economists think increasing spending is the more effective way to generate that demand and get things moving again.” Read the rest of this article here.
With disappointment after betrayal after disappointment, it is clear that Obama was the wrong choice for this crisis moment. FDR deliberately set Social Security with a separate tax that every citizen had ownership of. He said,
“We put those payroll contributions in so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pension and unemployment benefits with those taxes in there. No damned politician can ever scrap my Social Security Program.”
By tinkering with the Payroll Tax in his first capitulation to the Republicans, Obama already betrayed Roosevelt’s legacy and given Republicans everything they need to grab on to Social Security and choke the life out of it.
With the Democratic Party actively courting the same corporate money that pulls Republican strings, it’s no wonder the General Welfare is just another “card” on the table in the seats of power.
Attorney, writer, and political activist Miles Mogulescu wrote for the Huffington Post,
Bill Clinton was the Democratic President who presided over the shredding of New Deal regulations of the banking and financial industry that, for a generation, protected America from the worst boom and bust cycles of an otherwise unfettered free market system that had led to the Great Depression. Clinton supported and signed legislation that repealed the Glass-Steagall Act which had previously placed a wall between federally insured commercial banking and risky investment banking, and legislation that banned the Federal government from regulating derivatives. This dismantling of financial regulation was one of the primary causes of the economic bubble which led to the Crash of 2008 and the ensuing great recession from which millions of unemployed Americans and underwater homeowners are still grievously suffering.
Now the question must be seriously asked: Will Barack Obama be the first Democratic President to preside over cutting the greatest remaining Democratic legacies: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the essential programs that provide a safety net to the American middle class?
Already, Obama has put cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid on the table. If Republicans aren’t so crazy that they reject Obama’s proposal of a grand bargain for cutting these and other key domestic programs in exchange for a few tens of billions of dollars worth of closing the most egregious tax loopholes for the richest special interest, then Obama will preside over the beginning of the end of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — not in one fell swoop as proposed by Paul Ryan and House Republicans — but in death by a thousand cuts.
Once Democrats take their finger out of the dike of Social Security, and Medicare and Medicaid and allow cuts to begin, over time the flood waters will overwhelm them and these vital middle class safety net programs will be dismantled brick by brick.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what the Democratic Party still stands for. Strong regulation of the banks? Bill Clinton killed that. Protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? Not if Barack Obama has his way. The new Democratic Party slogan will become: “The Republicans Want to Kill Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Fast. We’ll be Sure They’re Only Killed Slowly.”
We cannot be too hard on ourselves for believing the he populist rhetoric of candidate Obama. We have been lulled into submission for generations that our electoral system is in place to right the wrongs of prior abuses. Unfortunately, it now is apparent that the slow dismantling of laws meant to tamp down on corporate power and limit the corrosive influence of money in our electoral process may have pushed America past the point of no return – and nothing less than an organized campaign of civil disobedience can remedy.
In between our peaceful, non-violent, acts of civil disobedience, I would suggest getting involved with progressive organizations like Russ Feingold’s Progressives United, and Van Jones’ “Rebuild the Dream” project.
- White Nationalists Throw Hate “Business Cards” at Black Woman - November 6, 2018
- Supposed Persecuted Trump supporter Scams Cons Out of $150,000 - November 5, 2018
- In 3 A.M. Tweet, Trump Complains he’s the Real Victim of Mail Bombs - October 26, 2018
- Melania Trump Claims She’s ‘The Most Bullied Person in the World’ and the Internet Groans - October 11, 2018
- Right Wingers Help Completely False Kremlin-Made Propaganda Video Go Viral - October 9, 2018
- Historian: Mitch McConnell is the “Gravedigger of American Democracy” - October 5, 2018
- Donald Trump Tried To Trick His Elderly Father Into Changing His Will - October 4, 2018
- Survey: Trump Surpasses ‘Terrorism’ as Germans’ Greatest Fear - September 6, 2018
- Ron DeSantis Moderated Racist Facebook Group That Attacks Minorities, Parkland Survivors - August 30, 2018
- Architect: Betsy DeVos’ Ostentatious McMansion Sucks - August 8, 2018