As an Irish-American, I ask myself, Which of the two is the greater Judas to his nation: the Irish prime minister, Brian Cowen, or the American president, Barack Obama?And, from an open letter, signed by a long-list of left-liberal writers:
Both of them are carrying out the same mission– plunging the bulk of the citizenry of their nations into debt peonage, so that bankers and the rich can prosper.
There’s no need to choose, though in terms of sheer magnitude of the disaster, Obama would carry the prize. No one has described his sellout on taxes last week better than Michael Hudson who turned in an acrid resume of Obama’s “compromise” on this site last Wednesday. The highlights:
“Monday’s deal to re-instate the Bush era tax cuts for two more years sets up a 1-2-3 punch…enabling the Republicans to legislate the cuts in perpetuity in 2012 – an estimated $4 trillion to the rich over time….
“To ‘save the dollar’ the Republicans will propose to replace progressive income taxation with a uniform flat tax (the old Steve Forbes plan) falling on wage earners, not on wealth or on finance, insurance or real estate income. A VAT will be added as an excise tax to push up consumer prices.
“Third, the tax giveaway includes a $120 billion reduction in Social Security contributions by labor – reducing the FICA wage withholding from 6.2 per cent to 4.2 per cent. Obama has ingeniously designed the plan to dovetail neatly into his Bowles-Simpson commission pressing to reduce Social Security as a step toward its ultimate privatization and subsequent wipeout grab by Wall Street….
“The bottom line is that after the prolonged tax giveaway exacerbates the federal budget deficit – along with the balance-of-payments deficit – we can expect the next Republican or Democratic administration to step in and ‘save’ the country from economic emergency by scaling back Social Security while turning its funding over, Pinochet-style, to Wall Street money managers to loot as they did in Chile….
“Welcome to debt peonage. This is worse than what was meant by a double-dip recession. It will be with us much longer.” --Alexander Cockburn
With the Obama administration beginning its third year, it is by now painfully obvious that the predictions of even the most sober Obama supporters were overly optimistic. Rather than an ally, the administration has shown itself to be an implacable enemy of reform.I finish with Jeff Cohen from the Huffington Post:
It has advanced repeated assaults on the New Deal safety net (including the previously sacrosanct Social Security trust fund), jettisoned any hope for substantive health care reform, attacked civil rights and environmental protections, and expanded a massive bailout further enriching an already bloated financial services and insurance industry. It has continued the occupation of Iraq and and expanded the war in Afghanistan as well as our government's covert and overt wars in South Asia and across the globe.
Along the way, the Obama administration, which referred to us on the left as “f***ing retarded” individuals who required “drug testing,” stepped up the prosecution of federal war crime whistleblowers, and unleashed the FBI on those protesting the escalation of an insane war.
Obama’s recent announcement of a federal worker pay freeze is cynical, mean-spirited “deficit-reduction theater”. Slashing Bush’s plutocratic tax cuts would have made a much more significant contribution to deficit reduction but all signs are that the “progressive” president will cave to Republican demands for the preservation of George W. Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthy Few. Instead Obama’s tax cut plan would raise taxes for the poorest people in our country
It was a stunning spectacle yesterday afternoon when former President Clinton took the podium from President Obama in the White House briefing room to help shove the Obama-GOP tax deal down the throats of Democratic activists and Congress members.Obama got a lot of their votes last time. I don't think there is a snowball's chance in hell that it will happen again, even if they see him as a 'lesser evil.' They will vote for a third-party candidate, which it seems almost surely there will be.
It was a fitting spectacle too (carried live on CNN) -- since Bill Clinton paved the way in teaching how a Democratic president can win battles through the votes not of his own party but the Republicans.
Remember NAFTA, the trade deal loved by big business and Republicans -- and opposed by Democratic constituencies like unions, environmentalists and consumer advocates? Clinton passed NAFTA with the votes of nearly 80 percent of GOP senators and almost 70 percent of House Republicans. Meanwhile, House Democrats opposed NAFTA by more than 3 to 2.
More than a year ago, I warned ("Get Ready for the Obama/GOP Alliance") that Obama would follow Clinton's lead in winning some of his biggest fights by allying with the GOP against his own base.
Following a long period of White House lecturing and name-calling ("the professional left," "f**king retarded") aimed at the activists who put him in the Oval Office, Obama has again shafted his base and broken a promise, this time on tax breaks for the rich.