Obama Capitulates, Then Negotiates (As Usual)
I once referred figuratively and ironically to Obama as a Republican, because he has so zealously continued many of the disastrous policies of George Bush.
But today — with his announced willingness to offer massive cuts in Medicare and Social Security in exchange for a chimerical agreement with Republicans — I see that in fact he’s something much worse and much more dangerous than a Republican: he’s a Democratic president willing to sell-out what used to be considered the Democratic base. That makes him indistinguishable from a Republican Trojan Horse.
His base, though, is something else entirely. It’s not the traditional Democratic base.
What is the president’s “base?” Simply, it’s the collection of people on whom he depends for election. In Obama’s case, that’s clearly the financial sector (the Geithners, the Summers’, the Rubins, the Goldman-Sachs alumni, the banksters).
Those of us who thought of ourselves as his base (the middle class, the elderly, liberal/progressives, the poor, the working class, people of color) find ourselves repeatedly — perhaps permanently — under the bus. Obama assumes we’ll crawl out from under the bus just long enough to vote for him in 2012. Rubin said we have nowhere else to go. Really? Many may go nowhere (stay home).
What’s the occasion for my rant?
The Obama administration is offering massive cuts to entitlements, including Social Security, despite the fact that the projected future deficit in Social Security is totally and completely irrelevant to the current budget deficit, and could easily be remedied forever by raising the income cap on Social Security contributions.
President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue.
At a meeting with top House and Senate leaders set for Thursday morning, Obama plans to argue that a rare consensus has emerged about the size and scope of the nation’s budget problems and that policymakers should seize the moment to take dramatic action.
As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal. The move marks a major shift for the White House and could present a direct challenge to Democratic lawmakers who have vowed to protect health and retirement benefits from the assault on government spending.
Rather than roughly $2 trillion in savings, the White House is now seeking a plan that would slash more than $4 trillion from annual budget deficits over the next decade, stabilize borrowing, and defuse the biggest budgetary time bombs that are set to explode as the cost of health care rises and the nation’s population ages. (Excerpted from “In debt talks, Obama offers Social Security cuts“).
My rant here is mild compared to the other expressions of anger beginning to gather out there:
“The fiscal good has to outweigh the pain,” a nameless Democrat told the Washington Post regarding President Obama’s latest proposal to massively cut Social Security, against the wishes of the vast majority of Americans, in order to fund a military 670% larger than the next largest in the world, keep in place tax cuts for billionaires, fail to tax corporations or estates or investments or carbon, and balance a budget that nobody gives a rat’s ass about balancing when Wall Street comes asking for handouts.
Not to put too fine a point on it, Mr. President, but fuck your fiscal good. (Excerpted from “
Killing Old People Is Fiscally Responsible“).
I wouldn’t have put it that way, but I do understand the anger.
Yves Smith, author of Econned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism and proprietress of the Naked Capitalism blog, comments on the Washington Post article above this way:
“He is managing to make Bush look less awful by the day.”