Saturday, 30 July 2011

We've been screwed

What a pity that the dramatic budget showdown between Obama and the loony-tunes right is a fraud. We could have used a real fight over real visions of the role of state finances in the midst of recession and over government in general, whether it should aid the needy or merely clear a path for rich and privileged.

Unfortunately, the fight was over before it began because Obama’s position is so close to the Tea Party’s own that it can’t find anything substantial with which to oppose him. Want to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block? Done. Want to rewrite history and claim that government spending is the cause of our economic ills? Published. Want assurances that the federal government cannot come to the aid of states as they suffocate under the bankster-created crisis? Signed in blood-red ink. Want the head of Elizabeth Warren on a platter? With parsley or cilantro?

Since Obama has essentially carried out the teabagger program without much prodding, the Republican freshmen do look quite demented, and with such a tail wagging the legislative dog, anything can happen. Not content with Obama’s $4 trillion slash that will leave the poor and middle classes poorer while the top 0.1 percent scoop up what’s left of our lunch, the unleashed wild dogs of Washington roam Capitol Hill looking for something more to scavenge. Given their backgrounds in millenarian Christian cults, they scoff at warnings that they will set off an apocalypse since they fully expect one in any case and, for many, the sooner it comes the better.

More likely, however, is that calmer heads will prevail and realize that the Republican program has been shoe-horned into being by the nation’s first black president. Why, it’s better than Clarence Thomas outlawing affirmative action. And while the liberal troops still in the thrall of the Democratic turncoats wax indignant over right-wing antics, they barely notice that behind their backs the New Deal has been undone.

A truly progressive or even a modestly centrist Democratic president would have taken on the financial elite that drove the world economy off a cliff, taken advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shrink the bloated financial sector and strengthen production, fought for a stimulus package large enough to fill the gap in demand cause by the bankers’ wreckage and insisted that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy end to restore government fiscal health. He would have railed against any plan to balance the books on Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid as a huge majority of the country wishes he would. Now that would have been a fight worth buying a ticket for.

Instead, Obama has run interference for the banks, shoveled cash at them furiously, allowed the paltry reforms to be undermined, adopted Republican rhetoric on entitlements and budget horrors, given away the store on taxes and still scrambles to find more red meat to satisfy the howling hyenas of the right.

I get a slew of urgent e-mails daily from all sorts of progressive groups urging me to sign onto this or that petition to complain about Republican skullduggery. But I’m still waiting for one of them to rise up in glory to blurt out that the grand hope-and-change candidate we all went out to elect has become an emperor not only standing there stark naked but waving his business at us worse than Anthony Weiner ever did.

Behind the phony fight over the silly debt ceiling stands a two-headed political class that has joined forces—despite appearances to the contrary—to impoverish us. Its principal agent is Barack Obama.

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