The kindest thing I can say about President Barack Obama and his conduct in the ongoing talks about the federal deficit is that he has a proclivity for making concessions without a demand being placed before him. That is, he goes into each negotiation concerning the nation’s future, offering his GOP interlocutors major compromises before the bargaining even begins.
In return for the generous concessions made by the President, the recalcitrant Republicans make even more strident demands. They have forced him to concede on nominations, from so-called “Green Czar” Van Jones, to so-called “Consumer Czar” Elizabeth Warren, Agriculture Department specialist Shirley Sherrod, and he got nothing in return for sacrificing those honorable public servants to the right-wing bully pulpit. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.
I don’t have a “beef” with the President like his most prominent critics, Dr. Cornell West, and TV personality Tavis Smiley.
While both men have raised principled critiques of President Obama’s policies, Dr. West was steamed, that after he publicly supported Obama’s candidacy in 2008, he could not get any fancy tickets to the Presidential Inauguration for one of his family members in 2009. The President then refused to take his phone calls, and then chastised him at a public gathering, he said.
Smiley, for his part, was steamed because President Obama did not clear his schedule in order to attend one of Smiley’s town hall meetings, offering to send First Lady Michelle Obama in his place.
President Obama, in fact, has been kind to me personally. He actually referred to me by my first name during a question and answer session with members of the Trotter Group of African American Columnists and Commentators. I’ve got the recording!
So, my criticism is not because my feelings have been hurt personally about anything the President has done so far, but are based on my fear that he has bent over so far backwards trying to achieve “bi-partisan” agreements with people whose sworn mission is to see to it that he’s a one-term office-holder, that he is driving the country to ruin in the process.
The Republicans, whether they are Te Partiers or not, are nothing but warmed over plutocrats, who believe in a government, “Of the wealthy, by the wealthy, and for the wealthy.” Since 1981 when President Ronald Reagan took office, they have ruthlessly and systematically presided over a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class and more needy two thirds of this society, into the hands of the top two percent.
For example, let’s look at Social Security, which had an independent trust fund (which by the way would be able to remain solvent, and pay benefits to all who would be eligible for them, well past the year 2050) until the so-called “firewall” protecting Social Security funds was removed and its accumulated surpluses were lumped in with the general treasury deficit in order to help past budget raiders plunder the national wealth to pay for their unnecessary and immoral wars overseas, and for their tax breaks for the wealthiest. The Social Security tax contributions from individuals and companies is capped at about $100,000 per worker, which means that the next $56,900,000 of the $57 million in salary paid to the CEO of General Motors, is not subject to Social Security taxation. There’s something drastically wrong with that picture.
Meanwhile, President Obama has told the Republicans, that in order to get them to go along with raising the nation’s debt ceiling, and preventing America’s default on its debts, he’s willing to chop Social Security and its companion health insurance program for the elderly, Medicare. The Republicans only repeated their chant: “No tax increases.”
The President must not understand that this country cannot cut its way out of its enormous debt, and it certainly cannot be accomplished overnight. This recent ballooning of the debt has been skyrocketing since 2000 when President Bill Clinton left office with a budget surplus on the books.
Since he came into office with a so-called “stimulus” plan which was way to small to save the folks on Main Street, and only helped rescue those on Wall Street who have not hired workers or reinvested their profits, Obama has been going along with programs that are too puny and are almost identical to the policies that led to the first Great Depression in 1929.
I don’t feel sorry for this president. He drank the Calvin Coolidge Kool-Aid that can only lead this country to its next Great Depression, which is right around the corner, just before President Obama loses his re-election bid in 2012.