17 February 2011

Oligarchs tanked the economy, all but killed the middle class, and now they're planning on leaving it for dead and burying it

"The team of Wall Street CEOs and the politicians they support dug a massive deficit hole by tanking the economy and handing massive tax cuts to the very rich. Now they're throwing the middle class into that hole and shoveling on the dirt." -- Richard Trumka, in this excellent piece in HuffPo.

I think right at the moment my biggest disappointment with the Obama administration is that they've apparently bought into the Right Wing framing that says our biggest problem is the debt/deficit.

This is just plain wrong. Our biggest problem is the lack of growth in the middle class jobs sector, and the lack of serious commitment to restoring our nation to a productive economy, which can be achieved mainly through infrastructure investment. The Republican plan will just end the postwar Middle Class America most of us grew up in .... essentially forever.... and ensure that the future will be Third World America. Which suits them fine, as they are the oligarchic plutocratic elite. They use various propaganda and influence buying techniques to gain power, but they represent the actual interests of no broad constituency, only the greedy superrich. And that's just the plain fact of the matter.

Cuts in spending are needed, yes, but not in programs that support the middle class. Cut unnecessary weapons systems, unnecessary foreign bases, unnecessary and counterproductive wars (there are currently 2 going on), agricultural and oil subsidies, and out of control health care reimbursements (but not care). But social security, medicare eligibility, education, disaster assistance, infrastructure investment, science and tech R&D, financial regulation, public health, and food and industrial safety? Cutting in these areas is suicide. 

A growing economy can eventually be made to produce more revenue, but a shrinking one cannot. The real elephant in the room, however, with regard to unsustainable national debt, is the sorry fact, thanks to decades of Republican and Republican-influenced tax policy, that the wealthiest 10% or so simply do not pay enough in taxes. I submit that no rational person, if they're really honest about it, can conclude otherwise. And the richer they are, the more undertaxed they are. Only ideologues, who don't really care about the commonweal, but only about the welfare of their own superrich class, can rationally disagree with this conclusion. Period.

If you doubt this, I commend to you various comments on this subject, easily located on the Web, by that notorious socialist Dwight Eisenhower, who was often asked in the mid-1950s, when America was still paying down the remnants of the debt from WWII, why taxes had to be so very high on the very richest. (And in those days, corporations actually had to pay their taxes too).

Unfortunately, Obama and his Wall Street advisors just don't seem to get it. If they keep trying to be "soft Republicans," the mess this whole philosophy is creating will be so bad that they will lose the Senate in '12 (for various reasons I think Obama is likely to be re-elected anyway), and then, well, there will be essentially no hope for his presidency... it will have been a monumental failure. Determined far Right majorities in both houses will succeed in virtually destroying the prosperous America I was fortunate enough to grow up in.

I genuinely hope this doesn't happen, but the way the Administration is approaching this whole "deficit reduction" myth is not at all reassuring.

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