Obama conducts "one of the greatest attacks on working people in U.S. history"

The Monkey

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NOW WE know why Barack Obama heaped such praise on Ronald Reagan during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Having hailed the right-wing Republican known for axing social programs as a "transformative president," Obama has now far outdone Reagan by pushing cuts in social spending on a scale that the Republicans have only dreamed of.

If your eyes are glazing over at the large numbers and the complicated mechanics of the deal to cut $2.1 trillion from the budget over the next decade, here's a short summary of the agreement: Screw the sick, poor and the elderly while imposing a permanently lower standard of living for working people, all while helping bankers and the rich grab a greater share of society's wealth. But wait, there's more: The cuts could add up to as much as 10 percent of U.S. economic output. That's a body blow to an economy that's still rife with mass unemployment and hardly growing more than two years after the recession.
http://socialistworker.org/2011/08/02/stake-in-the-heart-of-the-welfare-state

The article is quite poorly written, but I still think it can open up debate. Is the massive cut in spending an attack on the weakest elements on society (children, eldery, unemployed etc.), or simply what had to be done to save the economy? Is cutting spending rather than raising taxes the way to go? Bear in mind that Obama hasn't significantly raised the taxes during his term, despite the massive tax cuts that his predecessor implemented.
 

Eejit

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Spending cuts should be coupled with tax increases.

I think it's not very accurate to say Obama has "pushed" the bill though. Rather he was bent over and gang-banged by hardline republicans. And took it.
 

A2597

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Because Socialist Worker is a wonderful source for unbiased opinion. :lol:
 

ríomhaire

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Republicans blocked tax increases so what other way are the government supposed to get money exactly?
 

Krynn72

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I think it's not very accurate to say Obama has "pushed" the bill though. Rather he was bent over and gang-banged by hardline republicans. And took it.
It is very accurate to say that Obama is a spineless pushover though. How the **** does this get resolved with NO revenue increases whatsoever? Obama is letting the Republicans have a ****ing heyday right now, and they're really just ****ing over anybody who isn't rich. Stupid shits. I'm actually re-thinking my response to No Limit's thread on whether I'd support Obama in this next term. I mean, what the **** Obama? He might as well be Tea Party republican with how much stuff he gives them freely. God damn, this is a new low for Obama, and Republicans are just beyond comprehension how low they've sunk.
 

Mr Stabby

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simply what had to be done to save the economy?
Cutting spending doesn't stimulate anything (Cutting taxes on the middle class does). That said the US deficit is out of control, and if left unchecked could harm interest rates, which would be detremental to the economy.

Cut defence spending, end the empire, cut middle class taxes, hike up captial gains taxes and taxes on income over 1 million.
 

Ennui

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Linking to a labor magazine is about as credible as linking to a 16 year-old's political blog.

They are blaming Obama for things that are out of his control... its not his fault that the entire Republican party had to be dragged kicking and screaming into a compromise that would allow our country to not default. If I had my way, I'd sure as hell raise taxes on the top percent, but Republicans have made that completely impossible. I guess that's not good enough for some ultra-left labor organizer writing this article in the basement of his struggling union hall.

Krynn what would you have done in his situation? Republicans basically put their foot down and covered their ears and SAID NAH NAH NAH WE ARENT GOING TO AGREE TO ANYTHING THAT RAISES TAXES ON THE WEALTHY. He's not giving it "freely", he's simply being a responsible president instead of just stalemating with them while we default and our economy takes a swan dive into the abyss. It sucks that conservatives had to be so goddamn immature about this entire thing but I'm not mad at our president for the compromise simply because he had no other choice besides doing the same immature bullshit the Republicans have been doing, and I would respect him significantly less for that than for his present choice of actions.

You guys have a lot of cute pie in the sky opinions on what needs to be done here but you are all conveniently ignoring the political realities of the situation...
 

Krynn72

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I would have let the meaningless deadline pass and expose congress as the piece of shit partisan squabblefest that it is. Nothing serious would have happened if the made up deadline would have passed (they already arbitrarily pushed it back a couple times). Obama needed to make a stand against the Republicans here. He's let them walk all over him his whole term so far, he needed to make an example here (in fact he should have made it years ago). He's just proving over and over again that Republicans can get their way so long as they act like big enough assholes. This president doesn't stand for anything, hes just a ****ing welcome mat.

Negotiations can only serve their purpose when both sides need each other. Right now Republicans have no need to listen to democrats because they can get whatever they want. As far as I'm concerned, Obama's presidency has functioned as a right wing extremist administration. In terms of the outcome of the last several debates and legislation, our leader is a helpless 70lb woman being dragged down the street by a pack of dogs leashed around her right hand.
 

Ennui

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I basically agree with that imagery. It certainly is frustrating and I hate the state of our political situation but I just don't see any realistic alternatives. If he stood up to them, it would accomplish nothing besides a stand-off, and Obama would be the one who ultimately took the blame and responsibility for the effects of the stalemate.
 

Mr Stabby

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It was phony in the sense, that the US will still be able to afford debt payments. However if the debt ceiling was not rasied, it would have told international credit markets, that the US is run by lunatics, and it would have harmed America's credit rating. Credit ratings are based on confidence, if markets are not confident that the US is sane, they will react negatively.
 

Krynn72

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I basically agree with that imagery. It certainly is frustrating and I hate the state of our political situation but I just don't see any realistic alternatives. If he stood up to them, it would accomplish nothing besides a stand-off, and Obama would be the one who ultimately took the blame and responsibility for the effects of the stalemate.
He would be the one who takes the blame solely because he would let himself be the one. A less spineless person would show everyone how ****ing retarded our current congressmen are.
It was phony in the sense, that the US will still be able to afford debt payments. However if the debt ceiling was not rasied, it would have told international credit markets, that the US is run by lunatics, and it would have harmed America's credit rating. Credit ratings are based on confidence, if markets are not confident that the US is sane, they will react negatively.
America's credit rating is a bullshit construct too. The debt ceiling has been raised 74 times in 49 years. I don't see how defaulting is so much worse for our credit rating than asking for a higher level of debt 1.5 times per year.
 

Raziaar

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Obama is turning out to be a a glutton for taking it from behind. It's ****ing pissing me off. Why is he such a pussy and keeps ****ing caving to every god damn thing the right throws at him, and for that matter, why are most of the democrats themselves always so weak in standing for what they believe in.

It makes me sad. We have very few true liberals to lead the charge.
 

Sulkdodds

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While Obama was in a difficult situation this time around, it was a situation he placed himself in with his last two years in government - and not a situation whose options seem to have been fully explored. Perhaps in this case there really was no choice. But that didn't used to be the case.

Anyway, I was looking up a lot of data about this today. There is seemingly no concrete evidence whatsoever that spending cuts actually stimulate the economy, not much evidence that tax cuts stimulate recovery (after the Bush tax cuts the US economy, which always bounces back after a recession, bounced back slower than in other equivalent times when taxes have been rasied), and every reason to believe that revenue is the stinking great elephant in the room. It is hard to consider it a coincidence that the US debt has tended to go up during periods of Republican domination and down during periods of Democratic domination, nor that public debt began to rise massively after a mid-century plummet just around the time the US began to tax at far lower levels than it had since WW2. I don't believe in prohibitively high taxes, but European countries obviously aren't on the wrong side of the Laffer curve: they tax at higher rates and, sure enough, gain higher revenues. There is absolutely no way the Feds can solve this problem with cuts alone, and seeking to do so could have disastrous effects on the country as a whole. People with no money, no jobs, no support and nothing to hope for do not drive a successful economy.

The Republicans have spent their last 30 years pursuing a policy of "starve the beast" - cutting the government's revenue (and creating a climate where tax hikes make you unelectable) in an attempt to force it to cut spending. This was the explicit justification for the Bush tax cuts and is frequently cited these days. But it never works; individual politicians obsessed with the next election act on the short-term benefits, rather than on the long-term drawbacks, of refusing to lower spending. That includes both democrats and republicans, but it is the latter who have deliberately exacerbated the debt crisis and are now finally pursuing the reduction they have always hoped for by claiming that the debt makes it necessary. Of course it didn't help that governments both in the US and in the UK sailed blithely on a cloud of neoliberal optimism right into a credit crunch which they then sought to remedy by bailing out the industries that caused it without any serious attempts at reforming or restraining them.

EDIT: Article is not quite from a reliable source but is written solidly enough. At the very least it provides plenty of further reading from alright people like Paul Krugman and the ever-pugnacious but in my view generally reliable Glenn Greenwold.
 

Sulkdodds

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Oh yes, and from a link in the OP's article, something on Obama 'having no choice':

Paul Krugman said:
First of all, he could and should have demanded an increase in the debt ceiling back in December. When asked why he didn’t, he replied that he was sure that Republicans would act responsibly. Great call.

And even now, the Obama administration could have resorted to legal maneuvering to sidestep the debt ceiling, using any of several options. In ordinary circumstances, this might have been an extreme step. But faced with the reality of what is happening, namely raw extortion on the part of a party that, after all, only controls one house of Congress, it would have been totally justifiable.

At the very least, Mr. Obama could have used the possibility of a legal end run to strengthen his bargaining position. Instead, however, he ruled all such options out from the beginning.

But wouldn’t taking a tough stance have worried markets? Probably not. In fact, if I were an investor I would be reassured, not dismayed, by a demonstration that the president is willing and able to stand up to blackmail on the part of right-wing extremists. Instead, he has chosen to demonstrate the opposite.
 

Ennui

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The internet is such a goddamn liberal echo chamber it makes me wish I wasn't actually liberal. You guys are forgetting that these conservative right-wing interests control most of the economy / are affiliated with those who control most of the economy. THEREFORE POWER. They can't just vote these things into existence, the repercussions would be devastating for the left.

Krynn, if he had a spine and did what you want him to do, he would be a martyr and nothing more... and martyrs don't make productive presidents, particularly when they are liberal. Our credit rating is determined by global financial institutions. We still have great credit due to our constant maneuvering around these kinds of legal debt issues, but if we default our credit rating will plummet and it will seriously **** us over.

Raziaar, we do have plenty of true liberals to lead the charge. Ever heard of people like Dennis Kucinich? Ralph Nader? Even libertarians like Ron Paul or Gary Johnson get sidelined instantly. Being so far left is just as ineffective - even more so really - than being far right like Bachmann or what have you. You have to be really damn close to the center to get anything accomplished without it all being drowned slowly in the bog of partisan bullshit.

I'm not singing our government's praises at all - i ****ing hate everything about how ineffective and feeble our mockery of a political system has become. I'm just not going to crucify Obama for being the only reasonably rational human being in the entire District of Columbia.
 

Krynn72

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We could use a decent martyr about now. I don't why he shouldn't have tried for it, its not like he's going to be re-elected if even I'm right on the verge of not voting for him anymore.
 

Ennui

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I sort of agree with that sentiment, but I can't just totally give up on the democratic party like that - I like to still fantasize about another four years of a Dem president.

As unlikely as that is... if it does happen, Ole Man Ennui will be singing quite a different tune come 4 years from now because if Obama isn't the most radical and in your face lame duck ever I would be pretty goddamn angry. His only excuse thus far is the future of the party and of his presidency, but in term 2 I absolutely require a lot more backbone from him.
 

xcellerate

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Obama is turning out to be a a glutton for taking it from behind. It's ****ing pissing me off. Why is he such a pussy and keeps ****ing caving to every god damn thing the right throws at him, and for that matter, why are most of the democrats themselves always so weak in standing for what they believe in.
I feel like it's all about who gets the blame over the decision. If the republicans say they aren't 'raising' taxes and obama says he absolutely is 'raising' taxes, then all the republicans have to do is wait long enough. If obama is so stubborn he doesn't pass the bill then he gets all the blame for the problems that arise because of it, then the republicans just point to their plan and say, "don't look at us! we had these great ideas ready to go that obama turned down!"

I know it's not really analogous but I picture it like you saying you're going to stop eating until I give you $20. Why do I care if you don't eat? You're either going to kill yourself waiting for me or you're just going to eat some food anyway.
 

Yuri

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I basically agree with that imagery. It certainly is frustrating and I hate the state of our political situation but I just don't see any realistic alternatives. If he stood up to them, it would accomplish nothing besides a stand-off, and Obama would be the one who ultimately took the blame and responsibility for the effects of the stalemate.
you're right, obama's reputation is more important than stabilizing our failing economy.

i wont pretend to be very well rehearsed in this matter; economics is not really my strong point. but i mean, is that really your response as a legitimate reason not to push your agenda for, heh, change?
 

Ennui

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What you are calling reputation = remote chance of political efficacy in this case.
 

Mr Stabby

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America's credit rating is a bullshit construct too. The debt ceiling has been raised 74 times in 49 years. I don't see how defaulting is so much worse for our credit rating than asking for a higher level of debt 1.5 times per year.
The US can easily afford the interest payments on the debt, refusing to pay will get you blacklisted. Aslso thew debt is approaching the 100% of GDP mark.
 

Naudian

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Related question: Why can't the govt go back to printing its own money instead of borrowing from a private central bank (aka the federal reserve)?

Obviously the amount in circulation would have to be adjusted to avoid inflation. Lincoln did it, so what's the problem nowadays? I mean, shit would never fly today due to nobody giving a f*k, but hypothetically, is this a possible solution to U.S's debt problem? How would it affect the rest of the world?
 

Sheepo

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you're right, obama's reputation is more important than stabilizing our failing economy.

i wont pretend to be very well rehearsed in this matter; economics is not really my strong point. but i mean, is that really your response as a legitimate reason not to push your agenda for, heh, change?
Except the Republicans aren't going to back down, so drawing out a stalemate until he eventually concedes anyway is pointless. Concede early and your reputation doesn't also get ****ed along with your agenda not being realized. And yes, hopefully he has a goddamn spine in his second term.
 

Yuri

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I wonder if he will have a second term. I'm not going to vote for him, again, and we all know New York is a huge swing state ;)

and it seems to me like this was a good opportunity to bring forth some sort of change for the better. instead obama conceded to the republicans because, hey, they were gonna win anyway, why bother. but what the **** do i know i guess.
 

Sheepo

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I'm not even sure what you think you know. Can you not see how it's illogical to start a fight that you'll inevitably lose that will also cause you to lose the respect of the general populace? I'm certainly unhappy to see this shit too, but I recognize that the blame can be spread just about everywhere. I'd be fine with these cuts if they were accompanied by similar ones on the side of defense and our three wars. And you're kidding yourself if you think a republican president won't do far worse in the same situation. I'd prefer not to vote for him, but the idea of a better republican alternative seems impossible. I'd really just like to bash this polarized two party system over the head with a rock.
 

Kadayi

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Obama's biggest problem is he's tried to be an adult in a roomful of children. The guy needed to straight up use the democratic base he had to railroad initiatives as well as high earner tax increases when he had the chance and give the finger to the republicans along the way, instead he's tried to be reasonable with the unreasonable, which just goes nowhere (and slows everything down which of course the Republicans not being in office love). I like the guy, but plain truth of the matter is, he needs to just ignore the republicans and pursue his own agenda and quit with all this proffering the olive branch shit (they've not taken up the offer yet and they aren't likely to either). The key thing you need to be doing when you're a decision maker is making decisions constantly. Even if some of them turn out wrong, it's better to be on the move and re-adjusting/course correcting rather than labouring over things. More importantly delegating tasks to the right people. Personally rather than let the whole dog and pony show go on I'd have appointed someone else to take charge rather than make it a face to face with Boehner and certainly I think expressing his dissatisfaction with events publicly was a mistake.

Personally hoping that the Republicans don't get back in, but I have to say if Obama does want to get re-elected he needs to hit the fast forward button on some effective action to galvanize his base. Eliminating OBL might of done his some positives, but people need to see the change he talked about. Getting those high earner and corporate taxes on the go might do some way towards that.
 
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