When I heard President Obama speaking the other day, informing average Americans that they will have to “up their game” in order to compete in the global economy, I wanted to reply, “up yours”! How dare he insult the average American, many of whom have been working two jobs to keep from living on the street. I was deeply offended by his insensitivity to the plight of the average American today.
Many Americans pay $200,000 or more to attend college for four years, taking out large student loans, requiring years to pay them off. And then many pursue graduate degrees, only to find themselves working for minimum wage at some large chain retailer, if they are fortunate enough to find a job. Those with jobs work 50 or more hours per week at salaries with real purchasing power less than those of their parents. Many will be unable to afford a home, an American dream of yesteryears. 46 million Americans are without health insurance, because of its prohibitive costs or because of pre-existing conditions, denying them eligibility. 40 million Americans are unemployed, 25 million of which are not collecting unemployment benefits, with the remainder no longer being eligible to collect within a year’s time. And Obama is telling us to “up our game”?
Obama talks a good game, but plays an entirely different game. Obama is the guy on the team who must up his game. It is my conviction that Obama has dropped the ball and forsaken the plight of the average American for his own re-election in 2012. He has shown himself to be a centrist and corporatist in true Bill Clinton fashion. He has left our team and joined the multinational corporate team, as Bill Clinton did, who after doing such accumulated $109 million in wealth. Corporate mouthpieces and surrogates are paid very well for their services rendered. So much for truth, justice, the American way, and public service.
When he took office two years ago, where was the urgency to create jobs for those without work? I would have declared a state of national emergency upon being sworn in as President of the United States, and embarked on an immediate campaign to create jobs. But what did Obama do? He appointed Timothy Geithner, a Wall Streeter, as his Treasury Secretary, who introduced the “Public-Private Investment Program for Legacy Assets”, which contains provisions for buying up to $2 trillion in depreciated real estate assets. The program was designed to provide liquidity for so-called “toxic assets” on the balance sheets of financial institutions.
What transpired? The biggest banks received more than $2 trillion in TARP and Federal Reserve assistance to clean up their balance sheets and recapitalize securities trading, while the 8,000 regional banks got little assistance and remain burdened by toxic real estate loans. Consequently, nearly 250 regional banks have failed, and small and medium sized businesses cannot get credit to expand, while asset managers, bank shareholders and creditors of the biggest banks are in receipt of hidden subsidies from the program’s non-recourse loans.
In addition to credit, businesses need more customers to create jobs, and the trade deficit — in particular, imports of oil and the imbalance with China — cut a huge hole in demand for U.S. goods and services. Without addressing oil and China, other efforts to create jobs are futile.
In essence, Obama is a centrist and corporatist in the mold of Bill Clinton. Recall that Larry Summers, Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, was Obama’s Economic Advisor until recently. Wall Street is thriving now, with the Dow over 12,000; however, unemployment is still at its highest levels with no material improvement expected to occur in the near future, if ever.
Recall, too, that Obama advocated a single-payer healthcare system but quickly caved into a healthcare system benefitting the big insurance companies, with pre-existing conditions denied coverage until 2014. Wow. Is this the big health care reform that middle America has long been awaiting?
And in spite of his campaign promise to not extend the deficit creating tax cuts to the top 2% of the country, Obama immediately caved in and not only agreed to the extension of tax cuts for the rich, but also significantly reduced the estate tax for the wealthy.
By squandering as much as $1 trillion in tax breaks to the elite in our country, now Obama wants to attempt to reduce deficit spending by cutting social security and medicare: he is appointing a special commission to review social security and medicare.
Remember Obama promised us change? Well, it’s same old, same old: the haves and the have nots, with the haves getting more and more, and the nots now about to lose social security and medicare benefits. What is transpiring is the undoing of all of the progress accomplished under the era of FDR, i.e., the emergence of the middle class. We are witnessing its entire eradication, leaving just the haves and have nots, a feudal society in America ruled by a global aristocracy.
Obama is no friend to the middle class. The middle class needs a voice like Bernie Sanders. But who will challenge Obama in a primary?
Let us hope someone steps forward and runs. We cannot allow another 6 years of this kind of leadership.