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Last weekend, I searched the newspapers for a listing of all the economic advisors President-elect Obama had met with in Chicago the previous Friday. I wanted to see which ones, among the 21 chosen advisors, represented the economic needs and concerns of wage workers, the poor, homeless and elderly. When I finally found acomplete listing of names in the Wall Street Journal, I was disappointed to see that “The Obama Braintrust” included billionaires, major corporate CEO’s, high ranking government officials, but no one representing labor, social and human services, or the progressive organizations that supposedly gave Obama his biggest boost to the White House.
I should not have been surprised. The President-elects campaign was bankrolled by the largest contributions from corporate America every recorded. Barak Obama was the chosen candidate of the Daley Dynasty—the enormously powerful Chicago political machine that Bill Clinton called upon to assure the passage of NAFTA, and which also godfathered Obama’s new Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Congressman Rahm Emanuel has earned such endearing nicknames from colleagues and reporters as “thug” and “pitbull,” and was particularly infamous in his role as Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for hand-picking and funding pro-war candidates during the 2006 Congressional elections. Anti-war Iraq veterans running for office report being discouraged by Emanuel from any “negative” talk, and losing funding during the last crucial days of their campaigns.
Larry Summers, considered for Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury, was head of Bill Clinton ’s “secret committee” which was directed to workout details for the “privatization” of Social Security. Reportedly, the task had been completed, down to assigning each of us an account number….when along came Monica; and Clinton , looking for everyway to save face, abandoned the “privatization” plan. Can you imagine where the low-income elderly would be today if our Social Security had been invested in the Stock Market? The “Clintonists” of Baraks’ inner circle are already talking about the need to cut “entitlements,” including Medicare.
During the presidential campaign, many news announcers enjoyed airing clips of people accusing Obama of being a “socialist”; and NPR even found a young black woman who said he was a “communist.” Now, the same media moderators state they never thought Barak was even “progressive.” No, in fact, they always knew he was “right of center,” and “quite conservative.” In the midst of all the celebration and confusion, I think that Manning Marabel, professor of Political Science and African American studies at Columbia University , acrepresents a voice of reason and wisdom at this historical time: “Obama’s victory is a victory over racism, but it is not a victory of the left. Progressives will have to challenge the Obama administration on all the issues.” Even though I have strong doubts about the former, I have no doubt about the latter.
MARY LYNN CRAMER has dedicated twenty-five years to low paying “applied economics,” working as a bilingual social worker with families and children. She has degrees in economic history, economic theory and social work; and currently survives on Social Security, Medicare and subsidized elderly housing . She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.