Stepping aside from the sudden Washington obsession with debt and deficits, we should remind ourselves as to who has been in charge of the federal government, at least pro forma, since 2008 and what real outcomes have been achieved.
The Democratic Party and President Obama always seem to have excuses for their performance, whether they control both houses of congress and the presidency, as during 2009-2010, or whether they control the presidency and Senate but not the House as they do currently.
They continually find some reason why they can’t implement a New Deal jobs program, pass single-payer Medicare for All, end the countless invasions and occupations of other countries, end Bush tax cuts for the rich, or prevent lobbyists from gutting regulations that are intended to implement supposed reforms.
Blue Dog Democrats in the House, 60 votes allegedly required in the Senate, Tea Party Republicans, you name it, the list of excuses is long and contemptible.
People forget that President George W. Bush used the reconciliation process in the Senate many times to ram through legislation he wanted. It was most notably employed in 2003 to pass huge tax cuts on capital gains and dividends benefiting the rich. The vote was 51-50, and the 51st vote was provided by Vice President Dick Cheney in his role as president of the Senate.
No need for 60 votes when you really want to get something budget-related passed in the Senate like, God forbid, rolling back the Bush tax cuts for the rich. But, you first need to have the political will to do such things, which has been lacking under the Democrats, who do not like to anger their wealthy paymasters. Treading on unions and progressives is OK, however, with Obama and the Democratic leadership.
Next year, we will be once again be subjected to the harum-scarum of a potential GOP victory and the need to once again vote for the “lesser evil,” i.e., the Democrats. Problem is, when you look at what the Democrats actually do as opposed to their fine speeches, the evil does not look much lesser. Think endless outsourcing of jobs to China and other low-wage countries, foreign bombings and occupations as far as the eye can see, continuation of tax breaks for the wealthy, escalation of the Big Brother State at home and abroad, obsession with deficits instead of job creation.
Following are some examples from recent news reports of what happens when Democrats are in office these days:
“Companies churn out profits but jobs don’t follow”
“The sluggish pace of hiring may be hobbling the economy, but it’s not been holding back big U.S. companies’ profits thanks to growth overseas and cost controls at home. And that’s bad news for the more than 14 million Americans without jobs.” (Reuters, July 24, 2011)
“GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, The Head Of Obama’s Jobs Council, Is Moving Jobs And Economic Infrastructure To China At A Blistering Pace”
How the head of tax-evading, jobs outsourcing GE fronts for Obama on jobs.
(Hawaii News Daily, June 28, 2011)
“Layoffs Deepen Gloom”
Companies are laying off employees at a level not seen in a year.
(The Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2011)
“Wealth Gap Gets Even Wider – Crash in housing prices takes toll on blacks and Hispanics, while stocks help whites” (USA Today, July 27, 2011)
“Summer Cuts Launch Lunch Scramble”
Federal, state and local budget cuts eliminate summer school for tens of thousands of children and the free lunch that comes with it, hitting poor families hard. (The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2011)
“New Stable of Wealthy Donors Fueled Obama Campaign’s Record Fund-Raising Quarter”
Less than two percent of the total came from checks of less than $200.00.
(The New York Times, July 17, 2011)
Time for real progressives to look beyond the two major parties and get busy!
George H. Strauss is active in the Progressive Party movement in New York and nationally.