|Anthony Freda Illustration|
Now that President Obama is almost celebrating his bipartisan willingness to renew the tax cuts for the super-rich enacted under George Bush ten years ago, it is time for Democrats to ask themselves how strongly they are willing to oppose an administration that looks like Bush-Cheney III. Is this what they expected by Obama’s promise to rise above partisan politics – by ruling on behalf of Wall Street, now that it is the major campaign backer of both parties?
It is a reflection of how one-sided today’s class war has become that Warren Buffet has quipped that “his” side is winning without a real fight being waged. No gauntlet has been thrown down over the trial balloon that the president and his advisor David Axelrod have sent up over the past two weeks to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 per cent for “just” two more years. For all practical purposes the euphemism “two years” means forever – at least, long enough to let the super-rich siphon off enough more money to bankroll enough more Republicans to be elected to make the tax cuts permanent.
Obama seems to be campaigning for his own defeat! Thanks largely to the $13 trillion Wall Street bailout – while keeping the debt overhead in place for America’s “bottom 98 per cent” – this happy 2 per cent of the population now receives an estimated three quarters (~75 per cent) of the returns to wealth (interest, dividends, rent and capital gains). This is nearly double what it received a generation ago. The rest of the population is being squeezed, and foreclosures are rising.
Baudelaire quipped that the devil wins at the point where he manages convince the world that he doesn’t exist. Today’s financial elites will win the class war at the point where voters believe it doesn’t exist – and believe that Obama is trying to help them rather than shepherd them into debt peonage as the economy settles into debt deflation.
We are dealing with shameless demagogy. The financial End Time has arrived, but Obama’s happy-talk pretends that “two years” will get us through the current debt-induced depression. The Republican plan is to make more Congressional and Senate gains in 2012 as Obama’s former supporters “vote with their backsides” and stay home, as they did earlier this month. So “two years” means forever in politician-talk. Why vote for a politician who promises “change” but is merely an exclamation mark for the Bush-Cheney policies from Afghanistan and Iraq to Wall Street’s Democratic Leadership Council on the party’s right wing? One of its leaders, after all, was Obama’s Senate mentor, Joe Lieberman.
US Debt Woes Expose Hidden Austerity and Looting