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With this pie chart in mind I thought I'd write a few things as Obama holds his first news conference as president tonight.

Opening remarks: "Tax cuts alone" can't create jobs, he says.

Last I heard 40% of the stimulus package was going to tax cuts.

After passing both the House and Senate the $827 billion package will go to a conference committee to hammer out their differences. The Senate put in more tax cuts than the House did. The Senate cut out alot of money for aid to states who are in fiscal crisis.

I wrote the members of Maine's Congressional delegation tonight asking them to take out the $50 billion nuclear industry subsidy. They won't do it.

In his opening remarks Obama said nothing about the military budget which is eating up the vast majority of every tax dollar.

The first question to him from the media asked if he was being too negative about the state of the economy - essentially scaring people. "I'm absolutely confident we can solve this problem, but we are going to have to take some significant steps," Obama replied.
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One significant step does not appear to be cutting the Pentagon budget.

He is falling into the Republicans trap about responding to their criticisms that government should not be spending so much money.

He should go on the offensive and talk about the cost of two wars and the 50% increase in military spending during the Bush years and make the point that we have to move money from there into creating green jobs - we need to create an industrial base that will lay a solid foundation for creating jobs. That means mass transit systems, wind turbines, solar and more which would require massive investment. Obama and Congress are only throwing pennies at these technologies.

The second question is about Iran. His response: "Iran's actions have been unhelpful when it comes to promoting peace and prosperity around the world....we will be looking for openings.....it's not going to happen overnight....a nuclear Iran could set off a nuclear arms race in the region that could be unstable [nothing said about Israel's nuclear weapons]."

Third question about bi-partisanship in Congress. He gets defensive saying "I didn't underestimate" the difficulties of working with the Republicans....He complains once again about Congress "playing the usual games". He just slammed the Republicans for presiding over a "doubling of the national debt" but doesn't mention that alot of that was the cost of two wars and legions of expensive high-tech weapons systems.
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His answers are much too long. He comes across as argumentative and lecturing. He sounds frustrated already.

4th question - consumer spending - should people who gets tax cuts save or spend? Does not answer directly but says once we get stabilized we are going to have to make serious cuts (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) because "there is no such thing as a free lunch."

5th question - don't we have to give the banks more money to really solve the credit crisis? "My immediate task is to make sure that the second half of the money ($350 billion of the original bank bailout) must not be wasted."

It's clear that trying to put band-aids on capitalism's collapse just won't cut it. We need major systemic reform and neither Obama nor the Congress are
going anywhere near that task.

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Bruce Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

Between 1983 "1998 Bruce was the State (more...)

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