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To Beat Austerity, Obama Must Campaign for Democracy

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Cross-posted from The Nation

President Obama, who famously used his 2010 State of the Union address to rip activist Supreme Court Justices for removing longstanding barriers to corporate control of the political discourse, did not mention the Court's wrongheaded Citizens United decision in his 2012 State of the Union address.

That was concerning.

Not just because the president's support is needed to expand the campaign to amend the Constitution so that its clear free speech rights are afforded citizens, not corporations. But because this is a moment when it is essential to explain how Wall Street is using its "money power" to thwart the will of the people when it comes to debt and deficit debates.

As the country stumbles toward sequestration, powerful forces are seeking to take advantage of the wrangling. Hoping to capitalize on popular frustration with the fighting in Washington, the failed proponents of a far deeper austerity than sequestration would impose, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, are back with a new plan to hack away at Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

They are advancing failed ideas, which have already been proven by the bitter experience of European nations to stall growth and increase unemployment.

They are advancing failed ideas that have already been rejected by the America people, who voted in the 2012 election against candidates endorsed by Simpson and Bowles and against the most prominent American champion of austerity: House Budget Committee chairman and defeated Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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