Smiling for the 99%. by FaceMePLS
The liberal blogger, Greg Sargent, at the Power-Line blog of the Washington Post, headlined March 20th, "On Sequester, Liberals Face a Dilemma," pointed out that congressional Democrats will ultimately be forced to choose between "indefinite sequestration or a grand bargain that includes serious entitlement cuts."
Before the fiscal cliff on January 1st, the options between Democrats and Republicans had instead been either tax-hikes on $250,000+ incomes, or else tax-hikes on everyone, along with default on the federal debt. Obama caved to the Republicans and gave them a $450,000 cut-off point instead of $250,000, and he threw in for good measure a tax-hike on Social Security earnings, which would hit the lower classes too -- not just the $450,000+ earners. Had the President just allowed the fiscal cliff to arrive, then Congress could have returned with a tax cut for the $250,000 and below only, something the Republicans would be hard pressed to block. Instead, he continued his pattern of negotiating through first conceding nearly everything dear to the Republican heart.
This time, by contrast, he is closer to his goal: to force congressional Democrats to make "serious entitlement cuts" -- raising the retirement age and lowering the cost-of-living adjustment, so as to transfer gradually onto the middle and lower classes the massive investment losses aristocrats experienced from the Bush crash in 2008. In other words, this is how Obama intends to finish the job he worked on throughout his Presidency: for the general public to absorb the costs of the ongoing Wall Street bailouts.
As I previously pointed out at length , Barack Obama systematically and brilliantly worked on this plan, to slash "entitlements" in order to fund the Wall Street bailouts, and he has actively done so ever since as least four days before he was first inaugurated -- that is, starting no later than 16 January 2009. As I pointed out there, the lynch-pin of his entire plan is his refusal to use the weapon that he has legally available to him to crush the Republican threat of their use of the debt-ceiling to force the Federal Government into default in violation of the explicit command of the 14th Amendment, "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law... shall not be questioned." In other words: Obama wants congressional Republicans to be able to force congressional Democrats to "agree" to slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and so Obama gives Republicans this power, which actually they do not legally possess. He gives it to them by refusing to use his own Constitutional power, forcing them to challenge him in court.
His plan (as I described each successive stage of it there) works very effectively toward the end of transferring those aristocrats' losses onto the general public, and this is the reason why economic inequality is soaring under Obama faster than under any previous President . In fact: "The top 1% captured 121% of the income gains in the first two years of the recovery." What the data show is that for the first time ever on record, all income gains went only to the top 1%. The bottom 99% lost 0.4% in income during Obama's economic recovery from Bush's crash. The bottom 99% are even a bit worse off now than they were under Bush's crash. But the top 1% are 21% better-off now than they were when Obama took office. Obama cares only about the top 1%. He serves them very well; what he serves them is the bottom 99%, who vote for him because they believe his lying rhetoric. The reality of Obama (as opposed to his rhetoric) is remarkably close to the reality of Mitt Romney, the chief difference between the two being that Obama is far more competent than Romney in a wide range of areas.
Obama, as it turns out, is, perhaps, the best Presidential partner that congressional Republicans ever had -- of either Party.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010 , and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity .