The unrelenting narrative from the corporate media -- that Obama must mend fences with American business -- is disconnected from the reality of Obama's policies and appointments. It is inconsistent with the rise in the stock market, the record profits and the hordes of cash big business are sitting on.
There is no question that small businesses are still being choked by the unavailability of credit and that the lack of job creation is preventing a real economic recovery, but the businesses Obama spoke to when he visited the Chamber of Commerce are not in that category. In recent years, the national Chamber has evolved into a spokesperson for transnational corporations, not Main Street America's businesses. They have pushed U.S. job killing policies that send jobs overseas so transnational corporations can reap the biggest profits from the cheapest labor.
Rather than scolding the Chamber for killing American industry, Obama kow-towed to them. He seeks to raise $1 billion for his re-election campaign and neutralize opposition from concentrated corporate capital. As a result his promises to the Chamber were a policy agenda that will fail to ignite the U.S. economy but continue to grow the power of concentrated corporate interests, especially transnational corporations.
The business agenda Obama promised will be good for big business interests but bad for the U.S. economy, workers and small business interests. It included:
- A freeze on domestic spending for five years, excluding the military and national security. This McCain campaign promise opposed by Obama during his campaign, will result in austerity budgets for programs that attempt to meet the needs of Americans while the military and national security budgets continue to devour more and more federal spending. In fact, Obama failed to mention the urgent need to dramatically reduce the rapidly rising military and intelligence budgets, which make up more than half of federal discretionary spending, so as not to offend the Military Industrial Complex.
- Obama continued the falsehood that Social Security and Medicare are the driving force of deficit spending, when in fact both are contracts with American workers for essential health care and retirement services funded by payroll taxes. This contract, paid for by American workers, must be honored. Social Security in particular has built up over $2.5 trillion worth of Treasury Bonds at the end of fiscal 2009. These produce more than $100 billion annually in interest. Social Security will continue to remain solvent by merely raising the cap on the Social Security tax so the wealthy pay their share will ensure retirement security long into the future. To really control debt the U.S. must lower health care costs. The Obama reforms will not do this, only improving and expanding Medicare to cover all Americans will accomplish this objective. If you are concerned with deficit spending you should support single payer health care.
- Obama promised to reduce the corporate tax, another McCain campaign proposal that the Obama campaign called a "gift basket" for corporate America. In fact, 72 percent of foreign corporations and about 57 percent of U.S. companies doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes for at least one year between 1998 and 2005. Revenue from the corporate income tax fell from between 5 and 6 percent of GDP in the early 1950s to 2.1 percent of GDP in 2008. At a time when corporations are seeing record profits and sitting on huge cash reserves, of $2 trillion, while failing to hire Americans, Obama gently urged them to get back into the economy was inadequate.
- Obama promised less regulation, pledging to reduce regulation without pointing out that the deregulation era that began with Reagan and continued with every president, Democrat and Republican, was a primary cause of the economic collapse, as even Alan Greenspan, the former libertarian-leaning Federal Reserve Chairman has admitted.
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