Just a few cynics doubted the magnificent procession of then Senator Barack Obama to the highest office in the land. He was the redemption of our past sins, the proof that we were a better nation than we had been. After all, race has been at the center of American politics since Bacon's Rebellion was crushed in 1667 but we were moving beyond that. And we did.Race was set aside for most of those who voted.
As it turned out, the campaign wasn't about redeeming anything other than the bill that Wall Street presented to the citizens of the United States in October, 2008. The financial system was grinding its gears, about to flame out in a series of big investment bank failures. The Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, told a private session of Congress that absent immediate aid, the financial calamity would be so devastating that Congress should prepare for riots by outraged citizens.
The people spoke in unison as they hadn't in decades. No bailout! Congressional staffers were swamped with a flood of telephone calls, emails, and faxes. The people's will and wisdom was honored and the first bailout proposal was defeated 228 to 205 in the House of Representatives.
Undeterred, The Money Party swung into action. They hit the offices of reluctant supporters and plied them with "contributions" (also known as legalized bribes). More importantly, they put on a show of political unity, something they like to call bipartisanship. Both presidential candidates showed up in Washington and spoke to their party caucuses. They worked their magic and the bailout was complete. Wall Street was saved to wage class war against the citizens once again, at will, with few if any restraints. The prize -- the biggest wealth transfer in history, the looting of the Treasury for private firms, and a free hand to pay their bonuses as they saw fit. It was and is all about them.
President Obama won the election amidst a great hope for change that he'd promised.
What did we get?
Right away, the new president turned the Treasury and economic policy over to consummate, long-term Wall Street insiders, Tim Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury, and Larry Summers as economic guru. Geithner "was one of our nation's top regulators" for Wall Street during the great rip off of the Bush years and Summers had helped repeal those pesky laws that restrained big banks from dangerous investments. The foxes were in charge of the hen house. There were more bailouts and the Federal Reserve extended $23.7 trillion line of credit for the big banks.
Then, there were the attempts to help citizens with epidemic foreclosures and usurious credit interest rates. We did get a Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights but the president and Congress forgot to cap those huge credit card interest rates. Unfortunately for the millions of victims of mortgage fraud, the president and Congress couldn't quite figure out how to pass a modest foreclosure relief bill. The sponsor of that legislation threw up his hands, as the president sat it out, and said, the banks "frankly own the place!" No kidding.
It didn't stop there. A few months into the era of hope and change, we found out that the administration was heavily staffed with CitiBank insiders who were doing their best to keep that tottering zombie walking as though it were alive.
All the while, the jobless rate rose month after month until real world unemployment reached 17%. That single digit unemployment figures we get don't include workers who simply give up looking for jobs after months of finding nothing. They're unemployed, none the less.
Instead of focusing on jobs, the administration became obsessed with passing a health reform bill. It was reform, but not for citizen health. It seems that the health of the insurance companies was a bit off after years of bad investments and acquisitions. They needed 40 million new customers and a central role in the new plan. They got both. Citizens are now about to get a Frankenstein health bill that they can't afford. Hard to pay those premiums if you're out of work, or earning flat wages for the past ten years.
Tonight, we're told that domestic programs will be frozen for three years while foreign aid and military expenditures for Obama's new war in Afghanistan won't be touched.
And, to add insult to injury, the president just announced that a big part of NASA will be privatized with the corporations "too big to fail" launching our astronauts into space.
We are nothing to them