Anyone who characterizes the deal between the President, Democratic, and Republican leaders as a victory for the American people over partisanship understands neither economics nor politics.I had previously thought that Obama was a smart man who inexplicably fell short on his goals. I now recognize he is a charlatan. That he can lie through his teeth and paint this disaster as a "victory" for the American people shows that he has no morals and no political program (other than to re-elect himself in 2012). He is part of the problem, not the solution.
The deal does not raise taxes on America’s wealthy and most fortunate — who are now taking home a larger share of total income and wealth, and whose tax rates are already lower than they have been, in eighty years. Yet it puts the nation’s most important safety nets and public investments on the chopping block.
It also hobbles the capacity of the government to respond to the jobs and growth crisis. Added to the cuts already underway by state and local governments, the deal’s spending cuts increase the odds of a double-dip recession. And the deal strengthens the political hand of the radical right.
Yes, the deal is preferable to the unfolding economic catastrophe of a default on the debt of the U.S. government. The outrage and the shame is it has come to this choice.
More than a year ago, the President could have conditioned his agreement to extend the Bush tax cuts beyond 2010 on Republicans’ agreement not to link a vote on the debt ceiling to the budget deficit. But he did not.
Many months ago, when Republicans first demanded spending cuts and no tax increases as a condition for raising the debt ceiling, the President could have blown their cover. He could have shown the American people why this demand had nothing to do with deficit reduction but everything to do with the GOP’s ideological fixation on shrinking the size of the government — thereby imperiling Medicare, Social Security, education, infrastructure, and everything else Americans depend on. But he did not.
And through it all the President could have explained to Americans that the biggest economic challenge we face is restoring jobs and wages and economic growth, that spending cuts in the next few years will slow the economy even further, and therefore that the Republicans’ demands threaten us all. Again, he did not.
The radical right has now won a huge tactical and strategic victory. Democrats and the White House have proven they have little by way of tactics or strategy.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Robert Reich on Obama's "Victory"
Here is the key bit from the latest Robert Reich post in his blog: