Obama’s right: Saving the nation is not “class warfare”


Ross Eisenbrey laid it out at the blog of the Economics Policy Institute:

The most important part of [President Obama's] speech in Kansas was probably his attack on the “collective amnesia” that allows some people to continue advocating the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the rich, despite their clear history of failure as a spur to job creation. Obama said:

“Remember in those years, in 2001 and 2003, Congress passed two of the most expensive tax cuts for the wealthy in history. And what did it get us? The slowest job growth in half a century. Massive deficits that have made it much harder to pay for the investments that built this country and provided the basic security that helped millions of Americans reach and stay in the middle class — things like education and infrastructure, science and technology, Medicare and Social Security.”

The president pointed out the folly of pursuing the same kinds of failed “you’re on your own” economic policies that got us into the worst recession in 75 years. Weak regulation helped cause the Great Recession. Why would anyone expect the same policies to get us out?

“Remember that in those same years, thanks to some of the same folks who are now running Congress, we had weak regulation, we had little oversight, and what did it get us? Insurance companies that jacked up people’s premiums with impunity and denied care to patients who were sick, mortgage lenders that tricked families into buying homes they couldn’t afford, a financial sector where irresponsibility and lack of basic oversight nearly destroyed our entire economy.

We simply cannot return to this brand of ‘you’re on your own’ economics if we’re serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country.”

Unsurprisingly, the right wing media, led by Fox News, wants to take us right back to the kind of Bushonomics that crashed the economy in 2007. Progressive taxation doesn’t sit well with Fox’s high-income anchors, let alone its billionaire owner, Rupert Murdoch. As our friends at Media Matters document nicely, Fox immediately launched a broadside against the president and the notion of tax fairness, misquoting him when it was convenient, and accusing him of class warfare and socialism.

One might almost lament that Obama lacks opposition in the primaries; debates featuring Republicans drive sane thought off of the news pages.  None of the Republican candidates appears to subscribe to the free enterprise economics of Milton Friedman and/or Paul Samuelson, for example.  The radical right wing, experimental economics bandied about in the debates stands perpendicular to free market economics as practiced successfully in the U.S. and other places over the past 40 years — but with every Republican candidate so far out on the radical economic scale, it might appear to a non-careful reader that they speak Mainstream.

Wholly apart from the disastrous economics of “off-budget” warfare given to us by Republicans, the policies of Republicans gave us an economic disaster in 2008.  As a nation we have not moved far enough to correct those errors, and now Republicans block the action of the consumer protection agency designed to prevent another housing bubble to burst America’s economic dreams.

Polls show Americans don’t think Obama deserves a second term.  I find it hard to believe that a majority of voters will choose to go back to the disaster that Obama hasn’t been able to fix, however.  Americans are not quite that stupid, I hope.

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4 Responses to Obama’s right: Saving the nation is not “class warfare”

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Obama hasn’t had a “solid” Democratic majority from the start. The Senate was split by party, but controlled by conservatives from January 3, 2009 — they had an 18-day head start on Obama, and the Republicans have done absolutely everything they can to derail any proposal to get us out of the doldrums.

    Worse, I suppose, would be a Republican who pledges to cave to the problem. Trickle down policies are at the root of our economic woes, and contrary to all the standard, free-market economic models. Yet, that’s what Republicans propose. I don’t think the radical social and economic engineering Republicans propose have any chance of doing anything other than plunging us over another cliff.

    Weak federal regulatory oversight was a key problem that got us into this mess. Reducing regulation is a recipe for greater disaster.

    But most people flunked high school economics, it appears from discussion — at least, most conservatives did.

    I’m not overly hopeful for the nation. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have promised to get Obama, as Limbaugh said, to “make him fail,” even if it brings down our nation. Lamar Alexander backed off that make-America-fail pledge, but I don’t think that’s enough to save us.

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  2. “Polls show Americans don’t think Obama deserves a second term.”

    Well that’s because if you look at objective economic data, he doesn’t deserve a second term.

    “I find it hard to believe that a majority of voters will choose to go back to the disaster that Obama hasn’t been able to fix, however.”

    I think the operative phrase here is “Obama hasn’t been able to fix.” I’d also add the fact that he hasn’t been able to fix it in 3 years and that unemployment is at 8.6% – almost a percentage point higher than when he started (7.8%). And the main reason that it came down recently is because more people exited the labor force than became employed (i.e., the denominator effect).

    Sure he inherited a mess, but he’s had three years to fix it, with a solid Democratic majority for two of those three years.

    The only reason Obama will still likely win the election has nothing to do with his economic record (it is an embarrashment), but more to do with the fact that the Republican Party is not putting anyone up against him aside from Romney or Huntsman who doesn’t seem insane.

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  3. [...] OK, granting the, err, his premise, then the question might be why does he engage in it so frequently? This entry is filed under Links, Mark O.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. Leave a Reply [...]

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  4. [...] granting the, err, his premise, then the question might be why does he engage in it so [...]

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