What Is Obama Getting?

By James Kwak

Nothing, as far as I can tell.

The media are reporting the potential Obama-Boehner deal as $3 trillion in spending cuts and $1 trillion in unspecified future revenue increases. But as far as I can tell (details are vague), the baseline for that $1 trillion tax increase is a world in which all of the Bush/Obama tax cuts are extended.*

President Obama can personally guarantee that none of those tax cuts will be extended, simply by promising to veto any bill that extends them. That would increase tax revenues by $3-4 trillion over ten years, not $1 trillion. That is enormous bargaining leverage against a Republican Party that only cares about one thing: tax cuts.

So as far as I can tell, Obama is handing the Republicans $3 trillion in spending cuts, and also handing them $3 trillion in tax cuts. There are only two possible interpretations that I can think of. One: Obama thinks this is the best deal he can get — but if that’s the case, then you have to ask why his starting point wasn’t letting all of the tax cuts expire. Two: Obama thinks this is a good outcome.

But this certainly isn’t a progressive outcome. And giving up $3 trillion in revenues isn’t a fiscally responsible outcome, either. So what does that say?

* That’s how Ezra Klein reads it.

58 responses to “What Is Obama Getting?

  1. It says “someone left the cake out in the rain,” James. Think about it.

  2. Third possibility: Obama does not know what he is doing

  3. Also, at this point every action he takes is about one and only one thing: November 2012. So whatever he did here must be analyzed from that perspective.

  4. zerospinboson

    Simple: He’s getting the social security and medicare and whatever else is being-cuts he wants. That is what he is after, and that is why he refused McConnell’s free debt ceiling increase deal.
    Consider: there was no reason whatsoever to turn this into a crisis, except that both parties wanted to turn it into a crisis. (It wasn’t just the GOP)

    See this article: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/07/so-what-might-happen-if-we-get-to-august-3-with-no-deficit-deal.html

    Yves Smith: “But this “all in” strategy is by design. Obama has long wanted entitlement “reform,” as in gutting; Paul Jay of Real News Network pointed out to me today that Obama told conservatives at a dinner hosted by George Will in the first week after his inauguration that he planned to turn to it once he got the economy in better shape.”

  5. Sounds like a Win-Win to me. :) Tax Cuts – Spending Cuts! Life is Good!

    Not sure how you consider keeping the tax rates at current levels a tax cut. If congress allows them to expire that would be a tax increase.

  6. Sounds like it’s time to dump Obama. He is GWB light (or is it dark?).

    Why should granny have to give up any of her social security benefits when the scheisters who caused this mess get trillions of dollars from the Fed?

  7. Obama really had a lot of us fooled. His problem in 2012 will be that, when people figure out that he scammed them in 2008, they will make him pay either by staying home on election day (my current plan), or voting for the lunatic Republican. He’s about my age, way too young to retire, but it’s the lecture circuit for him in January 2013. Good riddance.

  8. What is Obama getting? Re-election.

  9. i dont think there’s a deal…boehner doesnt control the tea party, nor the house Dems who will all vote against it…

  10. @rjs: I am also skeptical that this deal will actually happen, but it does seem to be what Obama wants. I think that if Obama and Boehner strike a deal, the Democrats will be free to say to Boehner: “It’s your deal, you have the majority, so you pass it.”

  11. It certainly would be fitting if the giant gift Obama is trying to hand the Republicans (and I do agree with those who say he actually wants to gut social spending) was torpedoed by the same Tea Party that those Republicans nurtured in the first place.

    I’m a bit puzzled by how Obama thinks he’s going to get re-elected next year with unemployment still sitting at around 10% and older Americans having just watched him help cut their Medicare and SS, no matter how many television commercials he can afford to buy. Especially if he ends up with one of the less obviously insane Republican candidates as his opponent.

  12. zerospinboson

    michael: Have you read your president’s ‘defense’ of it yet? http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2011-07-21-obama-debt-ceiling-debate_n.htm
    To wit: “This debate offers the chance to put our economy on stronger footing, restore a sense of fairness in our country, and secure a better future for our children.”

  13. zerospinboson

    This interview with Randy Wray (prof economics, Univ Missouri) is fairly interesting on this topic: https://s3.amazonaws.com/benzingaradio/Attention/randall-wray-071111.mp3

  14. The only tax hike that Obama can provide simply through a veto is across all incomes affected by the Bush cuts. He has committed to preserving cuts for everybody below $200k-$250k. The GOP would be just as happy having Obama raise everybody’s taxes as having him raise nobody’s, because they’d go into the next election crowing about a tax hikes to people who would be mad about tax hikes. Whatever one may think about the virtue (or lack of virtue) in tax cuts for the middle class, the politics of such tax cuts is clear. Obama needs to be able to legislate a tax hike for the rich, not for the middle, and he can’t. In fact, his targeting of high end tax cuts for elimination may be a motivating factor behind the “no revenue” stance of the GOP. Fun to watch Norquist dance around the issue, though.

  15. I voted for him in 200. But won’t in 2012. I am that independent he is trying to appeal too. This quote rings true for him.

    .”Suppose you were and idiot, Suppose your a member of congress or president. But I repeat myself.”

  16. Obama gets to do what the powerful always like to do: take a little more from the weak. We’ll show him though. We’ll elect a conservative that wants to pay the rich to live here and cut every penny that goes to anyone that isn’t obscenely wealthy.

    After all, that’s the American Dream these days. If you can’t join the rich, then at least let them walk on your back as you prostrate yourself before them.

  17. “In return for his unflinching service to big business, Mr. Obama has been handsomely rewarded through generous infusion of cash contributions to his reelection campaign, more than twice as much as that of all the Republican candidates combined.”

    “Despite his success in outdoing his Republican rivals in winning the trust and the cash contributions of the Wall Street, Mr. Obama has nonetheless been uncharacteristically agitated during the ongoing budget negotiations. For example, he angrily walked out of a meeting with the Republican leaders on July 13 when the discussion to raise the debt ceiling broke down. Lashing out at the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), the President blurted out, “don’t call my bluff,” adding that he would veto any short-term bill that Cantor sent him. The president “lit up Eric Cantor like he’s never been lit up,” wrote Joe Klein of the New York Times. The question is why? Why has the usually unflappable President been unusually edgy during these negotiations?”

    “I suspect the reason is that his plan to camouflage his big cuts in social spending by wrapping them up in a token or fake tax hike on the wealthy has been exposed by the Tea Party elements of the Republican Party who adamantly opposed any change in taxation, thereby depriving him of the cover he needed to misrepresent his budget plan: pretending that he was fighting “the Republican budget cutters” on behalf of the working people while feverishly working to serve the corporate welfare system.”

    “Two conclusions can be drawn from this brief discussion.
    First, it is obvious, as many others have pointed out, the debt ceiling “crisis” is used as a charade by the bipartisan policy makers in both the White House and the Congress in order to recoup from the working and needy people the trillions of dollars they gave (and are still giving) to Wall Street gamblers, to the beneficiaries of war and militarism, and to the super-rich (in the form of huge tax breaks). By the same token, it is also obvious that most of the bipartisan posturing and wrangling, significantly heightened and mystified by the corporate media, is designed to scare the people of a “looming debt crisis,” to hide their real intentions of cutting the people’s bread and butter, and to endear themselves to big business in pursuit of cash contributions for their reelection.”

    “Second, the labor and liberal supporters of President Obama have an important lesson to learn from these budget negotiations: that his economic (like his foreign) policies are not any different than those of his Neoliberal/Neoconservative colleagues in the Republican Party, that his allegiance and dedication is primarily to the corporate welfare system, and that it is time to come out of the denial of these facts, and not waste their votes on Obama in the next presidential election.”

    http://www.counterpunch.com/zadeh07222011.html

  18. Like most Democrats, Obama believes in right-wing economics. He’s got the Dems in his back pocket and he knows it. They will all end up voting for him because God forbid we have another Republican president that would not be able to get what Obama has given.

    He aims for the independent vote and gets re-elected. Then his proponents can claim him as one of the great presidents in history, bringing America healthcare, securing SS and MediC forever by reaching across the aisle as the Great Compromiser and shooting Osama bin Laden right between the eyes. What more could a president do?

    Obama 2012!!!!

    I’m going Green.

  19. Well, maybe it’s time for third party independent candidate.. Actually he/she won’t be third party.. you have one business-party with two fractions who are competing who will give better blow-job to their patrons..

  20. Senate rejects House GOP budget-cutting plan, cancels weekend sessions — The 51-46 party-line Senate vote, and a decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to cancel weekend Senate sessions, left unresolved the urgent issue of how to lift the nation’s borrowing powers to avoid a first-ever U.S. default on Aug. 3.

    The moves also cleared the way for private negotiations between the president, Boehner and other key players. But neither the president nor the speaker was openly optimistic that they would succeed.

    Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters that, despite reports that Obama and he were closing in on a $3 trillion deficit-reduction deal, “There was no agreement, publicly, privately, never an agreement, and frankly not close to an agreement. So I suggest it’s going to be a hot weekend here in Washington, D.C.”

    http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2011/07/senate_rejects_house_gop_budge.html
    Published: Friday, July 22, 2011, 4:24 PM

  21. There’s really no excuse for not having said anything on the Greek deal yet guys….

  22. I agree with Anon, when I heard that a 70% hair cut on principle ( that’s 30 cents on the dollar) was rejected as not being sufficient enough to solve the problem. I thought my word, what a problem, and we can’t even work a deal EXCLUDING the unfunded liabilites. I guess earle was right some years back, that a dollar gets a dime….and i’ll add, to solve a crime or do some time.

  23. Binky the cranky bear

    Maybe Obama really is playing 11 dimensional chess and he just shoved his rook down Boehner’s throat. Knowing that the GOP couldn’t put anything in play thanks to the teatards, Obama could offer anything, including and especially the untouchable family jewels of the New Deal-Great Society social safety nets, the things that make rightards drool to think of squeezing. Is this Obama’s Samuel L. Jackson moment?

    Say what again, Boehner, I double dare you!

  24. just another update:
    Boehner quits debt talks with Obama: http://news.yahoo.com/obama-press-statement-2200-gmt-220257502.html

    anon @ 7:01: rebecca wilder has the lowdown on the eurozone plan: http://www.newsneconomics.com/2011/07/latest-eurozone-response-one-step.html

  25. If only Obama had fought half as hard for Elizabeth Warren or for Medicare for all as he’s fought for cuts in Social Security. That would never happen, I know, but it would have been nice.

  26. Count de Money

    Mr. Kwak:

    Agree or disagree (and there are two points made)?

    “Anything we do with Social Security has to be done together in a bipartisan way,” (Rep. Dave Camp, R. MI; Chairman, House Ways and Means Committee) said. “But clearly, the current path we’re on with Social Security is not sustainable.”

    – Quoted in Bloomberg:

    “Republican Camp Predicts Debt Ceiling Increase, Urges Overhaul of Tax Code”
    By Richard Rubin – Jul 22, 2011 10:48 AM ET

  27. At this point, with Boehner walking out of talks earlier today, one must ask if anyone at all knows what they are doing. The President has made it clear that some of any debt reduction must occur on the revenue side of the equation, and virtually anyone who is not allied with Grover or the Tea Party completely agrees. Sadly, though, it seems that it’s a good bet that this tragedy is likely to last beyond the August 2nd deadline. It’s hard to see how anything else is possible at this point, since all parties seem to have painted themselves irretrievably into their own corners. All but Bernie Sanders, that is.

  28. Henry S. Cole, Ph.D.

    The problem has been long in coming. Instead of mobilizing the base that elected him last year, the President decided to take a middle road; the problem is that when you concede without fully exercising the power you have is that the opposition tastes blood, likes the taste and goes after more. In addition, could have played the unemployment card to the hilt and used his bully pulpit to point out the job losses that Republican governors and legislatures are creating in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida. The polls all show that the public has been more concerned about unemployment than deficit spending. The question is why Obama didn’t use the tools at his disposal and why he is so willing to leave his party out in the cold. This is no way to achieve party unity.

    The answers to these questions probably have more to do with politics than policy, promises made or Mr. Obama’s leadership style. Obama, a political wizard, is clearly worried about the role of money in politics. The Republicans are likely to get a lot of corporate and right wing PAC money; however, Obama is counting on the less ideological side of American business leaders to swing his way; but he can’t do it by moving toward the left wing base. He is also paying attention to independents whose votes he will need. There are serious downsides to this approach. He is alienating part of his base that got him elected in 2008.

    It is easy to criticize the President; but he is facing major challenges. We progressives must share the blame. We put our energy into the 2008 elections, won big and went to sleep hoping that Obama would come through for us. In the mean time the right used the left’s most powerful asset — grassroots organizing and took over the House of Representatives and moved closer to controlling the Senate. We need to take a lesson from the Tea Party, its funders and allies.

    Henry S. Cole, publisher Ekos-Square Blog. http://ecosquared.wordpress.com/

  29. Johnnystdean

    Obama wants to use the pulpit against the Republicans like Clinton did.

  30. Obama,… the greatest “faux-naif” imposter of the 21st century! A truly gifted anomaly with a dual purpose orifice — a hind-quarter “Jim Carey ” thing? (Nature Calls)

    Thankyou James and Simon

  31. President Boehner walked out on some guy named Obama today. Who made Boehner President? That Obama guy did.

  32. What is that saying? Obama is a DINO (Democrat in Name Only). Or just seriously confused!

    What the people want is continually misrepresented, by my observations. (I would back this up with poll data, but I happily don’t do data while I’m on summer vacation from grad school.)

    Anyway, most people who want to work/used to work are focused on job creation, keeping a roof over our heads, procurement of food, gas, and other necessities of life. The consensus I’ve heard is that a rise in the debt ceiling is inevitable, and that’s a better outcome than default. Getting a handle on the national debt depends on tax revenues coming in, which would also reduce the deficit between what the government is committed to pay (interest on the debt, etc) and the revenue with which the bills will be paid.

    We have heard wealthy people say they would not mind if the Bush tax cuts expired, and that they would not really be impacted negatively if that happened. Other people also say that a modest rise in taxes would not cause the world to end.

    However, we know that cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other necessary support services (such as education) would hurt a large segment of our population, and ultimately negatively impact the entire population.

    Obama said today that he would be cool with just a rise in the debt ceiling, and then work on the deficit and debt separately. Why is that not simply OK, for now ?

  33. Moses Herzog

    Do I respect President Obama, our nation’s leader??? Without a doubt, YES. Do I think that sometimes highly intelligent people walk into losing situations again and again and again only to lose for the umpteenth time??? President Obama, next time you walk into negotiations with the Republican leadership, think about Lucy the Republican placeholder:

    I agree with commenter Pasquale that policy lies often do not reach as he says “critical mass”. Illiterate, uneducated whites who were probably lucky to make it through high school (95% of FOX news audience) will believe to their dying day there is a “death panel” right now, planning how to rob them of their beer floated liver and cigarette ash trashed lungs.

    The same as the uneducated whites watching FOX news believe President Obama is rubbing his hands evilly, with his devil horns he only exposes to advisers, planning how to expand “big government”. It is still extremely extremely important those Republican policy lies are pointed out and highlighted for those who spend too much time watching Oprah’s new cable channel or “Dancing With the Flakes” but still have the ability to read (the few times they choose to exercise that ability).

    I would like to point out here that Republican Eric Cantor is currently shorting U.S. Treasuries.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/08/eric-cantor-conflict-interest-debt-limit_n_893354.html

    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/06/27/eric_cantor_conflict_of_interest

    What would have happened if a Democrat had pulled the stunt of shorting U.S. Treasuries at the same time he is participating in deficit talks??? Imagine what Rupert Murdoch’s FOX news would have said if Barney Frank had pulled the same stunt. It would have been on all 3 network evening news shows by now.

    Eric Cantor personally benefits from the failure of U.S. Bonds and the MSM is like “I didn’t see anything, did you see anything?? No I didn’t see anything.” It’s interesting to note that Eric Cantor worked as an intern for Tom Bliley. Yes, that Tom Bliley of Gramm–Leach–Bliley, the law that allowed large banks do screw the American taxpayer by trading credit default swaps.

    Here is also a doozy of a post related to raising revenues at blog “Deus Ex Macchiato” where he lifts a small part of Chrystia Freeland’s interview with Cornell Economist Robert Frank. I’m just going to copy and past the entire part “Machiatto” put on his blog, and pray it doesn’t make him or Miss Freeland angry:

    CHRYSTIA FREELAND: If the super-talented are getting super rewards, maybe in the past they were not getting the appropriate rewards. I mean, maybe this is really American capitalism working the way most Americans want it to work…
    CHRYSTIA FREELAND: People don’t work for money?
    ROBERT H. FRANK: They do work for money. So if you didn’t give them any money, they — but there’s this odd vision that if the forty vice presidents of a big corporation who want to be CEO faced a slightly higher tax rate, they’d all knock off on Friday and play golf in the afternoon. There are lots of reasons to want to be the CEO of a big company. After-tax pay is not the primary one among them.
    CHRYSTIA FREELAND: You don’t think you would have a sort of Atlas Shrugged-esque strike of the super-competent?
    ROBERT H. FRANK: Absolutely you wouldn’t see that. Let one of those forty vice presidents go on strike. The other thirty-nine will silently cheer. “That means my chances of moving up just went up a little bit,” they’ll say.
    Now of course we all know those 40 would go to golf anyway and bill the company, which is to say the shareholders, for that trip – team building you know – but that is beside the point. Let’s call those VPs bluff, tax them, and see how much more golf they decide play.

    Here is the original link at Reuters: http://blogs.reuters.com/chrystia-freeland/2011/07/08/the-winner-take-all-economy/

    I certainly am no John Boehner fan, but looking at this more and more, it looks like Eric Cantor is the selfish basturd who is throwing the monkey wrench into the deficit negotiations. IF America defaults on its debt, I think we know exactly who to look at. Hint: His middle name is Ivan.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-cantor-boehner-20110712,0,2176610.story

    For reasons already stated above:
    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/06/27/eric_cantor_conflict_of_interest

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2010/06/18/eric-cantors-investment/

    http://pfds.opensecrets.org/N00013131_2010.pdf

  34. I really only see two ways to interpret Obama’s economic policies: Either he is incompetent in representing the interests of Main Street, or he is complicit with the aims of the bankster gang.

    Like “jd,” I voted for Obama in 2008. It will not happen again. If there is not an appealing 3rd party candidate or a more honorable and progressive Democrat than Obama, I plan to write-in Bernie Sanders in 2012. *** Again, under NO circumstances will I vote for Obama again. When he appointed Timmy-the-tax-cheat as Secretary of the Treasury, I knew the public had been had.

  35. Moses Herzog

    Lucy of “Peanuts”, doing her imitation of Republican leaders (excuse 20 second commercial):
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1857171/its_the_great_pumpkin_charlie_brown_football/

  36. Moses Herzog

    Alan Grayson on KPFK’s truthdig. http://archive.kpfk.org/parchive/mp3/kpfk_110720_140045truthdig.MP3

    Hey Florida dumb-a.s.s.e.s!!! Yes, you Florida dumb-a.s.s.e.s who didn’t read the newspaper and vote in 2010. Grow a damned brain and vote Grayson next time he runs. Then maybe the banks won’t illegally foreclose on (i.e. steal) your homes, and your 401(K) won’t go to pay large banks’ derivatives losses.

  37. Moses, I think you have to many political irons in the fire to actually be objective about it all. Sort of like helping put an unqualified senator up for the job of president solely because he can’t do the job.

    And earle, I came across this politician running for president, who obviously could talk the political talk, but as I listened on, I found he can walk the political walk too. He knew exactly which parts of bills to scrap to keep the bill in tact, but eliminate the tax loopholes inserted as pork. Anyone not having this type o knowledge shouldn’t even be considered for pres. Because the opposition will tear one apart trying to find the answers, as they wheel and deal with the 1%ers on wall street insulating their money and percieved power. His name is Buddy Roemer and is a lone ranger just starting a campaign out in N.H. My Uncle Charlie from Boston tip me off. I was a die hard New Englander as a youth also.

  38. Let me reiterate,… the final waltz has been danced, and painstakingly the guest gleefully and gitty exit the hall (Barn). The maximum press has been played – all hail the Murdock’s & MSM. Analogous to a finely choreographed amnesty,… as in grinding and squeezing out the bitter-sweet taste of a unambiguous defeat! How strange? Alas, all feel the relief of having danced the nights away on the taxpayers’ dimed-dreams. God bless, ” DC` Rock and Roll”! No hangover, no remorse, just a bunch of strange-bedfellows burying the hatchet in the great (BARN) hall closet for the next charade, one calls “Dancing with the Wolfs”. Conciliatory back-slaps of a job well-done, sheparding the mindless flock nearer the precipice of admirable capitulation,… mission accomplished as the hall (Barn) doors are barred shut with nye, not even a post.
    All has been set long ago,… the masters are home, and time to move on. The debt ceiling gets a half-ass pass, all the senate takes up vote tuesday through wednesday, and passes this thing that not even the congress has seen! Pathetic what our Republic has become, simply pathetic! (JMHO)

    Thankyou James and Simon

  39. BRUCE E. WOYCH

    It is all one big choreographed act. A default will hurt big Daddy War-Bucks more than it will qualitatively hurt the rising dis-enfranchised…but it will make them more potentially explosive and violent (ironically moving from irrational “towards” rational in such a game theory projection?)

    …in any case, it is all a ploy to have Obama do what he “was placed into office” to do…cut the Peter G. Peterson defined “entitlements” from supporting a middle class economy and decrease domestic security. There would be some justice to this whole “histrionic enactment” if the country finally woke up and kicked down the doors of Congress and the White House and put some intelligent chimpanzees in there to take over the country till the next election!

    AKA; He will definitely cut domestic spending at a time when the infrastructure requires that liquidity. The real problem is how to put on such a “show” that we will thank him for doing it! It’s all the biggest show on earth and the three rings are the biggest three card Monty game in the history of political extortion and confidence peddling! What does it take for the country to realize that the executive office was “captured” by big money and power politics of the military-industrial-security complex; and that the entire operation is one great control fraud over global expansion and domestic subjugation.

  40. BRUCE E. WOYCH

    Hi Hopes to everyone; we have a vision…we have a burden;…hay have to admit that we had a bad deal in losing our homes and everything we live upon in the recent past…

    …but we can not live in the past…we must move on…with our eyes on the future;…yes, we will have to sacrifice…but that is the American way…the truth will prevail…

    …and it is our destiny to accept the trials of our times for the greater promised land of a golden future for all the world…and make no mistake about it…there is evil in the world…and we must live in an imperfect world with limited reason to handle it against that evil. But our special burden will be to accept our suffering in the name of America Interests and the vision of God’s children that those interests represent in this world of global affairs riddled with tensions…

    …and we will not rest until every terrorist is dead and our drones are safe for the domestic defense front against any waves of unrest that face our great nation….

    As we set forth on a new beginning…etc.

    Sound familiar?

    Check out the “armor plated hypocrisy” and more of the hypnotic trance banalities of Obama: @

    THE OBAMA SYNDROME: SURRENDER AT HOME, WAR ABROAD.
    by Tariq Ali 2010

  41. BRUCE E. WOYCH

    Updated version in September:

    continues the critique in real time:
    …Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency by promising to escalate the war in Afghanistan, and his economic team brought the architects of the financial crisis into the White House. Small wonder then that the “War on Terror”—torture in Bagram, occupation in Iraq, appeasement in Israel, and escalation in Pakistan—continues. And that Wall Street and the country’s biggest corporations have all profited at the expense of America’s working class and poor.

    Now a thoroughly updated paperback continues the story through the midterms, including a trenchant analysis of the Tea Party, and Obama’s decision to continue with his predecessor’s tax cuts for the rich. Ali asks whether—in the absence of a progressive upheaval from below—US politics is permanently mired in moderate Republicanism. Already called “a comprehensive account” of the problems with Obama (The Huffington Post), this new edition is sure to provide a more “powerful boost to Obama dissenters on the left” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
    See all Editorial Reviews

  42. “MICHAEL HUDSON: He’s quite right. This is an awful piece of legislation, and it’s too bad that Mr. Obama supports it. But you could see it all coming even before Mr. Obama took office, when he appointed the Deficit Reduction Commission. He appointed opponents of Social Security to the commission: Republican Senator Simpson and Erskine Bowles, who was Clinton’s chief of staff. Obama really believes in trickle-down economics. He believes that Wall Street are job creators, not downsizers and outsourcers and foreclosures. That’s the tragedy of all this.”

    “Now, how—the question is, how can a Democratic president put forth a Republican program? There has to be a crisis. Now in reality there is no crisis at all. In reality, raising the debt ceiling has been done for a hundred years automatically. There is no connection between raising the debt ceiling and arguing over tax policy. Tax policy takes many years to work out. All of a sudden, Mr. Obama is going along with the charade of saying, “Wait a minute, let’s create a crisis.” As his former manager Rahm Emanuel said, a crisis is too important an opportunity to waste. But Wall Street doesn’t like real crises, so there’s an artificial non-crisis that Obama is treating as a crisis so that he can put forth the recommendations of the Deficit Reduction Commission to get rid of Social Security that he has supported all along. That’s the problem. He believes it.”

    http://michael-hudson.com/2011/07/save-the-gambling-bankers/

  43. “Obama’s embrace of “shovel-ready” infrastructure, for example, left America with an economy based on shovels while China’s long-term strategy has given that country an economy based on 21st-century Maglev trains. Now that the resort to mega-deficits has run its course, Obama is on the verge of abandoning the poor and middle class, by agreeing with the plutocrats in Congress to cut spending on Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and discretionary civilian spending, while protecting the military and the low tax rates on the rich (if not lowering those top tax rates further according to the secret machinations of the Gang of Six, now endorsed by the president!)”

    “Who runs America today? The rich and the multinational corporations. Who runs the White House? David Plouffe, whose job it is to make sure that ever word, every action of the president is calculated for electoral gain rather than the country’s needs. Who runs the Congress, on both sides of the aisle? The lobbyists, who win in every negotiation. And who loses? The American people, who have said repeatedly that they want a budget that sharply cuts the military, ends the wars, raises taxes on the rich, protects the poor and the middle class, and invests in America’s future not just in Obama’s speeches but in fact.”

    “America needs a third-party movement to break the hammerlock of the financial elites. Until that happens, the political class and the media conglomerates will continue to spew lies, American militarism will continue to destabilize a growing swath of the world, and the country will continue its economic decline.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/budgetary-deceit-and-amer_b_907684.html

  44. BRUCE E. WOYCH

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=33&Itemid=74&jumival=754

    A Collection of Debt Ceiling Stories

    July 22, 2011:

    Obama and the “Gang of Six”

    James K. Galbraith: “Gang of Six” Plan is all about cuts not increased taxes; Obama represents Wall Street faction of Democratic Party July 21, 2011

    Moody’s Says Problem is Not the Debt, it’s the Debt Ceiling

    Mark Weisbrot: The debt ceiling debate is a manufactured crisis July 19, 2011

    Debt Ceiling Debate “Fraud”

    David Swanson: Polling shows majority of Americans want to tax the rich and cut the military before making social program cuts July 17, 2011

    Obama Sells Politics of Austerity

    Tom Ferguson: 69% of Americans aren’t wrong opposing more debt, there are other choices July 11, 2011

    Debt Ceiling Charade a Move to the Right

    Michael Hudson: Panic about debt ceiling used to attack social programs; no real need for more borrowing July 12, 11

    Greece–a Dress Rehearsal for United States

    Michael Hudson: Cuts to Social Security and Medicare and privatization at the state level mirror strategy imposed on Greece July 11, 2011

    Toronto G-20: Denying Civil Rights is a Crime

    Paul Jay: Responsibility for G-20 “Days of Infamy” mainly RCMP and Federal Gov. July 6, 2011

    Wisconsin Cuts Public School Budget

    Governor Walker’s approved Wisconsin State Budget includes deep spending cuts in public education, expansion of “Voucher School” Program June 29, 11

    Sovereign Debt Crisis Excuse to Re-fight Thatcher-Reagan Wars

    Bill Janeway: No realistic chance that US or UK will default on debt but threat used to achieve Reagan-Thatcher objectives April 12, 2011

    Wrestle Mania Over Debt Ceiling

    Tom Ferguson: All the insiders in DC already know the outcome of Debt Ceiling Debate July 23, 11

    Republicans’ Deficit Ceiling Bluff an Attack on Social Security

    William K. Black: Forces pushing for cuts in social security preparing conditions for its demise January 4, 2011

    Is Unemployment “Natural”?

    Bubbles Make Rich Richer Pt.2. Austerity measures will create higher “natural unemployment” October 19, 2010

    Austerity Budget Means More Unemployment

    Dean Baker: Obama is arguing on the Republican’s turf, he’s lost control of the debate February 14, 2011

    Cutting Public Sector Wages Will Make Recession Worse

    Bob Pollin and Jeff Thompson: Public sector wages are not higher than comparable private sector; cuts will fuel recession February 25, 2011

    Austerity Hawks Want a Return to 1920′s Capitalism

    James Crotty: Objective of austerity campaign is a return to unregulated capitalism and weak unions May 5, 2011

    High Deficits were the Objective of Right Economics

    James Crotty: High deficits

  45. BRUCE E. WOYCH

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/07/21-6

    Published on Thursday, July 21, 2011 by The Guardian/UK
    Barack Obama is Gutting the Core Principles of the Democratic Party
    The president’s attacks on America’s social safety net are destroying the soul of the Democratic party’s platform
    by Glenn Greenwald

  46. Micheal Jordon

    Who predicted the hanes stinkin bottom.

  47. Obama will not be re-elected unless the TeaTards grace him with a Krazy Kandidate.

    That’s why his moves are both bad policies and worse politics. He never had more than 20% chance of being re-elected given the messes he inherited. But he hasn’t ever pivoted to jobs, because he must not want to be re-elected or he and his team are only about 20% as smart as they think they are.

    Granted if unemployment is 7.5% next August and Palin or Bachmann is his opponent he’ll be re-elected. But neither of those are likely and neither would be the result of any smooth moves Team Obama made.

    It’s a very possible scenario that Obama will find out this week that, for much different reasons, he’s maneuvered himself to the exact place Carter did in 1979. Events overtaking him and very thin support from his own team. He’s done nothing in terms of constituent service (taking care of the base), between good, indifferent, and bad choices on economic policy and appointments his high water mark is indifferent.

    If unemployment is over 9 pct in January – very likely – his own party will start running against his record, primaried or not.

    He’s a disaster, even to himself.
    “I’m a bit puzzled by how Obama thinks he’s going to get re-elected next year with unemployment still sitting at around 10% and older Americans having just watched him help cut their Medicare and SS, no matter how many television commercials he can afford to buy. Especially if he ends up with one of the less obviously insane Republican candidates as his opponent.”

  48. @ Los: good one, there, pal! LOL

  49. BRUCE E. WOYCH

    (1)
    LIFTING THE VEIL:
    This film explores the historical role of the Democratic Party as the graveyard of social movements, the massive influence of corporate finance in elections, the absurd disparities of wealth in the United States, the continuity and escalation of neocon policies under Obama, the insufficiency of mere voting as a path to reform, and differing conceptions of democracy itself.
    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/lifting-the-veil/

    (2)
    ZEITGEIST: Moving Forward
    Produced by Peter Joseph
    http://www.sprword.com/videos/zeitgeistmovingforward/

  50. BRUCE E. WOYCH

    Subscribe to Obama’s speeches
    In Obama’s Words
    Explore key speeches
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    http://projects.washingtonpost.com/obama-speeches/advanced-search/ (link to main page)
    In Obama’s Words
    Explore key speeches
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    PATTERNED AND PLOTTED: Promises through Compromise, recapitulation to capitulation…Con Game writ large!
    http://projects.washingtonpost.com/obama-speeches/speech/533/

  51. Obama is getting reelected, if all goes according to his plan. The people are getting nothing.

    “…whether or not Obama wins in 2012, the inequalities that afflict us will get worse and that the prospects for everyone not at the top of the income and wealth distribution will become increasingly bleak. They realize too that our Commander-in-Chief, in thrall to the “defense” industry and the Pentagon brass, will not end or even diminish the self-defeating and manifestly indefensible wars he inherited; his Nobel Prize notwithstanding. Quite the contrary, he’ll rebrand those wars or expand them, while getting new ones – some secret, some not — going. They know too that our government’s post 9/11 assault on civil liberties will get worse, that environmental policies will continue to fall short of what is urgently needed, and that, in nearly all significant respects, a truly awful status quo will continue for an indefinite future.”

    http://www.counterpunch.com/levine07252011.html

  52. “But of course, it is all about the banks. Wall Street knows that to get sufficient Congressional votes to roll back the New Deal, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, a Democratic president needs to be in office. A Democratic Congress would block any Republican president trying to make the kind of cuts that Obama is sponsoring. But Congressional Democratic opposition is paralyzed when President Obama himself – the liberal president par excellence, America’s Tony Blair – acts as cheerleader for cutting back entitlements and other social spending.”

    http://www.counterpunch.com/hudson07262011.html

  53. “GOP Debt Ceiling Plan to Be ‘Last One Standing’ – to Obama’s Delight –By Lori Price, http://www.legitgov.org 26 Jul 2011 House Speaker John Boehner’s plan will likely be the ‘last one standing’ — one that President Obama must accept or face ‘default’ aka the pseudo-crisis created by and for the GOP — and that is exactly the scenario he wants. Seeking political cover, Obama said he would veto earlier austere Boehner (R-OH) plans. That was never his actual intention, as he could have exposed the hypocrisy of the debt-ceiling self-generated crisis and invoked the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. The stage is set for Obama to give away the store to the Tea Party-pwned GOP and appear to be the ‘adult in the room.’ ”

    http://www.legitgov.org/GOP-Debt-Ceiling-Plan-Be-Last-One-Standing-Obamas-Delight

  54. Thomas Paine

    The people rallied to overthrow all known incumbents (both sides) during a time of profound fear and generationally-historic risk (two wars, impending economic collapse) for an unknown, untested, unproven young man whose only meaningful claim to office was an eloquent promise of “real change.” That man did not return the belief, faith or commitment to the people who had elected him. Worse than failing to bring “real change,” he failed to even try. What a shame.

  55. Bruce E. Woych

    The “OTHER”
    Michael W.Hudson is a former Wall Street economist AND JOURNALIST.
    “THE MONSTER: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America – And Spawned a Global Crisis” (2010, Times Books

  56. James Crabtree

    How would you propose forcing businesses to keep their production levels the same, much less increase them, if they can operate in foreign countries with lower taxes? Raise taxes on business? Force the businesses to outsource even more.

  57. zerospinboson

    Crabtree: are you aware of the fact that Congress is currently paying companies money to outsource, by giving them tax breaks for moving jobs abroad?