When we listened to his stirring speeches on the campaign trail, Barack Obama sounded genuinely progressive. Then he won the presidency and got down to business - Wall Street business.
In a campaign almost as frenzied as the effort to get Barack Obama into the White House, liberal groups are now mobilizing against the White House and reported deals that would cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. They accuse President Obama of being weak and willing to “cave” to corporate and conservative forces bent on cutting the social safety net while protecting the wealthy.
Those accusations are wrong.
The accusations imply that Obama is on our side. Or was on our side. And that the right wing is pushing him around.
But the evidence is clear that Obama is an often-willing servant of corporate interests -- not someone reluctantly doing their bidding, or serving their interests only because Republicans forced him to.
Since coming to Washington, Obama has allied himself with Wall Street Democrats who put corporate deregulation and greed ahead of the needs of most Americans...
...The sad truth ...is that Obama had arrived at the White House looking to make cuts in benefits to the elderly. Two weeks before his inauguration, Obama echoed conservative scares about Social Security and Medicare by talking of “red ink as far as the eye can see.” He opened his doors to Social Security/Medicare cutters -- first trying to get Republican Senator Judd Gregg (“a leading voice for reining in entitlement spending,” wrote Politico) into his cabinet, and later appointing entitlement-foe Alan Simpson to co-chair his “Deficit Commission.” Obama’s top economic advisor, Larry Summers, came to the White House publicly telling Time magazine of needed Social Security cuts.
At this late date, informed activists and voters who care about economic justice realize that President Obama is NOT “on our side.”
What a crushing disappointment. Obama reveals how firmly Washington has embraced corporatism - from its shamelessly politicized Supreme Court to its "bought and paid for" Congress to the White House. All three branches of American government, the vaunted checks and balances, are yoked into service of corporatist interests. Something will fail but it's unclear now whether it will be America's perverted institutions or American democracy.