During Sunday’s Pre Super Bowl Interview with Bill O’Reilly, Barack Obama said a few things that jumped off the screen. Among them, on offhand comment in response to O’Reilly’s suggestion that the President had grown more guarded since becoming President. Obama said “Well, I think what is true is that, when you're in this job, everything you say could affect markets.”
I think the time has passed where Obama’s allegiance to Wall Street over Main Street just might cost him the 2012 election. While the administration continues to point out that Obama’s maneuvers in the mine field left him by that Texas Village idiot avoided the Second Great Depression, the barometer they are using to judge our recovery are only important to the great Gatsby white glove top hat strata of our society. Yes a good portion of the middle class has their retirement linked, via a 401K plan, to the health of the Dow Jones, growing legions of that dwindling middle class do not have the luxury of looking to the horizon.
Predatory lending practices have left many in underwater mortgages- loosing sleep over the moral quandary of walking away where, if a corporation were in a similar situation, they would walk away from that mortgage without batting a eyelash on their brow lifted, chemically peeled Botox infused faces.
While Wall Street thrives (corporate third quarter profits in 2010 increased 28% form the previous year, the highest year to year increase on record) Middle America is drowning. A deceiving statistic is that unemployment recently fell to 9%, but that is because statics do not account for those out work so long that they are no longer considered part of the workforce and those working part time that wish to work full time. Adjusting to include those last two groups, real unemployment is over 17%.
How does corporate America thrive then?
NAFTA and the culture of exporting jobs without demanding anything in return is a major culprit. So we can thank another so called Democrat, Bill Clinton, for that pat on the back – or shove off the cliff as it were given to the middle class. Corporate America takes jobs elsewhere and creates a culture where an hourly gig an Wall Mart is something wished for longed for and to be grateful for. Soon we will be begging for crumbs from the aristocrats’ table like beggars in some Dickensian pageant.
And Obama walks on eggshells because he is afraid of affecting the markets?
More and more I believe that Obama cannot be both a great President and get elected to a second term.
Were he to announce drastic cuts in military spending – even cutting the Department of Defense budget by 80% would keep the US the largest military spender in the world- and reallocate some of the money to education, green energy, or single payer Medicare for all- he would certainly be ostracized by the establishment of both parties.
Were he to announce now, that the Bush – and now Obama- tax cuts for the rich would not be renewed in 2012 (as they almost certainly will be as they are set) and that the rich will have to pay a progressive tax system – he would almost certainly be committing political suicide.
Were he to fire his current chief of staff, former JP Morgan exec William Daley and instead take council from consumer watchdog like, dare I even say it, Ralph Nader might – shudder the thought- “Affect the markets”.
Doing any of these things might make Obama less popular, but when judged by history, they would make him right.
Perhaps he would even be labeled as the man who saved the middle class.