Here is a task I have engaged in. Watch the Mitt Romney speech to NALEO on Thursday. Read the Washington Post piece today on Bain Capital. Then, watch Barack Obama’s speech to NALEO. (NALEO- National Association of Latino Elected Officials).
Then, having done your homework, see if you can support the current common position on the left. – We should sit out this election.
I have strong criticism of Obama’s policies on the economy. Here, in brief, is how Barack Obama failed us on the economy.
Robert Kuttner, in A Presidency in Peril: The Inside Story of Obama’s Promise, Wall Streets Power, and the Struggle to Control our Economic Future, (2010) explains why the Obama administration was able to mount a defense of the corporate looters while failing in its tepid efforts to respond to the economic crisis with a progressive jobs policy. He provides detailed description of the perspectives and economic vested interests of the major policy advisors in the Obama Administration.
Prior to reading this book I remained an Obama supporter. Even though I recognized his failure in Afghanistan and the Obama-Duncan assault on teachers, I continued to explain how the economic crisis along with Republican intransigence produced the limited gains in health care legislation, in tax reform, economic reform, and in the needed economic stimulus to create jobs in the face of the worse recession since the great depression. I continued to make the case for a progressive view of the Obama Administration as the best we could get under the circumstances.
This book turned the tide for me. By 2010 after nearly three years of the financial crisis where finance capital regained its power and wealth at the expense of all of the rest of us, the government has become increasingly willing to intervene to protect, promote, and to directly fund the large banks. We have an economic order in which the government is used to loot the economy for the benefit of the very rich. The Administration has acted as the Washington branch of Wall Street.
Let us be clear. Barack Obama and his advisors chose the economic team that has done this to the nation, Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, and others. It is their policy. And, they have opposed the few people who tried to keep from handing the store over to Wall Street such as Elizabeth Warrant and Republican Shiela Blair.
We need to spend more public money to improve schools, to develop roads and infrastructure, and to create jobs. The government must protect and empower our citizens. To foster prosperity it must prepare the young for civic participation. Protection includes health care, social security, safe food, environmental protection, safe streets, job protection, etc. Our economy needs roads, bridges, telephone lines, communications systems, energy and quality education.
Kuttner traces the role of key financial advisors from Robert Rubin of Citi Bank, and the many major crooks of Goldman Sachs who have made billions off of this crisis. This is Finance capital’s relentless class war against the rest of us while it continues to profit from the economic crisis. Their demands for unconscionable tax breaks for the rich to while refusing the rescue of bankrupted states and municipalities thus forcing budget cuts that decimate schools, force lay offs of nurses and health care workers, police, and firefighters and now they even dare to propose cutting social security while preventing banking regulation to stop the reckless behavior that plunged the country and the world into the deepest recession since the Great Depression.
The appointments of Austan Goolsbee. Bill Daley, and Jeffrey Immelt, among others, reflects a conscious and deliberate choice on the part of the Obama team to expand further in the direction of corporate liberalism, the very people who brought the economic crisis to the nation
Looking at both the financial vested interests of this group and their organizational ties provides a much better informed position on how the Obama Administration came to support Wall Street both in the bail outs and in preventing real regulatory reform.
The Presidency in Peril goes over some of the same ground as Dean Baker in Plunder and Blunder (2009) and Nomi Prins in ,It Takes a Pillage; Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street, (2009) on the role of insider financial manipulation and profiteering. Kuttner concentrates particularly on Robert Rubin and his protégé Larry Summers. He does indeed focus on the inside story of political networks and their close linkage to corporate networks. While there may be differences between Democratic aligned finance capital and Republican aligned finance capital, neither group is interested in advancing prosperity for working people and the middle class. They are more alike than different. (See the earlier review of this book on this dairy list).
So, Obama failed us on the economy – but Mitt Romney and a Republican majority would be worse, not better.