I had a piece ready to go on what Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s focused upon, right now, compliments of Pam Martens, over at her Wall Street on Parade blog (he’s in Europe lobbying on Wall Street’s behalf to stifle efforts to impose a Wall Street-like transactions tax across the continent; while our captured government in D.C. has been vehemently against this, here at home, it’s gaining more traction across the pond) and then I read this (see excerpt below) from Yves Smith, which she just posted over at Naked Capitalism, a couple of hours ago. And, yes, IMHO, it really is a “must-read.”
Obama Moves Forward with Cutting Social Security and Medicare as We Lecture Europe OtherwiseYves then discusses what Jack Lew’s doing over in Europe, right now. And, while she frames it as Lew seeking tete-a-tetes with European heads of state to discuss the numerous austerity measures being implemented there, Pam Martens points to what's more likely to be at the top of our Treasury Secretary's agenda. (Paraphrasing Leona Helmsley, "Austerity's for the little people!")
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 8:03AM
It must be really hard to be an Obama defender these days, at least if you are not on a big corporate payroll. Daily Kos has proven to be a bellwether of the change in sentiment. After being one of the leaders in pushing the “lesser evil” trope, its commetariat and most of its diarists are up in arms over Obama’s budget, which includes Social Security and Medicare cuts. Kos waded in yesterday and in all seriousness wrote, “I can’t imagine President Barack Obama actually wants to cut Social Security. I’m not that cynical.”
I don’t even have to shred it. Go read his comments section. His readers cite chapter, book and verse the overwhelming evidence that this is exactly what Obama wants to do.
But the loyalists on the left are trying variants of the 11th dimensional chess argument, some quite condescendingly, when it’s not that hard to see what is really going on. Obama is a Rubinie. Obama is a neoliberal. Obama in 2006 and again in the Presidential debates made it clear he wants to “reform” Social Security and Medicare. He sees undoing the New Deal as the anchor of his legacy. He’s probably envying the Maggie Thatcher obits and wondering if he’ll get ones at least as good.
Look at his latest plans for negotiating the budget, with much of his party in revolt. From the Associated Press:But instead of moving Congress nearer a grand bargain, the Obama’s proposals so far have managed to anger Republicans and Democrats alike….It can’t be more clear how Obama is going about things…
As part of the administration’s effort to win over Republicans, Obama will have a private dinner at the White House with about a dozen GOP senators Wednesday night. The budget is expected to be a primary topic, along with proposed legislation dealing with gun control and immigration.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew Pushes the Anti Social Security, Pro Wall Street AgendaMartens notes that, in fact: "...Lew was shilling for Wall Street across Europe, talking down the imposition of a financial transaction tax."
Wall Street on Parade
By Pam Martens
April 9, 2013
The Secretary of the Treasury, Jack Lew, has been in office a mere 15 business days and has already logged more foreign travel on the taxpayers’ tab than most executive branch personnel see in a year…
She recounts how, in February, "...11 European countries, including Germany and France, agreed to the financial transaction tax which is expected to raise $45 billion annually. The tax would be imposed at the rate of 0.01 percent for derivatives and 0.1 percent for stocks and bonds."
She reminds us how Lew testified during his Senate confirmation hearing that "...both he and the Obama administration oppose a similar tax in the U.S." And, how he's using is new "bully pulpit" to lobby in Europe on behalf of Wall Street "on the taxpayer's dime."
More from Martens...
…In a 2012 national survey by the Mellman Group, 65 percent of respondents thought that increasing “taxes on Wall Street banks that helped create our economic problems” was a superior plan than reducing the nation’s deficit by cutting spending on Social Security, Medicare or environmental protection.” Such a U.S. tax would support another public interest – slowing the use of high frequency trading which is effectively looting the retail investor.With everything that's occurring here at home, one would think our new Treasury Secretary would have more important things to do with his time.
But despite that lopsided public opinion, the President proposes to shift the burden to seniors by using a chained CPI to cut Social Security benefits while his Treasury Secretary, who took $940,000 in taxpayer bailout funds to Citigroup as a personal bonus for himself, tries to stall a tiny tax on Wall Street by shuttling across Europe on the U.S. taxpayers’ dime. Does it get any more revolting than this?...
Getting back to Yves’ must-read, she closes with the following comment…
… Obama is proving to be a litmus test of where commentators’ loyalties really stand: is it to “liberal” beliefs, which get redefined evermore to the right, or is it to the Democratic party neoliberal technocrats, which Obama embodies? The budget battle is pure and simple about squeezing the middle class dry, and those who pretend otherwise are simply insulting the intelligence of their audience.As far as the so-called “shared sacrifice" meme is concerned, it’s time for our Party's leadership to (as the old saying goes)…”lead, follow, or get out of the way.”
And, definitely in that regard, Pam Martens reports from yesterday’s event in front of the White House, led by Senator Bernie Sanders, in Part II of this post.
DailyKos Blogathon -- Week of April 8th
(All times are Eastern, diaries published by the Pushing back at the Grand Bargain group)
Monday, April 8
10:00 a.m. Roger Fox
12:00 noon eXtina
2:00 p.m. Guest crosspost by Yves Smith
3:00 p.m. poopdogcomedy
4:00 p.m. Horace Boothroyd III
6:00 p.m. slinkerwink
8:00 p.m. joedemocrat
Tuesday, April 9
Wednesday, April 10
Thursday, April 11
Friday April 12
1. Call your senators and representatives and tell them "Hell No!" with a priority on contacting senators. U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You can find email contact information here
2. Contact the White House and tell them "Hell No!". Switchboard: 202-456-1414. Email contact page is here.
3. Petitions. There are a number of petitions available. Choose from the following or preferably sign them all.
a. White House petition calling for no cuts to Social Security.
4. Social Media. Share this diary and promote this blogathon on Facebook and Google+ using the buttons at the top of the diary. Send this out on Twitter and add the hashtags #HellNo and #NoGrandBargain.
Blogathon diaries you might have missedMonday:
Hell No! #NoGrandBargain: "Pushing back at the Grand Bargain" by Roger Fox
Hell No! Chained CPI will reduce eligability for EITC #noChainedCPI by Roger Fox
Hell No! Dan Pfeiffer: "The President's Budget Shows That He is Serious About Solving Deficits" by eXtina
Guest Crosspost, Yves Smith: Obama Wants to Be the President Who Rolled Back the New Deal by Yves Smith via joanneleon
IA-Sen: Tom Harkin (D) Needs Our Help Telling Obama Hell No To The Chained CPI by poopdogcomedy
Hell No! Stop crushing the poor by Horace Boothroyd III
Hell, No! Social Security Contributes Nothing To Deficit by slinkerwink
Hell No! No Grand Bargain: Chained CPI: Social Security Means So Much To So Many by joedemocrat