jump to navigation

The Real Health Care Debate April 9, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Health.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Published on Monday, April 9, 2012 by Truthdig

  by  Chris Hedges

The debate surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act illustrates the impoverishment of our political life. Here is a law that had its origin in the right-wing Heritage Foundation, was first put into practice in 2006 in Massachusetts by then-Gov. Mitt Romney and was solidified into federal law after corporate lobbyists wrote legislation with more than 2,000 pages. It is a law that forces American citizens to buy a deeply defective product from private insurance companies. It is a law that is the equivalent of the bank bailout bill—some $447 billion in subsidies for insurance interests alone—for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. It is a law that is unconstitutional. And it is a law by which President Barack Obama, and his corporate backers, extinguished the possibilities of both the public option and Medicare for all Americans. There is no substantial difference between Obamacare and Romneycare. There is no substantial difference between Obama and Romney. They are abject servants of the corporate state. And if you vote for one you vote for the other.

 

But you would never know this by listening to the Democratic Party and the advocacy groups that purport to support universal health care but seem more intent on re-electing Obama. It is the very sad legacy of the liberal class that it proves in election cycle after election cycle that it espouses moral and political positions it will not pay a price to defend. And since we have no fight in us, since we will not punish politicians like Obama who betray our core beliefs, the corporate juggernaut rolls forward with its inexorable pace to cement into place our global neofeudalism.

Protesting outside the Supreme Court recently as it heard arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act were both conservatives from Americans for Prosperity who denounced the president as a socialist and demonstrators from Democratic front groups such as the SEIU and the Families USA health care consumer group who chanted “Protect the law!” Lost between these two factions were a few stalwarts who hold quite different views, including public health care advocates Dr. Margaret Flowers, Dr. Carol Paris and attorneys Oliver Hall, Kevin Zeese and Russell Mokhiber. They displayed a banner that read: “Single Payer Now! Strike Down the Obama Mandate!” They, at least, have not relinquished the demand for single payer health care for all Americans. And I throw my lot in with these renegades, dismissed, no doubt, as cranks or dreamers or impractical by those who flee into the embrace of empty political theater and junk politics. These single payer advocates, joined by 50 doctors, filed a brief to the court that challenges, in the name of universal health care, the individual mandate.

“We have the solution, we have the resources and we have the money to provide lifelong, comprehensive, high-quality health care to every person,” Dr. Flowers said when we spoke a few days ago in Washington, D.C. Many Americans have not accepted the single payer approach “because people get confused by the politics,” she said. “People accept the Democratic argument that this [Obamacare] is all we can have or this is something we can build on.”

“If you are trying to meet the goal of universal health coverage and the only way to meet that goal is to force people to purchase private insurance, then you might consider that it is constitutional,” Flowers said. “Our argument is that the individual mandate does not meet the goal of universality. When you attempt to use the individual mandate and expansion of Medicaid for coverage, only about half of the uninsured gain coverage. This is what we have seen in Massachusetts. We do, however, have systems in the United States that could meet the goal of universality. That would be either a Veterans Administration type system, which is a socialized system run by the government, or a Medicare type system, a single payer, publicly financed health care system. If the U.S. Congress had considered an evidence-based approach to health reform instead of writing a bill that funnels more wealth to insurance companies that deny and restrict care, it would have been a no-brainer to adopt a single payer health system much like our own Medicare. We are already spending enough on health care in this country to provide high-quality, universal, comprehensive, lifelong health care. All the data point to a single payer system as the only way to accomplish this and control health care costs.”

Obamacare will, according to figures compiled by Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP), leave at least 23 million people without insurance, a figure that translates into an estimated 23,000 unnecessary deaths a year among people who cannot afford care. Costs will continue to climb. There are no caps on premiums, including for people with “pre-existing conditions.” The elderly can be charged three times the rates provided to the young. Companies with predominantly female workforces can be charged higher gender-based rates. Most of us will soon be paying about 10 percent of our annual incomes to buy commercial health insurance, although this coverage will pay for only about 70 percent of our medical expenses. And those of us who become seriously ill, lose our incomes and cannot pay the skyrocketing premiums are likely to be denied coverage. The dizzying array of loopholes in the law—written in by insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists—means, in essence, that the healthy will receive insurance while the sick and chronically ill will be priced out of the market.

Medical bills already lead to 62 percent of personal bankruptcies, and nearly 80 percent of those declaring personal bankruptcy because of medical costs had insurance. The U.S. spends twice as much per capita on health care as other industrialized nations, $8,160. Private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume 31 percent of every health care dollar. Streamlining payment through a single, nonprofit payer would save more than $400 billion per year, enough, the PNHP estimates, to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans.

But as long as corporations determine policy, as long as they can use their money to determine who gets elected and what legislation gets passed, we remain hostages. It matters little in our corporate state that nearly two-thirds of the public wants single payer and that it is backed by 59 percent of doctors. Public debates on the Obama health care reform, controlled by corporate dollars, ruthlessly silence those who support single payer. The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Max Baucus, a politician who gets more than 80 percent of his campaign contributions from outside his home state of Montana, locked out of the Affordable Care Act hearing a number of public health care advocates including Dr. Flowers and Dr. Paris; the two physicians and six other activists were arrested and taken away. Baucus had invited 41 people to testify. None backed single payer. Those who testified included contributors who had given a total of more than $3 million to committee members for their political campaigns.

“It is not necessary to force Americans to buy private health insurance to achieve universal coverage,” said Russell Mokhiber of Single Payer Action. “There is a proven alternative that Congress didn’t seriously consider, and that alternative is a single payer national health insurance system. Congress could have taken seriously evidence presented by these single payer medical doctors that a single payer system is the only way to both control costs and cover everyone.”

© 2012 Truthdig.com

<!–

–>

Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.  His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

REVEALED: The Democrats’ devious plan to compromise with the Republicans April 3, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Health.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Posted by <!–

–>, www.opednews.com, April 2, 2012

In Monday’s New York Times, Ross Douthat explains the devious reasoning behind the Democrats’ adoption of the individual mandate: “It protected the Democratic bill on two fronts at once: buying off some of the most influential interest groups even as it hid the true cost of universal coverage.”

Clever! But I can’t help feeling like Ross is forgetting something. There was some other reason Democrats adopted this policy. I’m almost sure of it. If you give me a second, I’m sure it’ll come to me.

Ah, right! Because Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, was saying things like “I believe that there is a bipartisan consensus to have individual mandates,” and “individual mandates are more apt to be accepted by a majority of the people in Congress than an employer mandate.”

And it wasn’t just Grassley. A New York Times columnist by the name of Ross Douthat praised Utah Sen. Bob Bennett for “his willingness to co-sponsor a centrist (in a good way!) health care reform bill with the Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden.” That health-care reform bill was the Healthy Americans Act which included, yes, an individual mandate. But while Douthat did later say that the Healthy Americans Act wasn’t his “preferred health care reform,” at no point did he accuse Bennett of “buying off some of the most influential interest groups” even as he “hid the true cost of universal coverage.”

The Healthy Americans Act, meanwhile, had been cosponsored by a bevy of heavy-hitting Senate Republicans, including Lamar Alexander, Mike Crapo, Bob Corker, Judd Gregg, Norm Coleman and Trent Lott. And it’s not like they were off the reservation in some significant way: In 2007, both Sen. Jim DeMint and the National Review endorsed Mitt Romney, who had passed an individual mandate into law in Massachusetts. In their endorsements, both icons of conservatism specifically mentioned his health-care plan as a reason for their endorsement. DeMint, for instance, praised Romney’s health-care plan as “something that I think we should do for the whole country.”

Avik Roy points out that many liberals — including candidate Barack Obama — were historically skeptical of the individual mandate. And that’s true! There was a robust debate inside the party as to whether Democrats should move from proposing a government-centric health-care model to one Republicans had developed in order to preserve the centrality of “personal responsibility” and private health insurers. Many liberals opposed such a shift. But they lost to the factions in the party that wanted health-care reform to be a bipartisan endeavor.

Roy tries to use this to draw some equivalence between the two parties. Both Democrats and Republicans changed their mind on the individual mandate, he argues. But there’s a key difference: The Democrats changed their mind in order to secure a bipartisan compromise on health-care reform. Republicans changed their mind in order to prevent one.

And so what did Democrats get for their troubles? Well, the individual mandate is the least popular element of the health-care law. The entire Republican Party decided the individual mandate was an unconstitutional assault on freedom. And today, even relatively moderate Republicans like Douthat present the mandate as some kind of underhanded trick.

That’s politics, I guess. But ask yourself: If Obamacare is overturned, and Obama is defeated, who will win the Democratic Party’s next fight over health care? Probably not the folks counseling compromise. Too many Democrats have seen how that goes. How much easier to propose a bill that expands Medicaid eligibility to 300 percent of the poverty line, covers every child through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and makes Medicare availability to every American over age 50. Add in some high-risk pools, pay for the bill by slapping a surtax on rich Americans — indisputably constitutional, as even Randy Barnett will tell you — and you’ve covered most of the country’s uninsured. Oh, and you can pass the whole thing through the budget reconciliation process.

I don’t think that’s a particularly good future for the health-care system. And I doubt that bill will pass anytime soon. But, if Obamacare goes down, something like it will eventually be passed. And what will Republicans have to say about it? That no, this time, they really would have worked with the Democrats to reform America’s health-care system? Who will believe them?

All U.S. Constituencies Oppose Obama’s “Individual Mandate” for Health Care April 3, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Health, Race.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

President Obama’s mandate to buy private insurance was born in the rightwing Heritage Foundation, and has not found a home among any actual constituency of the public – white, non-white, Republican, Democrat, college-educated or not. A new poll confirms that “Obama has based his plan on a scheme that nobody likes – even his most loyal supporters.”

 

All U.S. Groups Oppose Obama’s “Individual Mandate” for Health Care

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The new poll shows that no significant constituency supports Obama’s individual mandate.”

When one takes a cursory look at where various groups in the nation stand on President Obama’s health care legislation – now under review by the U.S. Supreme Court – it appears the country is split along party and race lines. A new poll conducted by Princeton Research Associates shows 75 percent of Democrats support the Obama position, and 86 percent of Republicans oppose it, with so-called independents evenly split. The racial divide is similar. Sixty-eight percent of non-whites “strongly favor” or “somewhat favor” the overall health care law, with only 18 percent opposed. Whites are far more divided, with 33 percent favoring Obama’s law, and 47 percent opposed.

These numbers are, however, heavily influenced by what people think is in the law, and what side they think they should be on, based on their larger loyalties. It is doubtful that majorities on either side of the issue actually understand most of the law’s many provisions, some of which do not go into effect for several years. Therefore, many of the respondents are using the poll to register their broader preference for or against the incumbent president and his party. It is no surprise that majorities of whites and super-majorities of Republicans oppose ObamaCare, as Republicans call it, and more than two thirds of non-whites and three-quarters of Democrats support Health Care Reform, as Obama calls it.

However, most people do understand the central element of the law, the “individual mandate” that forces nearly everyone to buy health insurance from private companies, or face a fine. The new poll shows that no significant constituency supports Obama’s individual mandate, with only 28 percent of the overall public favorable to the scheme. Even non-whites, two-thirds of whom claim to support Obama on health care in general, balk at mandatory purchase of insurance from private companies. Fifty-three percent of non-whites give thumbs down to the individual health insurance mandate, as do 71 percent of whites. More Democrats are opposed to Obama’s individual mandate than favor it: 48 to 44 percent. And Republicans are off the scale in opposition, at 15 to 1.

Fifty-three percent of non-whites give thumbs down to the individual health insurance mandate.”

So, if the core of the Obama health care plan is the individual mandate, as both the administration and the Republicans contend in their arguments before the Supreme Court, then Obama has based his plan on a scheme that nobody likes – even his most loyal supporters.

There’s another interesting aspect to the new poll. It shows that only a hard core of one in four people want to tamper with Medicare as the Republicans do, with around two-thirds of all racial groups opting to keep the program the way it is, with the government paying doctors and hospitals directly for the service they provide to seniors.” Taken together, the poll indicates strong support for the core elements of the U.S. healthcare safety net, and rejection of private schemes, including Obama’s mandatory purchase of insurance from private companies. It appears that most Americans would rather have the option of dependable, direct health care paid for by the government – which was the case at the beginning of 2009, before Obama unveiled his health care scheme, when 60 percent and more of the American people favored single-payer health care. But Obama maneuvered them into a something they hadn’t asked for, and which, three years later, nobody wants. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

 

To Kill (a) Medicare March 20, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Health, Seniors.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

The House Republicans’ plan to end Medicare as we know it is coming back this week. Please take this opportunity to share information about this reckless plan with your friends and family.

The House GOP budget would fundamentally change Medicare from a single-payer plan that provides guaranteed benefits and coverage into a voucher plan designed to pay a portion of premiums to private insurance companies.

Representative Paul Ryan’s budget plan would so drastically change the way America’s seniors are provided health care coverage that it becomes a completely unrecognizable, inferior and dangerous program.

The Ryan plan essentially would revoke the guarantees that provide seniors and people with disabilities a specific set of benefits and services, replacing it with vouchers covering a portion of premiums to private insurance companies. If Republicans get rid of the guarantees to benefits and services, it will destroy the Medicare program that seniors have relied on for nearly 50 years. They talk about providing a traditional Medicare option at first, but the way they designed this guarantees it will soon fail and have to be eliminated.

We have paid into the Medicare system our entire working lives. Under the GOP’s plan, guaranteed coverage would be phased out over time. When we retire, whether that’s in 10 years or 40, we would be enrolling in a Medicare system based solely on private insurance companies.

Private insurers seek to maximize profits while minimizing costs. This leads to a health care system that wasn’t designed to ensure that seniors get quality care, but instead is designed to line the pockets of insurance company executives.

Click here to share information about this dangerous plan with your friends and family.

In the coming weeks we will send you more information about this attack on Medicare.

Best Wishes,

Will O’Neill Health Care for America Now


 

Lockheed Martin’s CEO Wants Your Social Security Check September 24, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Economic Crisis, War.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Friday 23 September 2011

by: Robert Greenwald, Brave New Foundation | Op-Ed

The law that created the deficit committee also created a zero-sum game: Any expensive program that escapes the budget knife does so at the expense of cuts to other programs. If the military contractors succeed in keeping the war budget intact, they’ll likely do so at the expense of Social Security and Medicare.

That means money that would go to your Social Security or Medicare benefits will instead go into the hands of people like Lockheed Martin CEO Robert J. Stephens, who last year made $21.9 million, almost totally from taxpayer-funded military contracts.

Join War Costs in telling the deficit committee to keep military contractors’ hands off the money that should go to Social Security and Medicare.

These corporations have been and are devoting considerable resources into a coordinated effort to ensure they get as much of that money as possible. A new investigation by AlterNet’s Nick Turse (as part of a joint investigative project among AlterNet, Salon,and Brave New Foundation) uncovered that not only have tens of billions of dollars been sent to war contractors in deficit committee members’ districts in the last several years, but the millions of donations donated to the members’ campaign and PACs have heavily favored Democrats since 2007.

That means that the people we usually rely on to protect Social Security and Medicare may have been compromised by heavy war industry donations.

Democrat Jim Clyburn, for example, recently said, “…Defense may be something that most members on the Democrat side will not mind going after. But I do mind going after that. So I’m going to be very reticent.” Clyburn has taken several hundred thousand dollars in contractor donations since 2007, and he’s not alone. Deficit committee co-chair Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) literally campaigns on sending military contracts to Boeing, which has a heavy presence in Washington State. These members typically (and cynically) defend shoving money at corrupt contractors by saying they are “looking out for their district.”

As we show in our new War Costs video, if they continue this behavior from their perches on the deficit committee, they will most definitely NOT be looking out for their districts. Because the deficit committee is required by law to propose no less than$1.5 trillion in cuts to the federal budget to prevent automatic cuts across federal programs at the end of the year, all big-ticket federal programs are essentially competing against each other for funds. If the war budget wins, popular programs like Social Security and Medicare lose, and that means many, many more of the committee members constituents will be directly hurt by the cuts.

Below we list the number of people in each committee members’ district who rely on Social Security. We then compare the dollars received by Social Security beneficiaries in areas represented by the committee in 2010 with how much federal money was sent to military contractors in the same areas(drawn from Nick Turse’s research). Clearly, if the deficit committee slashes Social Security and Medicare to protect the military budget, many more of their constituents will lose, and their districts will take a much harder economic hit.

Number of Social Security Recipients in Areas Represented by Deficit Committee:

• Sen. Patty Murray (WA): 1,089,887
• U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TX-05): 125,185
• Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ): 1,067,717
• Sen. Rob Portman (OH): 2,124,650
• Sen. Pat Toomey (PA): 2,557,714
• Sen. Max Baucus (MT): 192,701
• Sen. John Kerry (MA): 1,140,830
• Rep. Dave Camp (MI-04): 155,855
• Rep. Upton (MI-06): 135,716
• Rep. Becerra (CA-31): 51,189
• Rep. Clyburn (SC-06): 142,082
• Rep. Van Hollen (MD-08): 88,726

View Graph

Military contractors are crying crocodile tears right now about the “fragility” of their industry, and they’re declaring that they’re really just concerned about the committee members’ constituents. But as we showed last week, this industry is flush with cash, and will do or say anything to protect the one thing they care about above all else: profit.

The deficit committee has to choose: will they stand with the 16 million people in their districts who rely on Social Security and Medicare, or will they send that money to Lockheed Martin’s CEO?

This should an easy choice: cut the war budget.

If you agree, join us at War Costs and tell committee members you want military contractors’ hands off the money that should go to Social Security and Medicare.

It’s Too Late To Save The Obama Administration. Can We Still Save Ourselves? August 21, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Wed, 08/17/2011 – 12:59 — Bruce A. Dixon. black agenda review

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Two and half years into
the Obama presidency, some of us spend more time mooning over pretty
pictures of the First Family, their beautiful kids and regal
mother-in-law than we spend publicly worrying over the fates of millions
of families, children and elders we personally know. Why are some of us
still trying to “save” the Obama administration. When will it be time
to save ourselves from endless war, climate change, joblessness and the
other ravages of late predatory capitalism?

It’s Too Late To Save The Obama Administration. Can We Still Save Ourselves?

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Back in the summer of
1996 I saw the movie Independence Day in a Chicago theater where two
thirds of the audience was black. The scene that got the audience on its
feet cheering was one in which aliens hovered over the White House, and
blasted it to matchwood. I’ve often thought that if that same flick
were released in 2009 or 2010, that same mostly black audience would
have gasped in horror.

What about Michelle and
the kids?” I can imagine them saying? “Did the dog make it out OK?” I’m
pretty sure Al Sharpton, Warren Ballantine and the clowns on the Tom
Joyner Morning Show would denounce the movie as racist, and that talk
shows and corporate outlets that manage the “black conversation” on line
like theGrio and theRoot would continue the conversation indefinitely.

To many, it wouldn’t
matter at all that the First Black President has ignored skyrocketing
black unemployment, endemic black mass incarceration, and singled out
disproportionately black and unionized public workers for pay freezes,
benefit cuts and other “shared sacrifices.” It would not matter that the
international good name of African Americans, once symbolized by iconic
fighters for justice at home and peace abroad like Muhammad Ali and
Martin Luther King had been replaced by the likes of Colin Powell,
Condoleeza Rice and Barack Obama, black Americans who have made their
careers waging predatory and merciless wars upon struggling people in
Africa, Asia and Latin America. It would be, critics of the movie would
argue, about respect: respect for the First Black President, they’d say,
is symbolic of respect for all of us.

When we place a value
upon the image and the symbolic meaning of the First Black President, of
his fine black wife and children and mother-in-law living in that big
White House that make these things even nearly as important as Obama’s
policies, we are loving the royal presidential family more than we love our own families, our own children, our own elders. That can’t be good.

The Obama campaign bus
appeared in Iowa this week, at the same time that Republican
presidential candidates are swarming the place. The 2012 presidential
campaign is upon us. It’s time to evaluate the performance of the First
Black President, a subject that Glen Ford, Margaret Kimberley, I and
others here at Black Agenda Report have written tens of thousands of
words over the last couple years.

To start with, the
president is easily the most powerful figure in government. Short of
impeachment — and if the Bush-Cheney gang couldn’t get impeached,
nobody can — Congress and the courts have little power to counteract
or overrule an aggressive and energetic president. Hence the notion that
Blue Dog Dems and wily Republicans kept Obama from advancing his
legislative agenda during the two years he had a 50 vote margin in the
House and a filibuster proof Senate majority are silly.

Barack Obama’s first
policy acheivement was to work the phones and persuade enough
congressional Democrats to support Bush’s September 2008 bailout bill.
That legislation failed to pass the Democratic dominated Congress the
first time. Thanks to Barack, it succeeded the second time, netting the
banksters $3 trillion, and when Obama became president, he upped the
ante to $16 trillion, bailing out all the derivative and other
speculative bettors in Wall Street’s casino. What Obama didn’t do is
bail out the families in those homes. An unprecedented wave of
foreclosures has doubled the wealth gap between white and black families
in only a few years, and the wave continues.

Obama has retired the
phrase “war on terror” but continued and expanded armed interventions in
too many countries to name here, most notably Pakistan, Libya, Yemen,
Colombia and Somalia. The military budget continues to grow, and with
his participation in the debt ceiling hoax, Democrat Barack Obama has
done what no Republican would have been able to do — he unleashed a
process that will impose radical cuts in social security, Medicare and
Medicaid. Obama reversed his promises on network neutrality after the
election, and has apparently never met a giant corporate merger he
didn’t like.

The Obama Justice
Department, with a black Attorney General has refused to confront a wave
of restrictive laws and administrative procedures enacted by states to
make voter registration difficult or impossible for many citizens, ans
which may keep hundreds of thousands of black, brown and poor voters
from taking part in future elections. That same Justice Department has
refused to prosecute corporations for intercepting the emails and phone
calls of millions of people. DOJ won’t weigh in on whether people have
the right to record police interactions with the public, and is letting
states sentence people who record police to prison.

Only the most foolish
among us —- and those whose careers and boat payments depend on it —
are still concerned with “saving” the Obama presidency, or obsessing
about how adorable the First Family looks. Not to worry. Michelle,
Sasha, and whatshername will be just fine. Barack will do OK too, even
if he doesn’t get a second term. And like they say, some grown folks
just don’t want to be saved. Obama should be working on how to save us
from endless war, climate change and joblessness. He isn’t. And he
won’t. It’s time for us to love our own families, our own children and
elders as much or more than we love his, and get busy.

Bruce
Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and based in Marietta
GA where he is a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. He
can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

 

The administration’s stated budget priorities August 5, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Economic Crisis, War.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

www.salon.com, August 5, 2011

(updated below)

The theory of Round II of the debt deal is that both parties will be motivated to reach an agreement in the “Super-Committee” on how to reduce the debt by another $1.5 trillion because, if they fail to agree, there will be automatic cuts that are horrendous to each party: draconian domestic cuts will scare Democrats into compromising, while supposedly substantial reductions in military spending will frighten the GOP.  But a serious and quite predictable deviation from that scheme has already emerged: Republicans (at least its Tea Party faction) don’t seem bothered at all by the prospects of military cuts, while Democrats — specifically the Obama administration — are acting as if such cuts, literally, would be nation-threatening.

Yesterday, President Obama’s Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, donned his Dr. Strangelove hat and decried these prospective cuts as a “doomsday mechanism” — doomsday! — warning that these would be “very dangerous cuts” that “would do real damage to our security, our troops and their families, and our military’s ability to protect the nation.”  Then, this morning, we have this from The Washington Post:

 

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Thursday of dire consequences if the Pentagon is forced to make cuts to its budget beyond the $400 billion in savings planned for the next decade.

Senior Pentagon officials have launched an offensive over the past two days to convince lawmakers that further reductions in Pentagon spending would imperil the country’s security. Instead of slashing defense, Panetta said, the bipartisan panel should rely on tax increases and cuts to nondiscretionary spending, such as Medicare and Social Security, to provide the necessary savings.

 

Just think about that for a minute.  We have a Democratic administration installed in power after millions of liberals donated large amounts of their time and money to help elect them.  Yet here we have a top official in the President’s cabinet demanding cuts to Medicare and Social Security in order to protect the military budget from further reductions.  That’s the position of the Democratic administration.  While it’s true that Pentagon officials reflexively protect the Pentagon budget, there is zero question that Panetta — the career-long supremely loyal Democratic Party functionary — is speaking here on behalf of and with the authorization of the White House; indeed, he said exactly that in the written message he sent about these cuts to the Pentagon’s staff (“this outcome would be completely unacceptable to me as Secretary of Defense, the President, and to our nation’s leaders”).

For all the boastful claims from Panetta and others about how much the Pentagon budget was just cut by the first round of the debt deal, the reality, as McClatchy detailed yesterday, is much different: “The new deficit-cutting law appears to reduce defense spending by $350 billion up front and perhaps by as much as $850 billion over 10 years, but in fact that’s highly unlikely to happen.”  That’s because defense hawks ensured that these initial cuts would be applied not only to “defense” but also “security” spending, which encompasses programs “such as homeland security, border enforcement, foreign aid and even veterans’ benefits as potential targets.”  Moreover, as Foreign Policy‘s Josh Rogin explained on Tuesday night on Rachel Maddow’s program, the magnitude of this first round of cuts as well as the potential series of automatic cuts in the second round is wildly overstated by administration officials given budgetary gimmicks in how these numbers are derived.

President Obama yesterday instructed his supporters on how to advocate for his re-election, and told them that when they go forth to evangelize about his accomplishments — as Steve Benen did yesterday with his celebration of Obama as “the most effective politician since Reagan, and depending on the day, perhaps even the most effective politician since LBJ” — that they should “not to get too bogged down in detail” but instead should emphasize broad themes and values.  As one example of how this avoid-the-details advocacy should work, Obama instructed: “If somebody asks about the war, whether it’s Iraq or Afghanistan — if it’s Iraq, you have a pretty simple answer, which is all our folks are going to be out of there by the end of the year.”  Except that appears to be completely untrue, as his administration appears on the verge of succeeding in its many months of efforts to pressure the Iraqi Government to allow U.S. troops to remain in that country well past the 2011 withdrawal deadline Obama repeatedly vowed to enforce (and that’s beyond the oversight-free private army which the State Department has long planned to keep in Iraq).

As the U.S. continues to spend almost more than the rest of the world combined on its military while it wages and escalates war in multiple Muslim countries around the world — to say nothing of the dozens of nations in which it continuously engages in lower-level covert military action — the very idea that American security would be gravely jeopardized by these cuts is absurd on its face.  If anything, American security is far more endangered by continuing on this path of unbridled militarism and aggression.  Yet here we have the bizarre spectacle of a Democratic administration demanding cuts to Social Security and Medicare in order to protect the defense industry from cuts that are, in any event, far less meaningful than are being depicted.  Given how public they’re being with these statements, does anyone have any remaining doubt about the constituencies to which they’re actually loyal?

* * * * *

There are reports this morning that a NATO airstrike killed (another) one of Gadaffi’s sons in Libya, so we’ll be able to have some collective celebration to keep our minds off little things like the collapsing economy.  It is telling indeed how virtually all political good news — all national celebrations — now involve America’s ability to kill the latest Bad Guy.  One benefit of Endless War is that it distracts the citizens’ attention away from what is being done to them at home and makes them cheer for the leaders who are doing it to them.

 

UPDATE:  Lsat week, Joe Lieberman said we must cut entitlement programs in order to “have the national defense we need to protect us in a dangerous world while we’re at war with Islamist extremists who attacked us on 9/11 and will be for a long time to come.”  About that, Joan McCarter wrote: “since the Super Congress has been created specifically to pit defense and safety net programs against each other, don’t be surprised if you see this one getting traction” (h/t sysprog)  That is exactly the purpose of the “triggers” and the Super Committee; it is not hard to guess who will prevail in the war between entitlement programs and military spending; and Panetta’s statements are little more than a push to ensure the right outcome.

Bernie Sanders on “Deficit Reduction” August 4, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Economic Crisis.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment
http://images.myngp.com/LinkTracker.aspx?crypt=IVi0ax2+6UBSinc/CPYaKRB3s+V8LlHp/ii0gDFDuSyserXfKDohxhEul4jO6b9cDvGC5Zzx8MfnvcFDwBfbWosHh6LNSQx9yWTrL6a8SDE=
Dear roger,The $2.5 trillion deficit reduction deal that was agreed
to by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and
President Obama is grotesquely unfair.  It is also bad economic policy that, in
the midst of a terrible recession, will lead to the loss of hundreds of
thousands of jobs.

At a time when the wealthiest people in this country
are doing extremely well, and when their effective tax rate is the lowest in
decades, the rich will not be asked to contribute one penny more for deficit
reduction.   When corporate profits are soaring and a number of giant
corporations are able to completely avoid federal income taxes because of
obscene loop-holes in the tax code, corporate America will not be asked to
contribute one penny more for deficit reduction.  On the other hand, working
families, children, the sick and the elderly, many of whom are already suffering
because of the recession, are being asked to shoulder 100 percent of the human
cost of lowering our deficit.

The corporate media which, by and
large, has covered this debate as if it were a baseball game with political
“winners and losers,” has neglected to tell the American people what the
implications of this deficit reduction agreement are.  Let me take this
opportunity to do that.

The first round of $917 billion in discretionary
cuts over the next 10 years will begin in the 2012 budget.  Although nobody can
predict exactly what programs will be cut and by how much because those
decisions will be made over the coming months and years by the appropriation
committees, here’s what working families can look forward to:

·
At a time when there are long waiting lists for affordable childcare
and Head Start, it is likely that these programs will be significantly
cut.

· At a time when the United States is falling
further and further behind other countries in the terms of the quality of our
education, it is likely that tens of thousands of teachers and school personnel
will be laid off.

· At a time when working class
families are finding it harder and harder to send their kids to college, it is
likely that there will be cutbacks in federal student aid programs.

· At a time when hunger among seniors and children is rising,
it is likely that there will be cutbacks in various nutrition programs.

· At a time when 50 million Americans have no health insurance
and many of them are utilizing community health centers as their medical homes,
it is likely that there will be cuts in primary healthcare.

·
At a time when states, cities and towns have already laid off over
500,000 public service employees, it is likely that there will be even more
lay-offs in police and fire protection, and large reductions in federal support
for roads, bridges, water quality, sewage and public transportation.

Further, there will likely be cuts in home heating assistance,
affordable housing, support for family based agriculture, and research in
finding cures for cancer and other diseases.

In addition, there will
likely be major staffing reductions in agencies which are trying to protect the
physical health and economic well-being of our people.  It is quite likely that
the EPA, which enforces the rules regarding clean water and clean air, will be
cut.  The SEC, which regulates against the greed and recklessness of Wall
Street, will be undermined.  It is also very possible that the Social Security
Administration, which assures that seniors and the disabled receive the benefits
to which they are entitled in a timely manner, will also be cut.

That
is just some of what will likely happen as a result of the first $900 billion in
cuts in this $2.5 trillion deficit reduction package.

The second phase
of this legislation calls for the establishment of a Super Committee composed of
3 Democrats and 3 Republicans from the House and 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans
from the Senate.  Let’s be clear.  The mandate for this 12 member Super
Committee is to look at EVERY program of the federal government and come up with
$1.5 trillion more in savings.  This means that, at a time when the
Republicans and an increased number of Democrats are calling for major cuts in
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, all of these programs will be on the
chopping block.

If the committee is unable to reach an
agreement with a majority vote, there will then be a “sequestration” process
which would require $500 billion in cuts to defense spending and $500 billion
more in across-the-board cuts to domestic discretionary spending.  In that
scenario, Social Security, Medicare benefits and Medicaid would be spared, but
even more draconian cuts would occur in programs that sustain working families.

Here is the great irony with regard to the deficit reduction
process that we have just gone through:

In poll after poll, the
American people have made it clear that they believe in shared sacrifice.
Instead of putting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education and
environmental protection on the chopping block, the American people have said
that they believe the best way to reduce the deficit is to end tax breaks for
the wealthy, big oil, and Wall Street and take a hard look at military
spending.  Yet, the budget deal just approved does the exact opposite of what
the American people want.  The wealthy and large corporations contribute nothing
while there will be a major reduction in services for working families and the
most vulnerable people in our country.

Enough is enough!  The American
people must fight back.  We need a government which represents all the people,
not just the wealthy, campaign contributors and lobbyists.  In these tough and
discouraging times, despair is not an option.  This fight is not just for us, it
is for our children and grandchildren and for the environmental survival of the
planet.

Bernie
Senator Bernie Sanders

Line
Paid for by Friends of Bernie
Sanders

PO Box 391
Burlington, VT 05402

http://images.myngp.com/LinkTracker.aspx?crypt=IVi0ax2+6UDLpC3olJXC457kkjv9LkTjvDXRuLbXMKT3SLPHL8f66seeqvDN0HKv0yZtvicTJBHji0Rx3fpXm/h2PIGbpA56ZmM8ZFXvbp1NGeD8qcDsppJfQufYNAiOpRK+d60ckB3io9dtrNVsKUvdr3r2/n8lAEgsnT9GBz/JPJ3pkvVUA4uHZ9e4ghmDeKJ5WL/Ktmm4TcFI1rwrlwwvypOFdrFXBK5zfYpG1/AG8BmqSWBO7bDIGzILBav9Vuq98Fzmo6w=
To
unsubscribe from this mailing list, click here
Powered
by NGP
VAN, Inc.

Debt Madness Was Always About Killing Social Security July 27, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Economic Crisis.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
3 comments
Published on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 by TruthDig.com

This phony debt crisis has now passed through the looking glass into the realm where madness reigns. What should have been an uneventful moment in which lawmakers make good on the nation’s contractual obligations has instead been seized upon by Republican hypocrites as a moment to settle ideological scores that have nothing to do with the debt.

Hypocrites, because their radical free market ideology, and the resulting total deregulation of the financial markets, is what caused the debt to spiral out of control this last decade. That and the wars George W. Bush launched but didn’t have the integrity to responsibly finance. The consequence was a banking bubble and crash leading to a 50 percent run-up of the debt that has nothing to do with the “entitlements” that those same Republicans have always wanted to destroy.

Even Barack Obama has put cuts in those programs into play, warning ominously that a failure to lift the debt ceiling could cause the government to stop sending out Social Security checks. Why, when the Social Security trust fund is fully funded for the next quarter-century and is owed money by the U.S. Treasury rather than the other way around? Why would we pay foreign creditors before American seniors? The answer, offered as conventional wisdom by leaders of both parties, is that we cannot endanger our credit by failing to back our bonds, even though the Republicans have aroused the alarm of the main U.S. credit rating agencies by their brinkmanship on the debt.

What a topsy-turvy world when the same credit rating agencies that gave the thumbs up to the bankers’ toxic mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps now threaten the AAA rating of U.S. Treasury bonds. According to them, it will not be enough to merely lift the debt ceiling—what had been assumed by both Republican and Democratic presidents to be a routine act. In addition to that, as the credit agency Standard & Poor’s has insisted, more than $4 trillion has to be cut from programs that mostly benefit the victims of the banking meltdown. Otherwise the agencies will downgrade the U.S. credit rating, leading to higher interest rates that will destroy what remains of the U.S. housing market, dim the prospect for any improvement in employment and further enrich the Chinese government and other holders of U.S. debt.

President Obama and the Senate Democratic leadership are clearly poised to cave in to those demands in the spirit of “compromise,” Obama’s favorite word, but the Republicans keep upping the ante. The GOP is shameless: Speaker John Boehner has sanctimoniously responded to Obama’s plea for a bargain that gives up almost everything to the right wing by rebuffing the president on the grounds that the Republican Party is the last line of defense against big government.

Boehner dared blame Obama for “the largest spending binge in American history,” which he attributed to the health care reform, most of which has yet to be enacted, and a stimulus program that was an underfunded effort to save American jobs. Not a word from Boehner or the other Republicans about the banking collapse that resulted from their deregulatory policies, the real cause of the inflated debt.

Boehner’s slogan, “I’ve always believed, the bigger government, the smaller the people,” is downright bizarre coming from someone who supported the Bush tax cuts for the rich, the banking bailout and the highest war spending since World War II, all of which is what caused government to get this big. Was it job stimulus spending that kept GM jobs in this country that made people smaller, or the loss of their homes and jobs as a result of the policies that are at the core of the Republican program?

What is at stake is a radical Republican agenda to totally reverse the progress in economic justice that began with the great reforms of Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal. Consider the direct consequence of the economic crisis that unfettered Wall Street greed has wrought, particularly in reversing the gains made by the most underprivileged sectors of the population. As The Wall Street Journal reported, based on a Pew Research Center study from 2005 to 2009, “The wealth gap between whites and each of the nation’s two largest minorities—Hispanics and blacks—has widened to unprecedented levels amid the housing crisis and the recession. … The disparities are the greatest since the government began tracking such data a quarter-century ago. …”

But there is plenty of suffering to go around as a result of the deep recession. The wealth of whites in that period declined by 16 percent, not to mention the ever-greater chasm between the top 2 percent and everyone else. That’s the same 2 percent whose tax cuts the Republicans are determined to preserve.

© 2011 TruthDig.com

<!–

–>

Robert Scheer

Robert Scheer is editor of Truthdig.com and a regular columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.

So This Is Despair July 26, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Economic Crisis, Right Wing.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Roger’s note: it feels both surrealistic and nightmarish to think that in what is not much more than a single political moment, the Congress and the President are about to destroy Social Security and Medicare, two of the most fundamental parts of what is left of the social safety net.  Is this really happening?  Has the neo-fascist Christian Fundamentalist right wing lunacy taken full charge?
Tuesday 26 July 2011
by: William Rivers Pitt, Truthout         | Op-Ed

At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.

- Flannery O’Connor

It is difficult to describe this emotion. I’m used to disappointment, fairly comfortable with heartbreak, and am well acquainted with rage. Over the course of my lifetime, my presidents have been Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and now Obama…and each, in his own way, has been worse than the last.

How can I say that? Easy. The problems of Nixon are still with us, and have grown worse by orders of magnitude through each successive administration. Certain presidents have exacerbated the situation beyond their expected purview, but generally speaking, each one has adopted the worst ideas of his predecessor, and in nearly every instance, has made those problems worse.

But this…this is too much.

The timeline as I understand it: the far-right GOP caucus in the House decided to use the debt limit as a hostage to fortune in their decades-long quest to eliminate Social Security and Medicare. The current Democratic president saw this, and in a pure anti-Lakoffian flail that explains everything you need to know about the man, accepted the deranged premise put before him and went to work on the annihilation of the social safety net…but with the proviso that we find some new tax revenues by closing some loopholes…maybe…please?

Not good enough. House Speaker Boehner walked away from the debt-limit talks, not once but twice, because he can’t control his caucus and because he had this Democratic president right where he wanted him. The president blew up – in as much as “No Drama” Obama ever blows up – and wondered what is needed for the GOP to say “Yes” to anything. Read between the lines of that presser, and you get this: “I tried to give them Social Security. I tried to give them Medicare and Medicaid. I gave those things willingly, despite cries of outrage from my ungrateful, foolish, obnoxious left flank, and asked only for a pittance in tax revenues in exchange. Shame on the GOP for not rampaging these social programs when I offered them the chance to do so.”

Web forums all across the Democratic Party spectrum celebrated the president’s resolve. He showed them, didn’t he?

Well…wait. I saw a president in a state of high piss-off because he tried to give away Social Security and Medicare, but couldn’t convince the far right to take the proffered opportunity. They’ve been trying to do this very thing for three generations, and here is Obama practically sweating bullets in his desire to give them the victory they have pined for since Goldwater was in short pants. Sure, it’s proof that Boehner is at the mercy of the Tea Party freshmen in his caucus, but in which universe is this called victory? This Democratic president was angry because he was being denied the opportunity to preside over an historic roll-back of the New Deal?

Poor baby.

Oh, but we weren’t done yet. The “Grand Bargain” was still in the offing, now splintered into two or three or twelve different iterations, but all ultimately coming down to the same thing: trillions in cuts for the most vulnerable Americans, no new tax revenues from the rich or anyone else, and the bonus prize sought most passionately by the Democrats was the chance to kick this whole fight down the road to 2013, so none of these failures would be forced to address the question before their next all-important election cycle.

Sell out Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for a chance at an easier ride at the ballot? Where do I sign?

The Bush-era tax cuts for rich people appear nowhere in the discussion, despite the fact that eliminating them would go most of the way towards resolving this “crisis.” We are still fighting three wars, and the “defense” budget remains largely untouchable. I have not heard an American politician talk about jobs in over a year, even though a robust jobs program would add revenue to the budget hand over fist.

At the time of this writing, matters stand thusly:

We don’t yet know what the final deal to raise the debt ceiling will be. But now that Harry Reid is developing a proposal with $2.7 trillion in cuts and nothing in revenues, it’s a safe bet that it won’t include any tax increases. Which means that whether Republicans realize it or not, they’ve won. The question now is whether they can stop.

John Boehner is proposing a deal with about $1 trillion in spending cuts and a short-term increase in the debt ceiling and a bipartisan congressional committee charged with developing a large deficit reduction package that would be immune to amendments and filibusters and would be the price of the next increase in the debt ceiling. Harry Reid is developing a package of spending cuts that Democrats could accept and would reach Boehner’s $2.4 trillion mark.

If you take the Republicans’ goals as avoiding a deal in which they have to vote for tax increases and denying Obama a political victory, it looks like they have succeeded. That success has come with costs – they’ve done themselves political damage, are risking a crisis that could do the economy tremendous harm, and have left the Bush tax cuts unresolved, which means they might end up watching taxes rise much higher than if they’d taken Obama’s offer – but it’s still been a success.

A great many people who should know better continue to look at this situation as if Mr. Obama has some fantastic rabbit he…is…just…waiting to pull out of a hat, thus foiling the GOP and securing our future forever. For a brief moment a couple of weeks ago, I shared that optimism, but the last several days have slapped me soundly out of that fugue state.

I see a president on his knees, hands outstretched, offering the best ideas and policies liberal governance has ever devised up to the voracious carnivore of GOP opportunism. I see the end of the New Deal, and a far crueler America emerging from the aftermath. I see a Democratic president voiding his bladder on all that he is supposed to uphold.

Mr. Obama got on those knees again Monday night, on national television no less, and once again begged the GOP to devour Social Security and Medicare. He gobbled up the flawed, flayed premise of the far-right’s deranged argument, again, and pleaded for the chance to give away the core of what he was elected to defend.

I thought I was done being ashamed of my president.

I was wrong.

William Rivers Pitt is a Truthout editor and columnist.  He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: “War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn’t Want You to Know” and “The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.” His newest book, “House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America’s Ravaged Reputation,” is now available from PoliPointPress.

 TEA PARTY AND THE RIGHT  

Obama Is No Victim of the Right Wing — He’s Pandered to Corporate Interests
for Years

The evidence is clear that Obama is an often-willing servant
of corporate interests — not serving their interests only because the GOP
forced him to.

July 25, 2011  |

//
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.
In 2006, a relatively new Senator Obama was the only senator to
speak at the inaugural gathering of the Alexander Hamilton
Project
launched by Wall Street Democrats like Robert Rubin and Roger
Altman, Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary and deputy secretary. Obama praised
them as “innovative, thoughtful policymakers.” (It was Rubin’s crusade to
deregulate Wall Street in the late ‘90s that led
directly
to the economic meltdown of 2008 and our current crisis.)

In early 2007, way before he was a presidential frontrunner, candidate Obama
was raising more money from Wall
Street interests
than all other candidates, including New York presidential
candidates Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani.

In June 2008, as soon as Hillary ended her campaign, Obama went on CNBC,
shunned the “populist” label and announced: “Look: I am a pro-growth,
free-market guy. I love the market.” He packed his economic team with Wall
Street friends
— choosing one of Bill Clinton’s Wall Street deregulators,
Larry Summers, as his top economic advisor.

A year into his presidency, in a bizarre but revealing
interview
with Business Week, Obama was asked about huge bonuses just
received by two CEOs of Wall Street firms bailed out by taxpayers. He responded
that he didn’t “begrudge” the $17 million bonus to J.P. Mogan’s CEO or the $9
million to Goldman Sachs’ CEO: “I know both those guys, they are very savvy
businessmen,” said Obama. “I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge
people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system.”

After any review of Obama’s corporatist ties and positions, the kneejerk
response is: “Yes, but Obama was a community organizer!”

He WAS a community organizer. . .decades before he became president. Back
when Nelson Mandela was in prison and the U.S. government declared him the
leader of a “terrorist organization” while our government funded and armed Bin
Laden and his allies to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. That’s a long time
ago.

It’s worth remembering that decades before Reagan became president, the great
communicator was a leftwing Democrat and advocate for the working class and big
federal social programs.

The sad truth, as shown by
Glenn Greenwald
,  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.”

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont — widely seen as “America’s
Senator” — is so disgusted by recent White House actions that he called Friday
for a challenge to Obama in Democratic primaries: “I think it would be a good
idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition.”
Although Sanders has
said clearly that he’s running for reelection to the senate in 2012 — not for
president — his comment led instantly to a Draft Sanders for President
website.

Imagine if a credible candidate immediately threatened a primary challenge
unless Obama rejects any deal cutting the safety net while maintaining tax
breaks for the rich. Team Obama knows that a serious primary challenger would
cost the Obama campaign millions of dollars. And it may well be a powerful
movement-building opportunity for activists tired of feeling hopeless with
Obama.

It’s time for progressives to talk seriously about a challenge
to Obama’s corporatism. Polls show most Americans support economic justice
issues, and that goes double for Democratic primary voters.

If not Bernie, who? If not now, when?

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 235 other followers