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PORTSIDE  April 2012, Week 1

PORTSIDE April 2012, Week 1

Subject:

Game on: Obama Draws the Line

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 4 Apr 2012 22:21:51 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (135 lines)

Game on: Obama Draws the Line

By Robert Borosage
Campaign for America's Future
April 4, 2012

http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2012041404/game-obama-draws-line

Game on. President Obama delivered a fierce speech
yesterday, calling out the radical nonsense of the
Republican budget, and defining the themes of the
choice Americans will face in the Fall. The speech was
long, detailed, and unrelenting. I recommend taking the
time to read it in full.

This is the Obama that progressives have been calling
for. No more temporizing. No more backroom "grand
bargain" negotiations with extremists intent on cutting
taxes on the rich even if that requires gutting the
investments vital to our future. Obama finally calls
them out. Exposes their dishonesty. Reveals the
zaniness of their ideological zealotry.

Obama makes himself the champion of working people, and
what he calls the "defining issue of our time:"
restoring the sense of economic security while giving
everyone a fair shot, rather than catering to the very
few, the 1% who captured a staggering 93% of all income
growth in 2010.

He scorns the Republican's "laughable" claim that they
are forced to radical cuts by the need to reduce the
deficit, given that they call for another $4.6 trillion
in new tax cuts, largely for the wealthiest Americans.
The Republican plan - passed by the House Republicans
and embraced as "marvelous" by Mitt Romney - is, in the
president's words, "really an attempt to impose a
radical vision on our country. It is thinly veiled
social Darwinism. It is antithetical to our entire
history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility
for everybody who is willing to work for it. A place
where prosperity doesn't trickle down from the top but
grows outward from the heart of middle class. And by
gutting the very things we need to grow an economy
that's built to last. Education and training, research
and development, our infrastructure, it is a
prescription for decline." (Emphasis added)

No one who cares about America's future, no patriot,
could stand with a budget that would so weaken America.
Progressives of all stripes will rally to stand with
the president in this fight.

But

Yes, Martha, there is a but. I have no desire to
distract from the force of the speech, but it is worth
marking how far the debate has moved to the right.

Obama does what every candidate does: before marking
the differences, he seeks to establish his claim on the
"center." So at the beginning of the speech that is a
defense of public purpose, he shows that he is no big
government, tax and spend liberal.

"Keep in mind, I have never been somebody who believes
that government can or should try to solve every
problem..

As president, I have eliminated dozens of programs that
weren't working and announced over 500 regulatory
reforms that will save businesses and taxpayers
billions.

And put annual domestic spending on a path to become
the smallest share of the economy since Dwight
Eisenhower held this office.

Since before I was born. I know that the true engine of
job creation in this country is the private sector not
Washington, which is why I've cut taxes for small
business owners 17 times over the last three years."

In establishing his credibility as a candidate of the
center, he embraces conservative shibboleths: America
is over-regulated, spends too much, and taxes too much.

The reality is exactly the reverse. Our economy was
savaged because markets have too little regulation. Our
health is endangered because of too little capacity to
police companies.

Spending at the levels of Ike is a travesty. We are
starving vital investments in our future. Our
infrastructure is decrepit, costly to our economy and
dangerous to our health. We're not providing even the
basics in public education - from pre-K to affordable
college. We denigrate teachers rather than paying them
adequately. Our investments in new energy are trivial
in comparison to the Chinese intent on capturing what
will be the markets of the future. Our training and
employment programs don't come close to providing
workers what they need to navigate today's economic
currents. This list could go on.

And tax cuts for "small business" are mostly a waste.
Corporations pay a decreasing share of the national tax
burden. The wealthy, as the president says and Romney
illustrates, pay lower rates than their secretaries.

The president goes on to make many of these same
arguments in his speech, defending sensible regulation,
vital investments and tax hikes on the top. But the
fact that he and his pollsters feel the need to pay
tribute to the conservative gospel is a marker of how
constrained the current debate is.

___________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

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