The thanks of a grateful 1 percent
By Mike Krauss
Bucks County Courier Times
Many weeks ago in this column I forecasted an Obama victory. It was an obvious call.
Mr. Romney was and is a poster boy for Wall Street and the 1 percent. He represented a party – at least those who have done its talking for thirty years – that veers between indifference and hostility to gays, Hispanics, African Americans, the unemployed, uninsured, homeless and women.
Who was left to disdain?
So Obama’s victory was assured. Now the question is, what will he do with that victory? The answer is again obvious. He will do as he did after his first election, and protect the interests of the 1 percent.
Obama came to the presidency with more good will and political capital among the American people than any new president in modern times. But even before he took office, he and House Speaker Pelosi ran to Wall Street’s rescue and rounded up the votes to pass the bail out.
Then as president, Mr. Obama stood up for Wall Street. He surrounded himself with Wall Street’s minders and errand boys, legitimized Wall Street’s greed and fraud, put Wall Street’s boys at Treasury, Justice and the Fed. He stood up for Wall Street as he sat down on unemployment and foreclosure, and instead led the nation off into the health care wilderness.
Not that health care is unimportant. But even a second rate political strategist could have told you that if Obama had gone after Wall Street, put the barons on the run and in the dock, his approval rating would have gone from 60 plus percent to about, well, about 99 percent.
The president could then have gotten any jobs and foreclosure bills he wanted, the American people and economy would have come roaring back, and he could finally have gotten the health care reform most Americans have long supported - a single payer system for all Americans.
He didn’t want to. His re-election should have been impossible. But the GOP and the 1 percent served up Romney and Obama won – big.
And it was a big victory. Not just the contest for president, but across the board in the Senate and House, the GOP got hammered, and Obama immediately stepped up to talk - compromise.
It is as if, when the treaties were signed to end World War II, the U.S. had then asked the Germans and Japanese how much of Europe and Asia they would like back.
Do you think, if Romney and the GOP had won, they would be talking compromise? Of course not. They would be talking “mandate” 24/7. And there would be bills tomorrow to “save” what is left of the safety net by cutting more holes in it, complete with continued historic low taxes for the already wealthy and more corporate subsidies.
And there will be such bills and soon. Mr. Obama will give cover to those Democrats in Congress who Wall Street and the 1 percent have already purchased, and an opportunity for the true believing predators in the GOP to push for cuts in the safety net that will make the coming sell out sound reasonable.
It is the same drill that got the bail out through Congress in 2008, led by Democrats Obama and Pelosi and a national media that hectored the American people night and day with the specter of a “credit freeze” and collapse of the economy.
The bail out was enacted and Americans got – an economic collapse. This time it is the even more ominous sounding “fiscal cliff” which is trotted out day and night to frighten Americans into burning down their own house. And the result will be more hardship and poverty for most Americans, and more wealth for the already wealthy.
It is time to ask, if you have not yet, whether the two major national political parties in the U.S. any longer can make a claim to represent average Americans; or whether both have been reduced to puppet parties, the strings of each pulled by Wall Street and the 1 percent, going through election “extravaganzas” as scripted as any professional wrestling match, outcome predetermined: the 1 percent win and the 99 percent lose.
There were some hopeful signs in the elections for Congress, most notably the election of Elizabeth Warren as Senator from Massachusetts. But that is one reason why Wall Street and the 1 percent are trying to stampede the nation now, and get this deal done with the lame duck Congress, before anybody is in place to head them off.
It does not take a political genius to forecast harder times still for most Americans. Likewise, it is obvious that the fight for simple justice and the prosperity of the 99 percent will not be led from Washington. It will be led from America’s municipalities, counties and states, rebuilding an American community, or it will not be led at all.
And four years from now Mr. Obama will retire with the thanks of a grateful 1 percent and we can try again to elect a president of the people, by the people and for the people.