As I write this, President Obama has just announced a “tentative deal” with the Republicans that will – he hopes – end the debt ceiling crisis. But in doing so, he has disillusioned a big chunk of his supporters. And he has given in to demands that cannot fail to erode American prosperity and set the country on a path to second-class status.
By slashing spending while giving predatory corporations and financiers special tax rates, tax loopholes and even subsidies, the debt ceiling armistice will ensure – and in fact exacerbate – the yawning income gap between the rich and the rest of us. This amounts to a crusade against the middle class. The end result will inevitably be a Third World society in which the very rich lord it over the very poor.
There is only one way to long-term prosperity – sell more to other countries than you buy from them. And America’s prevailing trade policies make this improbable.
There is only one way to short-term recovery – support the failing economy with government investment in such vital areas as infrastructure and alternative energy development while increasing government revenue through a sensible tax code. The debt ceiling deal makes this unachievable,
Current trends will inevitably end the global economic dominance of the United States. Like a burnt-out star, the American economy might continue to shine for a while. But the energy that produced the glow will be gone.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, President Obama must be counting on support from “the center” in next year’s election.
I wish him luck.
From what I have observed over the years, “the center” isn’t very enthusiastic about voting.
The crazies on the right vote. Not only vote but get out and campaign. They provided the passion that won the House for Republicans last year.
The activists on the left also vote. And, as Jackie Calmes reported in The New York Times yesterday:
“The activist liberal base will support Obama because they’re terrified of the right wing,” said Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the liberal group Campaign for America’s Future.
Yes, they will. I will.
But what about the more moderate Democrats?
Here’s what the Calmes article quoted Borosage as saying:
“I believe that the voting base of the Democratic Party – young people, single women, African-Americans, Latinos – are going to be so discouraged by this economy and so dismayed unless the president starts to champion a jobs program and take on the Republican Congress that the ability of labor to turn out its vote, the ability of activists to mobilize that vote, is going to be dramatically reduced.”
Why should working people vote for a president who refuses to fight for them?
How will they respond to President Obama’s decision to join hands with the Republican right instead of invoking the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to end the debt ceiling stand-off?
Why should minorities and laid-off workers get out and knock on doors or students hold rallies for Democratic candidates who voted for the “deal”?
Why should seniors and the middle-aged vote for politicians who are openly bent on diminishing Social Security and Medicare?
The answer to those questions will decide the next election – and the country’s future.