by Glen Ford
Black Agenda Radio
July 2, 2010
In the endgame of casino capitalism, every “crisis” is an excuse to turn the screws tighter. The only solutions our leaders can propose are deeper cuts to social services, savage slashes in the government services ordinary people use, along with privatizations of public assets that benefit only a few of the best connected cronies.
Your smiling TV business reporter has doubtless assured you that the Great Recession is over, whether it feels that way to you or not, and that what looks like the destruction of life as the average American once knew it is really just a large bump in the road to prosperity. However, he adds, there will be some belt-tightening. But that belt is a noose, and President Obama and most of his Democrats and all of the Republicans have joined a lynching party led by the Wall Street gang. They are hell bent on finishing off what’s left of the fragile social safety net in the United States.
The banksters are currently savaging Europe, tearing away at social democracy in a struggle to reverse two hundred years of civilization. They are bound and determined to kill off the very idea that society should be constructed for the purpose of taking care of people’s needs. The entire edifice of the European welfare state is to be disassembled on orders of international finance capital, leaving the citizens naked to the machinations of the moneyed classes.
We in the United States have never had much protection against the predations of the Lords of Capital, but the few we managed to win over the last four generations have been marked for destruction. This is the real “change” Barack Obama brings. On the eve of his inauguration, Obama promised his banker friends that every social and entitlement program would be “on the table” – the chopping block – during his administration. Now he is about to fulfill that promise.
Although Obama has not kept faith with any of the popular constituencies that elected him to office, he has rewarded his corporate backers with benefits thousands of times more valuable than their campaign contributions. He has given them the keys to the American state, from whose Federal Reserve they have extracted tens of trillions of dollars. They have invested virtually none of this money in productive pursuits, but simply fattened their own portfolios and funneled the rest of the cash into Wall Street’s gambling houses. In their great counter-revolution, the banksters rallying cry is, “All power to the Casinos! Death to the Social Safety Net!”
As progressive economist Michael Hudson puts it, Wall Street’s goal is “nothing less than to roll back Social Security and pensions for labor, health care, education and other public spending, to dismantle the social welfare state, the Progressive Era and even classical liberalism.” Obama made good on his promise to the banks at his State of the Union Address, vowing to freeze spending on discretionary items – but not, of course, the military – for three years, starting next year. He has failed to bring to bear the full powers of his presidency on behalf of the unemployed whose benefits have run out. But he will not break his promises to Wall Street. As economist Dean Baker reports, “President Obama’s deficit commission is moving forward with Social Security and Medicare explicitly in their sights…everything is on the table, except reforms that would hurt powerful industry lobbies.”
More and more, Barack Obama is showing his corporate teeth and running hard with the global banking wolf pack. Finance capital is busily robbing Europe of its social democratic legacy. Americans have only had the New Deal and the Great Society, and the last vestiges of that are on Obama’s chopping block.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com
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