Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

By Richard Rhames

This ... wave (that) Obama is riding, (is an) ... ocean of energy he is trying to steer into an acceptance of the same old deal, the same old wars, the same old systemic racism, packaged as something new. This wave of energy is not something he’s inspired, it’s something he’s riding and that he is uniquely qualified to channel toward his own ends—which are not our ends. — Juan Santos, February 2008

The 2008 campaign season is mercifully over. Friend to Wall Street and the murderous imperium, Barack Hussein Obama has been anointed with power. Though he got smoked in the electoral college, candidate McCain, with his not-so-veiled fascist appeal finished with horrifyingly strong numbers in the popular vote. McCain and his Rapture-seeking running mate tallied over 45% based on their appeals to the basest and most irrational tendencies still poisonously flowering in our economically tottering population.

In the end, McCain’s desperate attempt to label Obama’s tepid tax proposals as “socialistic” proved his undoing. He asserted in his tone-deaf way that the American public was opposed to “spreading the wealth around.” It isn’t, of course.

But over the last several decades, as the Democratic party lost its way, becoming a minor wing of the Republican/Business party, the entire political class has become dedicated to concentrating wealth in the hands/pockets of The One Percent. The bipartisan consensus now favors shoveling money to those who funded campaigns for Obama and McCain and the rest.

The idea of seriously taxing the rich, the Wall Street weak, the currency speculators, or any of the notorious criminal element that runs things frankly just never comes up in polite and “responsible” company anymore.

Obama limply proposed raising the marginal income tax rates on those making $250,000 annually a few points, to where they were in Bill Clinton’s time. With this minor tweak, the maximum levy would inch up again from 35% to 39.6%. That’s well south of the 70 to 94 percent marginal rate which afflicted the wealthy in the US for most of the 20th century.

But when, late in the campaign, McCain/Palin began attacking the timid proposal as a dark scheme to “spread wealth,” a funny thing happened. Pollsters discovered a nation of closet Marxists enthused by the prospect of even a trivial Obama-esque wealth redistribution in their favor. As Alexander Zaitchik noted, “The McCain campaign’s attempts to smear Obama as a Trojan donkey for socialistic UN-Americanism ... belly-flopped, if not backfired.” The McCain/Palin suicide strategy actually wound up boosting public support for B.H.O.

Zaitchick reported that, “The final national polls before Tuesday all show(ed) a national hunger for national wealth redistribution downward.” Respondents to Ipsos/McClatchy pollsters preferred the Democratic plan to the Republican by 8 points, Pew found a 50-to 39-percent spread. Gallup found the allegedly “socialistic” scheme favored 58-to-37 percent.

When McCain tapped Palin as his plodding mate, I for one was greatly cheered. I naively expected that media would look to Stalinist Alaska and its long-standing redistributive Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI). There, citizens get paid for just showing up through a levy on corporate oil exploiters. Comrade Palin and her Duma just this year got the GAI boosted by $1,200 to $3,269.

Only months ago, Red Sarah easily out-commied neo-bama, telling journalist Philip Gourevitch: “Alaskans collectively own the resources. We share in the wealth.”

Has the allegedly “far-left” Yes-We-Canner proposed creating a GAI for America’s population based on their collective ownership of oil and other mineral wealth under federal lands, or their collective title to the “airwaves”/ broadcast spectrum? Couldn’t we do that?

No, we can’t.

Only the most marginal changes to the economic status quo will be tolerated by those who bought Mr. Obama’s election for him. He is frankly opposed to instituting a national single-payer health insurance system even though it would insure everyone for less than we’re paying now. During the primaries he used Republican talking points when discussing Social Security, peddling the fantasy that the system faces a structural funding “crisis.” He’s a bright guy. He knows better than that.

During his acceptance speech on election night, he warned his adoring fans, “we know the government can’t solve every problem.” He called for “a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.” Yes, in a country where workers toil longer, harder, and for less than in most civilized nations, where 18,000 to 100,000 die annually for lack of health care, and where the majority has been on the economic skids since 1973, Mr. Change now urges yet more sacrifice.

And the deluded cheer.

Despite the tireless work of Democratic party loyalists who hoped that their party’s platform might now be implemented, Obama openly denigrated their desires. He disparaged partisan struggle as marked by “pettiness and immaturity.” It has “poisoned our politics for so long,” he said. He’s “post-partisan” you see, or at least post-Democrat.

The President-elect’s first act was to name Rep. Rahm Israel Emanuel as his chief of staff. Emanuel, characterized as a “take-no-prisoners” brawler, faithfully served Bill Clinton as the Man From Hope attacked the Democratic Party’s base. Politico.com reports, “Emanuel’s first assignment in Clinton’s White House was helping to pass ... (NAFTA) which riled many Democrats. He was a consistent voice for anti-crime measures, welfare reform (sic) and other initiatives that pushed against liberal orthodoxy.” After leaving the Clinton administration, Emanuel “returned to Chicago as an investment bank managing director,” and raked in $18 million.

The Washington Post reports that, “Obama’s advisors... are well aware of the (supposed) dangers of interpreting the results as a mandate for unabashed liberal government.” Further, “They are ready for potential conflict with some Democratic constituencies... (that) ... may clash with Obama’s priorities...”

Meet the new boss.

Fooled again.

Richard Rhames is a farmer near Biddeford, Maine. This originally appeared in the Biddeford Journal Tribune.

From The Progressive Populist, December 1, 2008


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