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MAINSTREAM MEDIA SPIN:
Corporate Media's Version of Economic Justice
Friday, 10 December 2010
According to one estimate, members of the top income bracket (those earning over $373, 651 a year) are getting an average $70,000 windfall, the super-rich far more. By comparison, working Americans are offered crumbs.
Besides misreporting on Obama capitulating to Republicans, major media op-eds and editorials expressed support for a deal only the devil and super-rich love.
On December 7, a New York Times editorial headlined, "Voting for an Odious Tax Deal," saying:
False! Democrats control the White House and have large House and Senate majorities. At issue is why aren't they using it for responsible legislation, helping middle and lower income Americans, not super-rich constituents with more already than they need.
False again! The 112th Congress convenes on January 3, 2011. Democrats have between now and then to enact whatever they wish, with or without Republican support.
The editorial then blames Republicans "for what's wrong with the tax deal. (They) have little room to maneuver." Not so, with Democrats firmly in charge if they'll use their voter given mandate. Abstaining, in fact, shows where they stand, as supportive of wealth and power as Republicans.
In fact, he acted the same as he's done since taking office on January 20, 2008, favoring wealth and power, not social justice when more than ever it's needed - the same position as Times editorial writers.
Their columnists also, including David Herszenhorn and Jackie Calmes in their December 8 article headlined, "Tax Deal Is Key to Avoid Recession, Obama Advisor Says," stating:
Larry Summers, head of the White House National Economic Council (NEC), issued the warning, saying:
False!, according to economist David Rosenberg, calculating that it will add a meager four-tenth of one percent to GDP growth, a plus, but hardly one to extol or worry over if not enacted.
As for Summers, he shamed himself in the 1990s under Clinton. As Treasury Secretary, he was a major architect of today's financial crisis by pushing repeal of Glass-Steagall and getting the Financial Services Modernization Act passed - cornerstones of speculative excess.
As Harvard University president, he had contentious relations with faculty members, as well as suggesting women have less science and math ability than men. In 2006, these and other indiscretions got him sacked. Whatever he supports should be denounced, not accepted as sound advice.
The Wall Street Journal's Editorial and Op-Ed Opinions
Journal op-eds and editorials are just as bad, a publication proud of its pro-business credentials. On December 8, it was visible in an editorial headlined, "Obamanomics Takes a Holiday," saying:
False! During hard times like now, direct government intervention counts most - New Deal-type stimulus, the kind anathema to Journal neanderthals.
Its Thomas Cooley/Lee Ohanian op-ed continued the tax cut theme headlined, "The Bush Tax Cuts Never Went Far Enough," saying:
False! Productivity increases by getting more production from current work forces, or comparable output from smaller ones. As for wages, they're easily cut during hard times, but don't rise proportionately during upturns.
Why so is clear. Private sector unionization is in disarray. Consider the facts. In 2009, membership fell another 10%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The percent of union members overall is 12.3%. The private sector level, however, fell to 7.2%, its lowest state since 1901, a testimony to corporate power, union weakness, and government disinterest in helping.
Given that, continued offshoring good jobs to cheap labor markets, Democrats as anti-union as Republicans, and union bosses collaborating with business against their own rank and file, fair pay increases face stiff headwinds, even during economic growth periods, and during hard times, workers are virtually stripped of all rights.
Ask UAW members about how their leadership sold them out, resulting in plant closings, offshoring, pay and benefit cuts, and mass layoffs, transforming the auto industry landscape into a wasteland, besides enormous damage done throughout US manufacturing since the 1980s, hollowed out from its former industrial strength. Tax cuts did nothing to stop it.
Wrecking the American Dream
For nearly two years, Obama continued the Bush agenda, supporting wealth and power, wrecking the economy, and abstaining from real help for working Americans. The latest way: his December 6 deal with the devil - capitulating to Republicans, the rich and super-rich at the expense of millions in need, getting temporary crumbs, not meaningful permanent relief they deserve.
According to Roberton Williams, Senior Fellow with the Tax Policy Center, his deal "come(s) to a few dollars a week," while lavishing billions on America's elites who deserve higher, not lower, taxes. According to one estimate, members of the top income bracket (those earning over $373, 651 a year) are getting an average $70,000 windfall, the super-rich far more. By comparison, working Americans are offered crumbs, temporary ones that future Republican (and perhaps Democrat) leadership will end whatever economic conditions prevail.
As for business and America's wealthy, they never had it so good, at the expense of middle and lower income households. They're struggling to survive during hard times, burdened by a government-business cabal under both parties, lavishing handouts to Wall Street and other corporate favorites while proposing austerity for working Americans, a topic several earlier articles addressed:
A Hopeful Sign
On December 9, CNN reported that "House Democrats voted Thursday not to bring up (Obama's tax proposal) in its current form," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D. MD) saying:
The vote came a day after Vice President Biden said any changes would unravel the deal. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D. OR) said: "They said take it or leave it. We left it." He explained that technically the caucus resolution is non-binding, but he believes Speaker Pelosi "will follow the wishes of her caucus."
It remains to be seen if this kills or alters the deal in the face of determined White House and likely party leadership to prevent it. Nearly always in the end they prevail. Rhetoric aside, expect America's aristocracy to get all the benefits of Obama's "compromise" and much more. They run Washington and won't settle for less.
A Final Comment
Obama's deal does nothing to stimulate job or sustained economic growth or stop destructive offshoring of high-paid/good benefits manufacturing and other jobs. Nor does it address the enormous budget and trade deficits, vital infrastructure development needs, high-speed rail, environmental remediation, reckless out-of-control military spending and imperial adventurism, America's greatest ever wealth disparity, and many other urgent issues responsible leadership would confront.
America's political left surrendered decades ago to big monied interests, especially Wall Street banksters who've looted trillions from the Treasury and continue doing it without restraint. So-called financial reform leaves them unregulated, unaccountable and unchecked to do what they please. They're taking full advantage.
On December 8, one corporate media host noticed, a man this writer criticized several times for shamelessly turning his MSNBC program into a commercial for Democrats, Keith Olbermann. In a special comment, he said "Obama turned his back on his base," adding:
Olbermann rarely does it. He's staunchly backed Obama and congressional Democrats, supporting policies like business-as-usual Obamacare, bogus financial reform, agribusiness-friendly food safety modernization just passed by the House, and cap and trade that if passed won't curb emissions or pollution, but will raise energy prices and create a new bubble through carbon trading derivatives speculation.
He's righteously bashed Republicans, yet flacks for Democrats, clueless that they're no different on fundamental core issues like war and peace, banker bailouts, lavish corporate subsidies, America's prison gulag, the hundreds of political prisoners in it, deepening homeland repression, and much more.
His December 8 commentary was refreshing, a rare moment of truth, never heard on Fox, CNN, in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal or other broadcast or print corporate media.
For that, he deserves credit. Hopefully he'll deliver more at a time voices for right over wrong thrive only in alternative media spaces, not reaching audience sizes television does daily. For sure, not having the same impact when doing so is vital to derail America's decent toward police state intolerance, the current condition that keeps worsening under both parties unless somehow ways are found to stop it before it's too late. What better topic for another Olbermann commentary. Is he listening?
Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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