Obama's Anti-Populist Budget

Bad choices hurt the powerless and please corporations and the very rich.

by Stephen Lendman
Originally published on Lendman's blog on Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Just weeks after capitulating to Republicans on tax cuts for America's super-rich and corporations, Obama's budget hammers working Americans, especially the poor, ignored since Reagan succeeded Carter.

Despite its flaws and failures during America's Great Depression, FDR's New Deal was remarkable for what it accomplished. It helped people, put millions back to work, reinvigorated the national spirit, built or renovated 700,000 miles of roads, 7,800 bridges, 45,000 schools, 2,500 hospitals, 13,000 parks and playgrounds, 1,000 airfields, and various other infrastructure, including much of Chicago's lakefront where this writer lives. It cut unemployment from 25% in May 1933 to 11% in 1937, before declaring victory too early and letting it spike before early war production revived economic growth and headed it lower.

Moreover, his key legislation included:

Obama's No FDR

His agenda lets Wall Street loot the treasury, rewards other corporate favorites generously, ignores vital people needs, does little to create jobs or help homeowners facing foreclosure, and spends over $1 trillion annually on unbridled militarism and imperial wars at a time America has no enemies.

Now the latest - his proposed anti-populist FY 2012 budget, Republicans and right wing pundits say doesn't go far enough.

On February 14, New York Times writer Jackie Calmes headlined, "Obama's Budget Focuses on Path to Rein in Deficit," saying:

It "address(es) the deficit and the best path to long-term economic success....(H)e laid out a path for bringing down annual deficits to more sustainable levels over the rest of the decade," saying he'll reduce it "over the next decade by $1.1 trillion, or about 10%," and it's only for starters.

Much more is planned, targeting entitlements once thought untouchable, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They're heading for the chopping block toward elimination along with public pensions, robbing millions of vital protections and futures to do more for America's super-rich and facilitate imperial global rampaging.

That's Obama's real agenda - soaking working households and the poor, transferring greater wealth to America's super-rich already with too much, and continuing lawless imperial rampaging for unchallengeable global dominance.

Nonetheless, House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan accused Obama of "an abdication of leadership" for not doing more, on the backs of working and poor households the way he and other Republicans propose, letting America's aristocracy get richer.

A same day Times editorial headlined, "The Obama Budget," saying:

"On paper, President Obama's new $3.7 trillion budget is encouraging. It makes a number of tough choices to cut the deficit....which is enough to prevent an uncontrolled explosion of debt in the next decade and, as a result, reduce the risk of a fiscal crisis. (It's) balanced enough to start the process of deficit reduction, but not so draconian that it would derail the recovery. (It's) a good starting point for discussion...."

Wall Street Journal writers want more, featured in a lead February 15 editorial headlined, "The Cee Lo Green Budget," calling it "cynical and unrealistic," saying:

"....what landed on Congress's doorstep on Monday was a White House budget that increases deficits above the spending baseline for the next two years. Hosni Mubarak was more in touch with reality last Thursday night," mindless, in fact, that he didn't fall. He was pushed, Washington and Egypt's military doing the shoving. "How unserious is this budget," asked Journal writers? Targeting most cuts after 2016, he proposed "Budget Flimfam 101."

Obama, Corporate/Imperial Tool

Whether now, later or in between, Obama's budget hammers working Americans, especially those poor, forgotten, vulnerable, and ignored since Reagan succeeded Carter. Democrats have been as cruel as Republicans, serving wealth and power interests alone while pretending to care.

Weeks after capitulating to Republicans on tax cuts for America's super-rich and corporations, adding hundreds of billions to the deficit, he now wants funding reductions for:

Social spending cuts now and ahead will facilitate them. On February 5, Obama's budget director, Jacob Lew, signaled what's planned in his New York Times op-ed headlined, "The Easy Cuts Are Behind Us," saying:

" make room for the investments we need to foster growth, we have to cut what we cannot afford," meaning longstanding social services millions rely on, need, and if lose will face grave hardships. They're coming to "prepare the United States to win in the world economy" at the expense of most of its citizens, sacrificed for elitist interests, the usual ones lined up for more.

A Final Comment

A previous article discussed equitable alternatives far different than Obama proposed. They include:

The alternative includes imperial lawlessness, endemic corruption, high unemployment, growing impoverishment, social inequality and decay, unmet human needs, and eroding freedoms, heading America toward tyranny and ruin the way all past empires declined and fell. Republican or Democrat proposals will hasten it unless challenged and stopped.

Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at His blog is

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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on February 16, 2011.