Another cliché also applies: He who does not learn from history is condemned to repeat it.
At least President Franklin Roosevelt waited until he was re-elected to return to the Mellonheaded and Hooverite thinking of the time. FDR starting cutting back on government spending and precipitated a recession in 1937.
Barack Carter Obama seems to be doing the same damned thing, only two years too early.
His stimulus package was half a trillion too small. As Tribune reporter Joshua Silavent presciently put it in a column awhile back, prepare for “The Postdated Recession.”
The 2009 federal stimulus money is running out. American business is sitting on more than a trillion in cash but won’t spend on expansion and new workers. Somebody’s got to prime the pump and Mr. Obama is apparently not ready for prime time.
As I have oft noted, his personality is that of a peacemaker when America needs an alpha dog. Every time he extends a hand across the aisle, the GOP Moonhowlers give him back a bloody stump. Maybe during some future full moon, he will grow fangs and tear some of these blackguards limb from limb. But for now, he is selling out those who elected him, offering to cut Social Security and Medicare while paying the big banks first.
He put the foxes in charge of the chicken coop, expecting the guys who caused our meltdown to fix it. Fat chance.
There is plenty of blame to go around. Both Democrats and Republicans have completely missed the message of the last three general elections (2006, 2008, 2010): We are hurting and need you to do something — now.
Germany got hit when we did but Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government preserved employment first. Starting with Dubya’s treasury secretary, Goldman-Sachs CEO Henry Pat Paulson, we propped up Wall Street billionaire speculators and ignored job preservation.
The GOP thus presented the only protest vote available in 2010 and the message has apparently yet to be received. If the current federal debt limit is not increased by August 2, the taxpayers will purportedly pay bondholders first and the people can go starve. Even the Soviet Union did better than that.
As filmmaker Michael Moore said a few years back, corporate America has two political parties. Can’t we have just one?
Apparently not. If Obama cuts a deal with the devil to begin the destruction of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, he will have taken the next step toward joining Jimmy Carter building Habitat for Humanity houses in early 2013.
He and his handlers are apparently possessed of the cynical thinking that the center and left have nowhere to go, so he can run as a moderate Republican. Bill Clinton turned the trick in 1996, so why not?
But Clinton’s tax increases turbocharged the economy and people always vote their stomachs and pocketbooks.
Republicans, including local GOP congressional nominee Mark Amodei, keep pimping the same siren song: Cut taxes on the rich, screw everyone else and all will be well.
“Although tax cuts ‘have lowered government revenues,’ they ‘have not had any perceptible effect on the state’s economic growth,’ concluded an Arizona State University business school study, published last November, that examined the past three decades of fiscal policy.” — (Silverstein, Ken; “Tea Party in the Sonora: For the future of GOP governance, look to Arizona”; Harper’s Magazine, July 2010.)
No less than King Ronald the Vague’s budget director David Stockman has scoffed at his former colleagues who continue to sell this academically repackaged version of “You can have your cake at eat it, too.”
Unless something changes, President Kevorkian is on his way to committing political and economic suicide while congress remains bewitched like Harry Potter, waving magic wands and hoping that all that bad karma will just go away.
Amodei, part deux
While Democrat Kate Marshall has raised more money, Amodei is running unanswered TV. Bad news for the state treasurer in a district perfectly gerrymandered to elect only Republicans for the past three decades. One of Dark Mark’s spots calls for elimination of labor unions, a curious position given that he supported collective bargaining for state workers while in the state senate. Cut the man some cake.
Join the party
Sam Shad’s Nevada Newsmakers soirée this Wednesday, July 20, features Glenn Cook, editorial writer at Nevada’s largest newspaper, the Las Vegas WeSueYou-Journal.
I’ll participate on the pundit panel with Mary Lau, President of the Retail Association of Nevada (aka Wal-Mart) and GOP brownshirt fashion consultant Robert Uithoven. I’ve got ‘em surrounded.
The first airing goes at 12:30 p.m. PDT on KRNV TV-4 with reruns online and on statewide TV.
Check this column at NevadaLabor.com for the Barbwire.TV schedule both local and around the Silver State, also available 24/7 online. I have ordered reruns of my show on the Employee Free Choice Act, something the president and Sen. Reid promised to get passed...Why nothing in the Reno paper about Mayor Bob Cashell’s private investigation of downtown bars as drug dens?...Support the return of community radio and television. Go to ReSurge.TV to volunteer your time, treasure or both. It’s important.
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 42-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.