Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Clueless in D.C.

Wow - President Obama is even dumber than I thought.

First, a story from Bloomberg News:

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama said he doesn’t “begrudge” the $17 million bonus awarded to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon or the $9 million issued to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, noting that some athletes take home more pay.

The president, speaking in an interview, said in response to a question that while $17 million is “an extraordinary amount of money” for Main Street, “there are some baseball players who are making more than that and don’t get to the World Series either, so I’m shocked by that as well.”

“I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,” Obama said in the interview yesterday in the Oval Office with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday. “I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free- market system.”

Now Paul Krugman's reaction to Obama's comments:

Oh. My. God.

First of all, to my knowledge, irresponsible behavior by baseball players hasn’t brought the world economy to the brink of collapse and cost millions of innocent Americans their jobs and/or houses.

And more specifically, not only has the financial industry has been bailed out with taxpayer commitments; it continues to rely on a taxpayer backstop for its stability. Don’t take it from me, take it from the rating agencies:

The planned overhaul of US financial rules prompted Standard & Poor’s to warn on Tuesday it might downgrade the credit ratings of Citigroup and Bank of America on concerns that the shake-up would make it less likely that the banks would be bailed out by US taxpayers if they ran into trouble again.

The point is that these bank executives are not free agents who are earning big bucks in fair competition; they run companies that are essentially wards of the state. There’s good reason to feel outraged at the growing appearance that we’re running a system of lemon socialism, in which losses are public but gains are private. And at the very least, you would think that Obama would understand the importance of acknowledging public anger over what’s happening.

But no. If the Bloomberg story is to be believed, Obama thinks his key to electoral success is to trumpet “the influence corporate leaders have had on his economic policies.”

We’re doomed.

We are doomed.

Not only does Obama seem to believe the "free market capitalism" jive that allows these crony capitalists on Wall Street to rig the system, steal from the taxpayer and run the economy like a Reno casino while privatizing profits and shunting losses onto the public, but he wants to take these same values and ideas and apply them to public education.

Meaning crony capitalists will have a new punch bowl to slurp from and more new yummy profits to gobble up while shunting the losses onto the public.

But education, like the economy, will fail to get any better under Obama's stewardship.


  1. "But education, like the economy, will fail to get any better under Obama's stewardship."

    I'd almost be consoled if it was just mediocrity and stagnation that teacher have to face under Brand Obama ("Marketer of the Year, 2008," Advertising Age Magazine).

    In fact, we can expect an acceleration of the attacks against public education, teachers (and working and middle-class people in general) and their unions: more school closings, more subsidies for private charter operators, more de-professionalization, and an increase in attacks on pensions.

    As the economy has declined and increasingly become an appendage of finance capital, legitimate, living wage employment with benefits has disappeared from the private sector at an alarming rate. Increasingly, public sector employment is the last refuge for work with some degree of job security and benefits. That's a big part of what's under attack today: the mid-20th century effort to temper the most vicious, step-on-your-neighbor's throat excesses of capitalism.

    Obama is a transitional figure who emerged and was marketed by Finance (by far his largest backers in the 2008 campaign) to divert dissatisfaction and populist energies that had built up under Bush.

    A transitional figure... but to what? To something that resembles a progressive, democratic rebellion against the Overclass, or a fascist corporatism that combines old-school coercion with genetically-engineered bread and electronic circuses?

  2. Very well said, Michael. I especially like the description of Obamaism as "fascist corporatism that combines old-school coercion with genetically-engineered bread and electronic circuses."

    But where do we go from here? How do we fight this? So many people I know who are working and middle class, disaffected, angry at Wall Street, angry at Washington - but there's no good place to channel that anger into meaningful reform and change of the status quo.

  3. I'm probably going to date myself and reveal how archaic I am, but I still think that things will not improve until the balance ofpower between labor and capital is changed to give workers a better deal. Thus, I'd recommend that people fight to join unions, form unions or reform/strengthen the unions they already belong to.

    I know this is a big stretch, since labor is flat on its back and unions like the UFT have crippled themselves with false notions of "collaborating" with people who want to destroy it.

    Still, where else are ya gonna go?