Thursday, February 05, 2009

"I hope he fails"

As expected, President Obama is getting slammed by the far right for everything he does. The same thing happened during the entire Clinton administration, but I actually thought that the fringe element would have gotten a clue - given the results of the last election - that the public has lost patience with partisan sniping at the cost of good governance.

It's been implied that Daschle's failure to pay all his taxes is a failure on the part of the president. First of all, someone in Daschle's position doesn't even do his own taxes, and probably doesn't even look very closely at the returns that are filed, yet the president is somehow supposed to know the details. Such an expectation is obviously agenda-driven, and I think we need to look more closely at that agenda.

We need to ask ourselves some hard questions, and look for some honest answers. For years, our country has been controlled by people we didn't elect, and who operated in an atmosphere free of real oversight. Corporate CEOs and industry lobbyists actually drafted legislation that eliminated government constraints upon their activities, then paid our elected officials to pass those laws for a willing president - whose "success" throughout his career was entirely beholden to the same CEOs - to sign.

The results? Insurance companies no longer have to actually pay valid claims. Credit card companies can charge pretty much whatever they want, literally trapping even honest cardholders into being responsible for paying exhorbitant additional fees, for actions over which they have no control. Oil companies post record profits, even as they drink deeply from the well of government subsidies. Corporations get tax breaks for eliminating American jobs and replacing them with foreign labor. Those same corporations are even given incentives to move offshore, where they are exempt from paying a significant portion of their taxes. Daschle's situation - even if it represents intentional avoidance, which nobody has established - is a drop in a very large bucket by comparison.

Mortgage lenders and financial firms have been freed of the constraints that prevented them from taking ridiculous risks and strongly encouraging their customers to spend money those customers couldn't remotely afford. Sure, those customers who bought homes beyond their budgets or made pie-in-the-sky investments share responsibility, but no more than does the industry that prodded them into making commitments that the industry knew would likely be broken.

Now that the bottom has all but fallen out, the right has plainly stated that they want a hugely popular president to fail, even if it means the destruction of the country's well-being. Rush Limbaugh, of all people, has come to be the titular head and spokesman of the far right. The very "conservatives" (and I use the term very loosely, with tongue firmly in cheek) who dug the hole in which we currently find ourselves are demanding that we give them back the shovel.

I think that the controversy over the capping of CEO salaries is a pretty good metaphor for the overall attitude of the right. They seem to feel that a CEO who has led a business into failure should justifiably be given millions of dollars in salary & bonuses, even as he (or she) dictates the elimination of thousands of citizens' jobs. Even worse, that CEO has the gall to literally demand that the government fork over billions of dollars to bail the company out, yet have no voice in what the company does with the money. Banks took $350 billion, with the intent that the money would be used to free up credit and stimulate the ecopnomy. Did they free up credit? No... they simply did what they thought would enhance their own bottom lines, and then refused to disclose what they did with the money. We took a real screwing on that one, and the banks are laughing, all the way to... well, you know.

Our elected officials are sworn to uphold the Constitution, and to defend it from all enemies, both foreigh and domestic. I say it's time we enforce that oath. If an elected official is complicit in drafting and enacting laws that enrich donors and lobbyists at the cost of constituents' well-being, they will have aided and abetted the criminal acts of a domestic enemy, and should face the full force of the criminal justice system. Same goes for officials who subvert the Constitution for their own cynical purposes. We've sat idly as our "leaders" have sold our children's future in order to line their own pockets. It's time to stop. If we don't do it now, things will just get worse. Better to fix a problem now, before the culture we so cherish is destroyed. Fixing it later will be infinitely more painful.


Anonymous said...

Good post, Ron. It's unspeakable, the level of arrogance shown by "the captains of the industry" and their apologists. And the corporate welfare system clearly encourages it.

BTW, I have already seen "Impeach Obama" stickers. How crazy is that?

debus said...

I'm in australia and somehow got to ur blog. They are some of the best comments i have read on the current situation. unfortunately, we are getting sucked down the financial toilet with you.

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