Before steamboats proliferated, goods could not easily be moved upstream on the Mississippi River. It was much easier to "go with the flow", as it were, because of the prohibitive cost of sending goods up river. "Sold down the river" was the easier, cheaper, status-quo method of moving your products to markets.
President Obama will propose, I'm afraid, selling the vast majority of Americans down the river, so to speak, as he begins his re-election campaign in earnest with a prime time speech to the nation Wednesday night. I come to this conclusion based on the president's past performances.
To follow my reasoning here, it is imperative to keep in mind the "negotiations" which took place over three major pieces of legislation.
While telling the nation that he wanted to see discount bulk purchasing power of pharmaceuticals for Medicare in his comprehensive health care reform legislation....he was working behind the scenes guaranteeing Big Pharma nothing like that would ever happen. The Obama "I would like to see a robust public option" teaser during negotiations, likewise, was a bait and switch by a working-behind-the-scenes president using the threat of a public option to keep big-spending hospital lobbyists from crushing ObamaCare with negative ad campaigns. Pragmatic? Perhaps. But also duplicitous.
During the Grand Compromise smoke and mirrors from this past December, President Obama told us that unless he agreed to continuing deep tax cuts for the richest 2%, Republicans would allow all the tax cuts on everybody to expire. Nothing he could do but compromise.....the only pragmatic option available. Then, behind closed doors, not only did Obama agree to extending those tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, but he also handed Republicans a reprehensible reduction on tax responsibities for the wealthiest estate owners in America....a giveaway to the top .6%.
Thirdly, in February House Republicans laid down a marker of cutting $32 billion from the remaining 2011 federal budget.....
House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan released a fiscal 2011 budget allocation Thursday that would cap spending at $1.055 trillion and slice $32 billion from current government spending levels this year.
After weeks of what were called "tough negotiations" with House Republicans, this past Friday evening, President Obama stepped in front of cameras to boast about the "biggest annual spending cut in history" after agreeing to accept $38 billion in spending cuts for the remaining 2011 budget.
With that indisputable record of selling progressives, Democrats and American families down the river, taking the path of least resistance to arrive at his re-election destination, here's what's coming starting Wednesday night....
Another impetus to Wednesday’s move is the White House’s belief that a bipartisan “Gang of Six” senators will announce this week that they have reached agreement on a debt-reduction package similar to that of the president’s fiscal commission.
After months of private discussions, the tentative agreement among the three Republican and three Democratic senators would cut military and domestic programs and overhaul the tax code, eliminating popular tax breaks but using the new revenues to lower income-tax rates and reduce annual deficits. It would be the model, if not in all details, for Mr. Obama’s own goals, Democratic officials say.
Several presidential advisers interviewed in recent weeks said Mr. Obama has been torn between wanting to propose major budget changes to entice Republicans to the bargaining table, including on Social Security, and believing they would never agree to raise revenues on upper-income Americans as part of a deal.
Obama wants to use "new revenues" from cutting defense and domestic programs to "lower income-tax rates." The "overhaul the tax code" part, what's often referred to as "broadening the tax base", will feature cuts to, or elimination of, mortgage interest deductions which are important to American working class families. Even slicing away at in-surplus Social Security is under consideration.
We are living in a time when federal tax rates are at their lowest levels compared to GDP in 60 years and yet we have 8.8% unemployment.....and Obama wants to lower those tax rates even more in order to deal with the nation's debt problem. A bit of austerity for the little people, more gifts of gold to the already fabulously wealthy....and a black magic, voodoo potion for what ails the nation's economy. Shorter version: Republican boilerplate.
No wonder Paul Krugmann wrote this yesterday....
Arguably, all he has left is the bully pulpit. But he isn’t even using that — or, rather, he’s using it to reinforce his enemies’ narrative. ...
....his political strategists seem to believe that he can win re-election by positioning himself as being conciliatory and reasonable, by always being willing to compromise.
But if you ask me, I’d say that the nation wants — and more important, the nation needs — a president who believes in something, and is willing to take a stand. And that’s not what we’re seeing.
Who cares what the nation needs.....who cares about believing in something.....what's the big deal about taking a stand? Obama needs re-elected and it's just too damn difficult and expensive to get re-elected paddling upstream attempting to deliver desperately needed progressive goods to all Americans.
So he's selling America down the river. It's just easier that way.
Additional reading....here on the dirtpoor plight of CEO's.
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