Monday, November 15, 2010

Think of the Starving Children in Africa Who'd Love to Have That Catfood!

If I still needed a reason to consider Barack Obama a congenital cheap pig*, I'd have it in the now well-circulated remarks he made last week about negative reactions to the draft report of his Catfood Commission:

"Before anybody starts shooting down proposals, I think we need to listen, we need to gather up all the facts," Obama told reporters.

He added: "If people are, in fact, concerned about spending, debt, deficits and the future of our country, then they're going to need to be armed with the information about the kinds of choices that are going to be involved, and we can't just engage in political rhetoric."

Now, "political rhetoric" is exactly what Obama was engaging in there. (I think he wanted to say something like "partisan bickering", but the criticism he was addressing came from his own party.) Notice that even though he hadn't seen the draft report when he started defending it, he still said that its recommendations are "the kinds of choices that are going to be involved" -- not even "may be involved." Certain "choices," like cutting back on his wars and his surveillance state, are not going to be involved. But he doesn't mind going after Social Security and Medicare, or raising the federal gasoline tax by 80 percent or so (which is highly regressive -- that is, it will hurt people in lower income brackets more). To counter discrimination against the vulnerable Corporate-Americans (corporations are people too, you know! they have feelings! they can hurt!), the corporate tax rate will be cut by about 25 percent, from 35 to 26 percent. The hike in the gasoline tax is intended to make up for the loss of revenue that will result from that generous gesture.

Another thing to remember (and there are many) is that while the Catfood Commission was meeting in quasi-secrecy, most of what it turned out to recommend was anything but secret, and was being discussed publicly. Critics of "the kinds of choices that are going to be involved" are already armed with information. Obama isn't interested, of course. You already know his attitude to his Democratic and 'left' critics. All that interests him is whether he's giving enough to his corporate and banking buddies. (Gee, do you think 26 percent is low enough?)

I'm using the pejorative name "Catfood Commission," by the way, because of the confusion in certain media -- well, most of the corporate media, it looks like -- about what its mission is. This writer at Bloomberg, for example, equivocates between the "deficit" and the "debt" -- and the two are not the same thing. And, of course, Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit; it's already fully funded by our contributions. Obama's owners just hate the idea of all that money going to the wrong people. They love the idea of privatizing it, and giving it to Wall Street (who are, remember, among Obama's major owners) to play with, so that it can all disappear during the next big crash, just as so many people's 401k accounts did a few years ago -- but not before it is diverted to executive salaries and bonuses, where in these people's minds it really belongs.

*I had the odd difference with Hunter S. Thompson, but I will always love his gift for invective. "A congenital cheap pig" was what he once called the despicable Reagan toady Ed Meese: "a person without any honor, a fat bastard, really a congenital cheap pig in the style of and on the level of Richard Nixon." Change "fat" to "skinny," and the whole line describes Barack Hussein Obama to a T.