[Marxism] Obama: To The Right of Reagan
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Wed Jan 11 07:49:42 MST 2012
Black Agenda Report
Published on Black Agenda Report (http://blackagendareport.com)
Obama: To The Right of Reagan
by BAR editor and columnist Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, PhD
Barack Obama has not just dribbled away the progressive mandate of
2008, he has emerged over the past three years as a politician “to
the right of President Ronald Reagan, the Tea Party hero” on at
least some issues. The U.S. continues its steady decline in all
the indices that count for the average person. “Only three
developed countries – Albania, Russian and Moldova – had a worse
maternal mortality rate.” African Americans are in free fall under
the First Black President.
“Of 891 promises made, Obama has kept 233, broken 116 and failed
to address 61 percent.”
Barack Obama recently told a radio interviewer of his response to
criticisms of his administration, “I tell them what Joe Biden
says, judge me not as the Almighty, consider the alternative.”
Obama’s comment was astonishing. The man who came in on a wave of
public optimism and support, whose rallying cry was, “Yes, we can”
was brushing off his four years of “no, we can’ts.” Here are some
– Obama has increased drone strikes eight times over what the
Bush administration did across two terms according to John Feffer,
co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the progressive
Institute for Policy Studies
– He prevailed upon the Environmental Protection Agency to
pull back anti-smog legislation as part of the Clean Air Act. The
U.S. with China and India is the worst carbon emitter in the world.
– He has failed to close Guatanamo Bay – an election promise.
– He promised immigration reform - a key promise given that 26
percent of the electorate is Latino. In 2010, his administration
arrested more migrants – 393,000 - than any administration before
(81,000 more than in President George W. Bush’s last year in office).
Obama’s failure to keep promises has been mapped by a user of
Idea Palooza , a U.S. website, it is sobering reading. The
creator, who appears to be conservative, compiled all 891 election
promises Obama made (perhaps the first warning was a candidate who
made so many promises, but Americans and the world, exhausted
after eight war-mongering years of George W. Bush failed to pay
attention). So far, according to this measure, which is used by
major U.S. news media, Obama has kept 233 promises, broken 116 and
failed to address 61 percent.
“In some states schools are on four-day weeks because there is no
funding and thousands of teachers have been retrenched.”
He is to the right of President Ronald Reagan, the Tea Party hero,
according to the Institute for Policy Studies on some financial
issues. They point out that after more than 250 economists wrote
to him earlier this year calling for more imagination in the
handling of the $15-trillion  debt, their call was spurned by
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (Obama remained silent). The
IPS said, “That rigid position places the Obama administration to
the right not only of Reagan, but also both Bush presidencies and
the International Monetary Fund.” Geithner served as head of New
York’s Federal Reserve under Bush, and is one of a number of key
Bush appointees Obama has kept close; they also include national
Federal Reserve chief, Ben Bernanke and former Defense secretary,
Robert Gates, among others.
When Obama was elected into office in November, 2008, he had the
strongest majorities in both houses of Congress since 1993.
Democrats held 258 of the 435 seats in the House and at least
54 of the 100 seats in the Senate . Two years later he lost the
House to the Republicans.
And since then a bitterly divided Congress has slumped to a nine
percent approval rating – its worst ever – for its failure to
legislate and continual threats to shut down government. These
threatened shutdowns have seen government departments freeze –
they are too nervous to implement projects or to hire staff
because there is no assuredness that they will receive an ongoing
flow of funding.
“Nearly two-thirds of city employees across the country facing
layoffs are African American.”
And so America’s infrastructure has begun crumbling: 12% or 69,000
bridges are “structurally deficient,” as just one example. In some
states schools are on four-day weeks because there is no funding
and thousands of teachers have been retrenched.
In August the White House reported that unemployment among young
African Americans was 32%; by December it had leapt to 41.3%. The
union group, AFL-CIO, reported last week that, “The loss of
public-sector jobs has disproportionately impacted African
Americans – nearly two-thirds of city employees across the country
facing layoffs are African American.”
While Africa greeted his election with joy, Obama has shown little
interest in the continent. In September, he signed into law a
$23.2 million cut for Pepfar – the HIV and AIDS program introduced
by President George W. Bush and an important funder of treatment
and care programs in developing nations. But global family
planning and reproductive health services took the biggest hit
with a reduction of $85 million.
The U.S. has the highest maternal death rate of any industrialized
nation according to the CIA Factbook. The Save the Children Fund
notes that “an American woman is more than seven times as likely
as one in Ireland to die from pregnancy-related causes and her
maternal death risk is 15 times that in Greece. Only three
developed countries – Albania, Russian and Moldova – had a worse
maternal mortality rate.”
The Census Bureau reports the number of Americans in poverty
jumped to 15.1 percent in 2010, a 17-year high. About 46.2 million
people, or nearly one in six, were in poverty. And 49.9 million
were without health insurance.
“The U.S. has the highest maternal death rate of any
In October, the Congressional Budget Committee revealed that since
1979, the richest one percent had seen incomes rise 275%, while
the middle class was 40% more comfortable and the lowest fifth of
the nation had seen incomes rise only 18% – essentially, they got
poorer. Yet in November, when the so-called super-committee
nominated by Obama to find ways out of the debt crisis failed to
reach accord, one of the biggest stumbling blocks was a refusal by
Republicans to increase taxes on the rich, many of whom pay far
lower taxes than the lowest earning members of society.
Billionaire Warren Buffet famously pointed out recently that his
personal assistant pays more tax than he does.
Many of these issues Obama inherited, but with the mandate the
electorate gave him he had the greatest capacity of any president
in decades to make a real difference.
When he was elected Obama said: “Americans have sent a message to
the world that we have never been just a collection of red states
and blue states, we have been and always will be the United States
Under Obama the United has fallen off the States of America.
History still has to reveal whether Barack Obama is a victim of
racists in the Republican Party who will do anything to stymie the
first black president for the United States or whether he simply
was not the right man for an important job.
Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo is the author of No FEAR: A
Whistleblowers Triumph over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA
is available through amazon.com and the National Whistleblower
Center. Dr. Coleman-Adebayo worked at the EPA for 18 years and
blew the whistle on a US multinational corporation that endangered
vanadium mine workers. Marsha's successful lawsuit lead to the
introduction and passage of the first civil rights and
whistleblower law of the 21st century: the Notification of Federal
Employees Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 ( No FEAR.)
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