[Marxism] Obama: To The Right of Reagan

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
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 [4], 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 [5] 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  [6]and at least 
54 of the 100 seats in the Senate [7]. 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 
industrialized nation.”

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 
of America.”

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.)

Source URL: http://blackagendareport.com/content/obama-right-reagan

[2] http://blackagendareport.com/category/us-politics/obamarama
[4] http://ideapalooza.com/ideas/results/10
[5] http://www.usdebtclock.org/

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