By Mike Whitney
Teachers. These are the people who put Obama in office. They handed out the pamphlets, went from door to door, stuffed the envelopes, and manned the phone banks. They buttonholed people outside grocery stores, waved posters atop freeway overpasses, and organized neighborhood get-togethers. They spread the word, attended the rallies and drew whatever they could from their meager paychecks to support the man who promised change and inspired hope. They did everything a candidate could ask of his supporters and more. And what have they gotten in return? A bigger war in Afghanistan, a renewal of the Patriot Act, a porno-scanning system at the airports, more blank checks for Wall Street, and a lot of empty posturing about Guantanamo.
And when their pay and pensions and their jobs were on the line, Obama was no where to be found.
Poof! The vanishing president.
Name one thing that Obama has done for working people?
Health care? That fetid trillion dollar giveaway to big pharma?
That just doesn’t cut it.
Obama has called for a spending freeze government workers pay for the next 5 years while renewing the $700 billion Bush tax cuts at the same time. That’s a feat that even Reagan couldn’t have managed without igniting a revolt in the ranks. But smooth-talking Obama pulled it off without a hitch. In fact, his devotees are more ga-ga over him than ever.
Two weeks ago, Obama wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal promising to reduce “burdensome” regulations for his friends in big finance. He figured that the trillions they’d already been given wasn’t quite enough to keep them happy, so he decided he’d find more rules that he could eliminate.
Then he slithered over to the Chamber of Commerce to assure them that he’d do whatever he could to “change the tone” at the White House to help them increase profitability. Just days later, Obama delivered an entirely different message to striking Wisconsin teachers. He told them that everyone would have to “make sacrifices” to make up for state budget shortfalls. Everyone except his rich friends, that is.
Recently, Obama appointed bank tycoon William Daley as his new chief of staff, and GE’s “outsourcing” Jeffrey Immelt to lead his new jobs creation program. Then he finished off the month by throwing his support behind the latest labor-crushing free trade bill, this time with South Korea. According to the Oakland Business Journal: “The proposed trade deal with South Korea would cost 159,000 U.S. jobs over seven years and hurt some of the highest paying industries in the U.S., including motor vehicles and parts, electronics equipment and metal products, according to the Economic Policy Institute.” Big labor is against the bill. Obama is for it. What a surprise.
Obama’s new budget calls for big cuts to government subsidies for home heating oil for needy families, but allocates $5 million to anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela via the State Department. What makes this so ironic, is that Hugo Chavez has been providing hundreds of thousands of gallons of free heating oil to needy American families across the US. So, while the president of Venezuela is trying to make sure that poor people in America don’t freeze to death in the dark, Obama is doing whatever he can to make sure that they do.
Obama has abandoned any effort to reduce unemployment, lower tuition costs, increase welfare, minimize foreclosures, or decrease homelessness. If you are part of the growing number of working-poor in America, don’t except help from the Obama team. You’re outta luck.
This is from the World Socialist Web Site:
“Two and half years since the eruption of the financial crisis, more than 26 million workers cannot find a full-time job. State governments, under both Democrats and Republicans, are responding to budget deficits by closing schools, libraries, clinics and other public facilities, and carrying out attacks on state and municipal employees.
Meanwhile, Wall Street share values have fully recovered since the crash of 2008 and the corporations and their top executives are richer than ever. President Obama has refused to provide a penny of relief to workers losing their jobs, homes and life savings. Instead he has outlined plans to slash a trillion dollars from vitally needed social services, to pay for the bailout of Wall Street, the extension of the Bush era tax cuts for the rich and the Pentagon war machine. And this is only the beginning….
(In Wisconsin) workers are fighting for their very livelihoods. They cannot live with what amounts to a 20 percent pay cut and devastating cuts in public education and state universities for their children.” (“The struggle of Wisconsin workers enters a new stage”, World Socialist Web Site)
The strike has entered its second week and still no sign of Obama. Thousands of workers and students from across the state have braved the freezing temperatures and joined in the demonstrations while closing down much of the school system.
The entire country is watching. Many people are wondering how the GOP crackdown will affect their own jobs. They’re worried about their future and the future of the country.
Obama could simply fly into Madison, deliver a few words of support for the strikers, and assure himself of a landslide victory in 2012. But he won’t do that, because he’s not the man that people thought he was. He won’t lift a finger to help his friends even when they’re embroiled in the biggest fight of their lives. He won’t support the people who supported him.
Obama’s message to the teachers, “Drop dead!”