I WANT YOU TO BE RESPONSIBLE
With our federal budget deficit heading toward $1.4 trillion this year, or nearly 10% of our overall economy, something must be done. Look out.
Obama adviser John Podesta says the summit is the first step in a process to help the public "understand how the financial balance sheet of the federal government comes back into order."
Translation: Middle class and poor folks are going to really get nailed.
According to the Washington Post Obama's team has invited big business, economists and a range of other "special interests" to the event which will feature five breakout sessions. Larry Summers (refer to Naomi Klein interview here) will lead the discussion on Social Security. Hold onto your hat.
Former Republican senator Jon Danforth calls it a "media event." He's right, they are preparing the American people for the clamp-down.
The Post also reports that one of the key goals of the summit is, "Controlling spending on a vast social safety net for the elderly and the poor that threatens to bankrupt the government."
Then they say, "Lawmakers also will be asked to dedicate more money to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and perhaps another round of cash to prop up the crippled financial system and to stimulate the sagging economy."
Translation: They want to cut Medicare and Social Security so they can fund two wars and more bailouts for Wall Street. And they will call it "fiscal responsibility." Watch out for this kind of change, it will kill you.
Each day we get another tiny glimpse of the Obama plan. When he went to Canada this past week he told our neighbors to the north that his campaign promise to renegotiate the NAFTA trade agreement would "have to wait."
You might remember that during the campaign one of his top economic aides went to Canada and was caught, in an unguarded moment, telling them that Obama didn't really mean all this fair trade talk about changing NAFTA, it was only a campaign tactic. So in a way he kept this promise - to the Canadians anyway.
Obama is being credited by the Washington pundits as "changing his tone." So he got off Bush's horse, took off his six-shooter holster, and is now "projecting an image of competence and reengagement." In the end most of the big economic and military policies will be much the same but the tone will be more gentle and inclusive.
What about our side? Well, on Tuesday next week, the day after Obama's fiscal responsibility media event, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) will hold a briefing in Washington on his proposal to cut the military budget by 25%. He is inviting organizations to come to the event and to then go home and build support for this version of "fiscal responsibility." So we do have a horse in this race being led by Rep. Frank and it is up to us out here in the hinterlands to put a saddle on it and grab Paul Revere's lantern and begin riding the local circuit and sounding the alarm - "Fiscal responsibility is coming, cut the military budget."
You see there is a war going on inside the Democratic party today. It's a battle between those who want to enable the corporations and those who want to help the people who put them into office. It's time to pick a side in this contest.
We can see the score now. How it turns out is up to you. Take responsibility or face the consequences.