If we had to give this week's presidential propaganda a title, it would be "Sequester Dumb. Cutting Social Security Smart."
He comes not to cancel the Sequester. He comes to replace with something just as bad, if not even worse. He calls it a Balanced Approach. We call it a Grand Betrayal.
The irony, of course, is that he could easily have vetoed Friday's Congressional bill that restored FAA air traffic control staffing, thus gaining a ton of leverage over the GOP. He could have used inconvenienced travelers as bargaining chips, to begin his longed-for destruction of the social safety net. The Republicans would have caved under all that plutocratic pressure. But Obama serves the same masters as all the other bought-off politicians of the Duopoly. And Pete Peterson and the Koch Brothers and the Waltons -- as much as these billionaire psychopaths hate the thought of poor people having a comfortable retirement and health care -- absolutely cannot, must not, be kept waiting on the tarmac in their Lear jets.
So, in a weird sort of way, I guess we can count ourselves lucky. The Tea Party saved us from his Grand Bargain before. This time, the supreme selfishness of the Masters of the Universe got in the way.
Obama disdainfully calls the vote a "bandaid" approach, sequestering the part of the Sequester that made the Richie Boo-Boos feel bad. But as other commenters have pointed out, Obama is not about to pull a stunt using displaced PreK kids, Medicare chemo patients and the homeless as bargaining chips in a veto threat. That is not who he is. His backdrops are the military stoics, the first responder-uniformed, the beaming factory workers happy to earn a low wage instead of a no-wage, the attractive students who haven't had the chance to become unemployed yet and still have a ways to got before the onslaught of student loan collection agents, the well-dressed, coiffed and dwindling denizens of the monied Beltway burbs. You won't see old people, impoverished children, untreated and emaciated cancer patients, depressed people in rags, anyone obviously sulking or suffering, anywhere near him at his carefully scripted events.
The people truly being hurt by the Sequester were never really part of his base to begin with, even though it was their votes that propelled him into a second term. He merely used them as occasional actors in campaign films in order to display what a mean son-of-a-bitch Mitt Romney was. Bit players are as expendable as they are interchangeable.
Besides implementing the sneaky chained CPI method of both cutting Social Security and raising middle class taxes, the other pressing reason Obama wants to end sequestration is because he desperately wants to stop the cuts to the Pentagon budget. Notice how smarmily he hides the operation of a thousand military bases, billion-dollar weapons systems, drone operations, fighter jets and welfare for defense contractors under the weasel term "military communities" --- immediately juxtaposed with "families" to make you think that it's only the low-paid grunts and the spouses left behind he's concerned about:
Because of these reckless cuts, there are parents whose kids just got kicked out of Head Start programs scrambling for a solution. Th ere are seniors who depend on programs like Meals on Wheels to live independently looking for help. There are military communities – families that have already sacrificed enough – coping under new strains. All because of these cuts.And while he admits the deficit is shrinking, he still calls for "responsible" cuts. Why? Because, they're in response to the ruling class. Because the Pete Peterson Fix the Debt crowd representing the richest 1% who've raked in almost all of the gains in the economic "recovery" want it that way. They don't want FICA taxes imposed on their unearned wealth.
Obama never once mentioned chained CPI in his speech today, never once acknowledged that his budget would reduce the lifetime benefits of military veterans right along with those of disabled civilians. He knows his ideas are not popular. So, the austerity and the pain are disguised by more weasel words:
A couple weeks ago, I put forward a budget that replaces the next several years of these dumb cuts with smarter cuts; reforms our tax code to close wasteful special interest loopholes; and invests in things like education, research, and manufacturing that will create new jobs right now.
So I hope Members of Congress will find the same sense of urgency and bipartisan cooperation to help the families still in the crosshairs of these cuts. They may not feel the pain felt by kids kicked off Head Start, or the 750,000 Americans projected to lose their jobs because of these cuts, or the long-term unemployed who will be further hurt by them. But that pain is real.He feels our immediate pain, but will do nothing to stop it unless we agree to a lifetime of it. And make no mistake. The kind of long-term pain he wants to impose will smart like hell.
Obama may well already be a lame duck, as he quacks out marching orders to the masses, urging us to goose-step happily to our own destruction.