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Tue Nov 24, 2015, 05:52 PM

A Small Quibble with Killer Mike

Killer Mike, the rapper, introduced Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders by saying "I have no time . . . to relive the Reagan years; I have no desire to elect our own Margaret Thatcher."

The comment comparing Hillary Clinton to Margaret Thatcher can be dismissed as campaign hyperbole, and that's all I'll say about that for now. As for reliving the Reagan years, I have just one small quibble with that.

We should recognize Reagan as a consequential president, but by no means a great one. Even though his predicessor spent four years just trying to get a handle on what he was doing, Jimmy Carter left America in much better shape than Reagan left it. It has gotten steadily worse ever since.

It's not a point of reliving the Reagan years, it's continuing to live them. We've been living the Reagan years since the election of 1980 and it's long past time to put an end to them.

Every president since Reagan has been a Reaganite to a considerable degree. Reagan may have been a wiser Reaganite in the sense that after his first big tax cut in his first year as president he adjusted taxes upward several times, but the economy was structurally weaker as a result of supply-side policies. Income inequality didn't begin with Reagan, but it was badly exacerbated under him and Bush the Preppy, who also had to eat his words and raise taxes. Under Bill Clinton, tax cuts were more judiciously targeted at the middle class, but the foolishness of cutting taxes for the rich was not rolled back. Income inequality slowed, but did not reverse. For that reason, Clinton's tenure in the White House should not be regarding as either a ringing success or an abject failure. Nevertheless, there were several bad marks against Clinton and the Republican Congress with which he was saddled after his first two years in office. The worst of these were welfare reform, financial industry reform and NAFTA. The first of these made the plight of the poor in American even more dire and the second was a means to corrupt both the banking industry and politicians, allowing bankers and politicians to get richer at the expense of the public. The third put a big hit on American manufacturing and cost middle-class Americans well paying jobs which still haven't returned, and probably won't ever without a major change in US trade policy.

What might have seemed like a major event during Clinton's presidency was his impeachment in 1999, but this was merely a distracting side show of no real consequence other than the time and money wasted. Essentially, President Clinton was impeached for getting a blow job in the oval office from a White House intern. Tacky, yes; impeachable, no. The two articles of impeachment were so weak that neither received a simple majority vote in the Senate, let alone the two-thirds vote required to remove him from office.

After Clinton came Bush the Frat Boy. What can be said about him other than he was the worst president ever? Caught napping on September 11, 2001, when terrorists crashed passenger jets into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, Bush invaded Afghanistan in an attempt to bring criminal mastermind Osama bin Laden to justice, but his real intention was to invade Iraq, overthrow the Iraqi government on the pretense that it was complicit in the September 11 attacks, had illegally stockpiled a biochemical arsenal and was building a nuclear weapons. Although there was talk about democratizing Iraq after the invasion, the real purpose was to secure Iraq's oil fields for western oil companies. A Reaganite ideologue with no grounding in reality, Bush would not raise taxes to pay for the war, thus blowing a big hole in future budgets. The initial debts obligated for the war were about $2 trillion. It is estimated that when the last check goes to pay the last benefit to a veteran's surviving spouse, the war will have cost Americans $6 trillion. These expenses, combined with tax cuts for the rich who didn't need them that still haven't been repealed and the cost of a second war in Afghanistan that still hasn't ended, will make it very difficult to recover from from what is now 35 long, long years of Reaganomics. In addition, Bush eroded civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism and instituted a program of torture supported with legal opinions from White House lawyers basically saying that as long the administration refuses to call torture torture then it's perfectly legal. Finally, the Bush administration's laissez-faire approach to Wall Street crime resulted in the crash of the World Economy in the final months of Bush's tenure. Naturally, income inequality grew by leaps and bounds under Bush and in the last year of his term the American economy was hemorrhaging jobs at an alarming rate.

Many of us, including your most humble hare, thought that wen we voted for Barack Obama we were voting for a new, post-Reagan era of American politics, but were sadly disappointed after President Obama took office. Obama has several feathers in his cap: the Affordable Care Act is an excellent start toward real health care reform, the goal being a single payer system and the elimination of private insurance companies as an unnecessary and inefficient middle man; the end of the Iraq war has stopped a great deal of fiscal bleeding; and President Obama's preference for a diplomatic solution to an international crisis over sending in the Marines with no exit strategy have prevented wars before they start, much to the chagrin of his Republican opposition, saving American taxpayers untold money and saving the lives of an unknown number of combat troops. He also gets kudos for ending the Bush torture program, although with demerits for failing to prosecute Bush war crimes. More seriously, the administration's failure to prosecute crooked Wall Street bankers is without excuse and even worse than the failure to prosecute war criminals, as Wall Street's criminals still continue to commit crimes and acts that should be crimes no different than what they did to crash the world economy in 2008. Obama has put before a Congress a horrible trade deal that not only will further erode what's left of the American middle class through job losses and even provide a strong ISDS that oligarchs can run to any time they think the mean ol' government is regulating them and depriving them of expected profits. Do corporations now have a right to profits? What would Adam Smith say? The other two deals not yet ready to be presented to Congress are apparently worse. TISA, the last of the terrible trio, would deprive formerly sovereign nations of the right to nationalize industries that grow too troublesome in regards to public health or worker safety.

Income inequality continues to plague the American economy at an an unacceptable level. Some of this is the result of the unprecedented and frankly racist opposition from the Republicans toward President Obama, but not all of it. No Republican made Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, pursue Wall Street criminal armed with only kid gloves. There is no escaping the conclusion that such favorable treatment is in return for generous campaign support for some of Wall Street's worst actors, especially Goldman Sachs. No Republican made President Obama negotiate TPP, TTIP or TISA. No Republican made President Obama appoint a Wall Street hack like Tim Geithner Treasury Secretary nor, when Geithner announced he was leaving office, made President Obama think out loud about appointing Larry Summers, Wall Street hack emeritus, as his successor. When Summers asked the President to withdraw his name from consideration for Treasury Secretary, Obama settled on Jack Lew, who isn't really much of an improvement over Summers or Geithner.

The next president will be Hillary Clinton. My disdain for Mrs. Clinton is no secret here. She is beholden to Wall Street and it is naive to think she's going to do what needs to be done, if anything at all, to rein in the excesses of Legs Dimon and Pretty Boy Lloyd. She has received large donations from Wall Street banks on behalf of her campaign organization and the Clinton Foundation; she has received exorbitant six-figure speaking fees from them, and she and some of her supporters expect us to believe that there's no cozy relationship between Mrs. Clinton and Wall Street. I'll believe that there isn't when she nationalizes JPMorganChase or Goldman Sachs.

Meanwhile, I will vote for and give support to Bernie Sanders. He says we need a revolution. And we do. That's what it will take to end the Reagan years.

No matter who wins the election, it will be up to us, the common American people, to put an end to the Reagan years. If the system is so corrupt that we can't end it at the ballot box, then we'll do in the streets. The politicians who beg for our vote but take money from Big Banks, Big Pharma, Big Health Insurance or Big Oil and, once safely elected, change their allegiance from the People to artificial persons. These crooked politicians should not be so naive to think that we will give deference to them, the laws they pass, the judges they appoint, the trade deals they negotiate or the wars they start and tell us it's for our own good because they are smarter than we we are, even if it doesn't always look that way. They have more money. Doesn't that prove that they are smarter?

No. It just proves that they're better at stealing our money, buying our politicians and destroying our democracy.

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply A Small Quibble with Killer Mike (Original post)
Jack Rabbit Nov 2015 OP
beam me up scottie Nov 2015 #1
arcane1 Nov 2015 #2
smiley Nov 2015 #3
Paka Nov 2015 #4
Jack Rabbit Nov 2015 #6
Segami Nov 2015 #5

Response to Jack Rabbit (Original post)

Tue Nov 24, 2015, 06:17 PM

1. Great op, Jack Rabbit!

I almost didn't see it amongst all the flamebait.

Definitely deserves a K & R at the very least.


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Response to Jack Rabbit (Original post)

Tue Nov 24, 2015, 06:25 PM

2. You call that "small"?

 



Just kidding, it's a great OP!!

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Response to Jack Rabbit (Original post)

Tue Nov 24, 2015, 07:28 PM

4. K&R

Good post, except I have a small quibble with you. I don't accept that the next president will be Hillary Clinton. That is not a given.

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Response to Paka (Reply #4)

Tue Nov 24, 2015, 07:39 PM

6. I often like to sat my heart and vote belong to Bernie, but

It's a good thing I'm not a betting man or my money would be on Hillary,

I takes meds for major depression. It gives me a funny outlook sometimes.

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Response to Jack Rabbit (Original post)

Tue Nov 24, 2015, 07:38 PM

5. K&R!

 

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