Saturday, October 08, 2016

The perils of Democratic centrism

Obama did an op-ed for The Economist touting his Safe Centrism position: The way ahead 10/08/2016.

The second half is largely a defense of his Presidential record, with the usual litany of Democratic incremental reforms.

The first half is his version of the core claim of neoliberalism: There Is No Alternative, aka, TINA. Globalization, you see, is an inexorable force of nature that inevitably produces losers, and those losers bitch and moan about it and are very annoying. But what we really need are more neato-keeno corporate-deregulation treaties like TPP and TTIP to allow financial speculators to create financial panics and corporations to overturn national labor and environmental laws through their very own private corporate-run courts.

Also, he warns that we need to limit "entitlement growth" to ensure "investments in growth and opportunity". Which is TINAspeak for: Cut Social Security and Medicare benefits.

But he includes this, uh, rousing pro-labor sentiment: "Unions should play a critical role. They help workers get a bigger slice of the pie but they need to be flexible enough to adapt to global competition."

Workers Of The World Unite! Or, at least, gripe a little bit and cheer for more corporate deregulation and financialization of the economy.

I know Thomas Frank is one of those moaners and groaners who annoy corporate Democrats so much. But in Some of Clinton's pledges sound great. Until you remember who's president Guardian 10/06/2016, he highlights a problem that the Democratic Party leadership is remarkably resistant to recognizing: that the Democrats' happy-talk about incremental reforms wears thin on Democratic base voters and actual swing voters if they don't see the Democrats showing some real and consistent fight for economic programs that benefit the majority.

Franks asks this perfectly plausible question that you don't have to be a Gary Johnson or Jill Stein voter to recognize as very valid:

Or take this headline from just a few days ago: “Clinton promises to hold Wells Fargo accountable”. Go get ‘em, Hillary! To see a president get tough with elite bankers and with CEOs in general – that’s something we can all cheer for. But then that nagging voice piped up again: if Democrats think it is so critical to get tough with crooked banksters, why oh why didn’t Barack Obama take the many, many opportunities he had to do so back in the days when it would have really mattered?
The fact that Obama picked Wall Street corporate lawyer Eric Holder as his first Attorney General pretty much answers that question.

And some of the revelations from Hillary Clinton's very-well-paid Goldman Sachs vspeeches aren't encouraging: Lee Fang et al, Excerpts of Hillary Clinton’s Paid Speeches to Goldman Sachs Finally Leaked The Intercept 10/07/2016.

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