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Reich writes: "Why is the White House trying to scare average people about the consequences of the 'fiscal cliff?'"

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)

Why is the White House Playing the Fear Game?

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

26 November 12


hy is the White House trying to scare average people about the consequences of the "fiscal cliff?"

If the President's strategy is to hold his ground and demand from Republicans tax increases on the wealthy, presumably his strongest bargaining position would be to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire on schedule come January - causing taxes to rise automatically, especially on the wealthy.

So you'd think part of that strategy would be reassure the rest of the public that the fiscal cliff isn't so bad or so steep, and that at the start of January Democrats will introduce in Congress a middle-class tax cut whose effect is to prevent taxes from rising for most people (thereby forcing Republicans to vote for a tax cut for the middle class or hold it hostage to a tax cut for the wealthy as well).

But today (Monday) the White House's Council of Economic Advisers issued a report today warning that if Congress allows the Bush tax cuts to expire January 1and the Alternative Minimum Tax to kick in, the middle class will face sharply-rising taxes.

The result, says the Council of Economic Advisers, could slow consumer spending by 1.7 percent next year, and slow overall economic growth by 1.4 percent. The loss of $200 billion in consumer spending is just about what American families spent on all the new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. in the last year, according to the report. About $36 billion less would be spent for housing and utilities, $32 billion less for healthcare, and $26 billion less for groceries and at restaurants.

This kind of fear-mongering plays into Republican hands. your social media marketing partner


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+96 # Jimochka 2012-11-26 12:13
Reich's reasoning, as usual, is sound. Playing around with the truth of the situation does befit the President. Give the American people the straight story and the legitimate options. People are already terribly worried about the economy without being victimized by fear tactics.
+86 # CAMUS1111 2012-11-26 12:37
OK, I voted for Obama since I wouldn't risk Romney. But I've always had this nagging doubt--Obama is not really that much of a liberal at all. The Gop'ers during W's terms said deficits didn't matter anyway--maybe they don't. If Obama were a true liberal he would tell these neofascist bullies to shove it up their collective asses and become a cliff diver. But he probably won't because he probably isn't.
+4 # wwway 2012-11-26 13:56
How does a cliff diver prepare while the fans and bistanders bite their nails?
+29 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-11-26 15:31
Obama is not so much of a liberal? He is not one at all. The question asked by Reich is "Why is the White House playing the fear game?" Answer--to scare us into submission to what the top 1% (who own Obama) want. It is that simple. We have been screwed and we must get out on the streets and let our government know just how angry we are. We can try to change the policies of our nation to one of justice and peace instead of greed and destruction.
+4 # joedeane 2012-11-26 17:19
Obama is an extreme rightest who has been fooling liberals and progressive for years. They just refuse to admit that this cool articulate back guy isn't one of them. Just look at what he has done to civil rights: indefinite detention and no habeas corpus, torture under other names is ok - how bad does this creep have to be? And then there is his murderous imperialist foreign policy. Wake up and smell the napalm in the morning.
+6 # Jonathan Levy 2012-11-26 18:24
Yay, someone who sees the truth. Keep mulitplying!
+9 # CAMUS1111 2012-11-26 18:19
I should add that if Obama sells us all out as I fear he will, he will succeed in nothing less than ruining what should be a generation or more of democratic party successes. I for one pledge to be true liberal third party from that point on--enough will have been enough. And there will be no excuses.
-1 # RLF 2012-11-27 07:40
Sure you'll vote rhird part! You say that right up until the republicans put up a moron and you just can't take the chance he gets in...just like this election.
-1 # RHytonen 2012-11-28 14:18
Quoting RLF:
Sure you'll vote rhird part! You say that right up until the republicans put up a moron and you just can't take the chance he gets in...just like this election.

This time I finally admitted it has to start somewhere, and voted all Mountain(Green) Party. I advise anyone who thinks it's a single-issue environmental thing, to look at ssues
-10 # WestWinds 2012-11-26 20:04
"Probably"? Obama is farther Right than Nixon and Reagan put together, for pity sake! Wake up!!!
+45 # LeeBlack 2012-11-26 12:41
This is not a poker game - people's lives can be ruined while politicians play around.
+84 # ER444 2012-11-26 12:43
Obama just needs to get some balls. Twice we have voted for him in enourmously large numbers. Heh Barak, we have your back, man. When are you finally going to believe us and do what we elected you to do??? !!!!!!
+1 # wwway 2012-11-26 14:26
Once bitten twice shy. Americans who voted for him the first time thought he had a magic wand and then they lost resolve in 2010 after allowing the Tea Party to continue to bully them. If the people wanted a public option for all in health care reform they needed to march in the streets not cowar to "death panels."
Obama doesn't have a magic wand and he's still got his finger on the pulse of the people.
+4 # RHytonen 2012-11-28 14:24
The corporations pulled the magic wand in 2010, by astroturfing the pathetic TEAbagging dupes in the midwestern states. The Media were a huge part of that from Fox to CNN. Occupy Wall Street has enormous numbers compared with the tea party (and is even global;) yet gets a fraction of the news coverage. Remember how CNN "embedded" with the TEA party, even following with their own bus?
-8 # politicfix 2012-11-26 14:28
Reich is the one promoting fear among the people for what? Preparation for a massive compromise and then the people will what? Not be afraid? But they will be screwed. If the GOP doesn't compromise, they know they're going to lose a lot more seats in 2014, and the middleclass will blame them for once again voting "NO". Obama needs to take a hardline with them and show them who is boss. Obama need to stick to his guns with these guys. If you give an inch they'll take a mile. Corporations are already saying they will pay more because they don't want the fiscal cliff go over. What do you want to fix first? The Fiscal Cliff, Emotional Cliff, or the Nuclear Cliff? Please. Reich needs to quit stirring the pot. Let's see if Obama will do what he said he would do and quit listening to the peanut gallery.
+1 # RHytonen 2012-11-28 14:33
What "stick with his guns?" By INITIATING "negotiations" by almost promising to "chain the CPI" for Seniors on SS alone?

Do you have any idea how much monthly utility bills alone have increased in the past three years? Here in WV it's DOUBLE- for each of gas, water, AND electricity! Even the current CPI/COLA doesn't come close. I guarantee you'd notice if you lived on $1K/month. Do the math. It's not trivial. Literally millions of Seniors would be cutting back, already cut back meals and prescription drugs, and/or freezing to death in their homes.
+27 # BradFromSalem 2012-11-26 13:00
There ain't no cliff to fall off. But the President knows this. In fact, it is almost entirely in his hands just hard we fall, if we fall at all, come January 1. Perhaps the President is attempting to scare the Republicans into a quick capitulation? At over a month away, Obama has plenty of time to create the remediation plans, then announce them around Christmas time. By announcing the plans too early he may weaken his argument that going over the "cliff" is all the Republican's fault. This is called giving the Republicans enough rope to hang themselves.
In fact this whole thing is more a showdown. Democrats want more tax dollars from the wealthy, defense cuts, no functional changes to "entitlements", and unemployment insurance extensions. Republicans want anything the Democrats don't want.
So the showdown is between people that have somewhat addressed America's current fiscal situation vs. people that don't want anything the other guy wants.

So, until the Republicans start talking sense; I have yet to see a Republican legislator even tip toe into raising rates. Let the President and his team call the showdown as a cliff. For Republicans, it will be a cliff when they find out the longer they wait, the bigger the cliff is for them.

The President is calling the shots, lets see how this falls out. If the Republicans win, there will be a new Progressive party in 2016, maybe even the 2014 Congressional elections.
-3 # RHytonen 2012-11-28 14:35
There already IS a new Progressive Party - The Greens. See ssues You will be surprised.
+1 # BradFromSalem 2012-11-29 10:28
I live in MA. I voted for Jill Stein the first time she ran against Romney, and I voted for her this time.

I knew she couldn't win either time.
-1 # Jonathan Levy 2012-11-26 13:03
As I have been saying forever, Obama is not your friend any more than Romney, who is admittedly a total douche. RSN kissed Obama's arse before the election, basically campaigning for him ab nausea, and I was greeted by a lot of sheep following Obama like he is the messiah, when his record on all liberal issues is abominable.

RSN, I will never give you a dime as long as you espouse this insanity instead of reporting on Obama's crimes, which are as great as GWB's.

OBama and the republicans are playing for the same team. Please get this everyone instead of being pitiful sheep, begging Obama and telling him you've "got his back". That is the lamest thing I have ever heard.
+17 # RalphN 2012-11-26 13:13
I generally tend to agree with Reich but he keeps hammering this point w/o mentioning that there are also spending cuts that will automatically kick in when we go over the fiscal cliff and that's what worries economists about slowing the economy. If not for that I'd agree. Maybe restoring the tax cuts for all but the 1% after we go over the cliff would be a loophole around Norquist for those who took his pledge.
+4 # elbajoeste 2012-11-26 14:02
Name ONE gutsy thing that President Obama has done that has been a risk for him and Ill kiss your ass in Macy's window as they used to say. They used to say a lot of good things before corruption became the only game in town. Now Donald Trump.and Macy's are so busy kissing each other's ass the phrase has lost its meaning. As has Macy's. Trump never had any.
+10 # brux 2012-11-26 14:28
the threat or reality of those spending cuts needs to cut in for anyone to be really motivated. i just wish obama would get it over with, no point in doing this every year forever.

the republicans have driven us here, they and the super-rich who benefited now have to pay to drive us back.
+15 # Depressionborn 2012-11-26 13:15
Why can't the stupid Republicans let Obama have his way? The rich have been getting away with all the money, they should pay up. If higher taxes destroy the economy we can always vote the Democrats out.
+44 # 2012-11-26 13:16
A progressive Obama is the product of fertile imaginations. While a senator, he voted for the bancrupcy bill- a gift to banks. In his first week in office, he engaged in extra-judicial killing- other wise known as murder. He had not a word of reproach as Israel tried out its latest munitions on the captive population of Gaza. He has not lifted a finger on climate change. He is busy secretly "negotiating" the Pacific version of Nafta- to cement corporate control of our lives. He is going after whistle blowers with the tenacity of a pit bull. He will never raise taxes on the owners of this country. He is no progressive.
+4 # Jonathan Levy 2012-11-26 18:27
yay! Thank you for stating the obvious to the Obama drone population who cannot or will not pay attention to Barry's terrible record on progressive issues.
-1 # fdawei 2012-11-27 03:34
Completely agree with Frischome and Levy !!!
We imagined things would be better, but we didn't check in the rear-view mirror to view the damage and carnage that was strewn along the way.
+27 # diacad 2012-11-26 13:17
"You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."

Hard to do it with a jackass ear as well. Let's face it, in spite of the greater-evil scare of a potential Romney administration, Obama might not have been elected without sufficient corporate money and influence. Has he ever shown any tendency (beyond rhetoric) to bite the larger hands that feed him?

We need campaign finance reform before we can raise expectations at all. Private and corporate contributors to political campaigns should go to jail like they do in Sweden and some other countries. The "Citizens United" supreme court decision merely sanctifies in law a long-standing US acceptance of corruption and bribery in electoral politics, a tradition which we must put aside before we can be a democracy (people control) rather than a plutocracy (dollars control).
+27 # tbcrawford 2012-11-26 13:25
Rather than venting on these pages, we must articulate our ideas directly to our representatives from local to the White one reader advised "Create an avalanche of letters" ... Let wisdom and wise leadership "trickle up"!
+12 # Jonathan Levy 2012-11-26 13:38
Been there, done that, buddy. Congress has a 9% approval rating so your thoughts or mine don't matter to them, only the thoughts of the people buying them into power by funding both parties and offering one douche and another as a lessor of two evils. Reference the presidential election. Stop wasting your time thinking your letters do any good even though you are well-intentione d. We need to ignore corporate media as any sort of truth-bearer and vote third parties until their 6 billion dollar election show is completely ineffectual for them and they are left behind as dinosaurs that they are. It's a long road, especially with the sheep on RSN who believe Barry gives a crap about them and is truly listening to their complaints
+5 # suzykoch 2012-11-26 13:45
By going "off" the cliff, there will be bad economic consequences for the majority of us. The middle class will lose it's tax breaks and unemployment benefits, which will negatively impact the economy as the unemployed and working/middle class will have less to spend. Where is the guarantee that later, the Repubs and Dems will agree keep tax increase for the rich and vote for tax cuts for the rest? Whether the Obama Admin. hypes the cliff or ignores it, we are in for a rough ride, with no quarantee that the cart will right itself, for the 99%. It is a funhouse ride of mirrors made to confuse and delude. Maybe one of the reasons that the White House is now emphasizing fear, is that they can see the tempest which lies ahead when they attack the BIG THREE. Just the fear of THE DEFICIT, does not do the trick. Better to push us into a deal now, rather than leaving the hounds of hell to lie in wait, until the cliff's been met. Once met, how will Obama and the rest, convince us of the necessity of supposed equal sacrifice. They are in a bit of twist, and which ever way they turn, they are in a fix once the majority of people understand, that the Obama Admin. has led us to the edge and demanded the SACRIFICE, with no better outcome, only worse as our recompense. Meanwhile, the big bucks are spent (over 50%) on the military and US Wars - but hardly anyone mentions that. No EQUAL SACRIFICE - let's tax the rich and end their wars, along with welfare for the oil companies.
+11 # BradFromSalem 2012-11-26 14:29

Calm down. The sky will not fall. The tax breaks for the Middle Class don't have to start coming out of our paychecks right away. The Treasury can modify the tax tables to slow down the rate at which it comes out. They can even put in the full increase on the wealthy. The military cuts are not going to suddenly be vulnerable to an Iranian invasion, or is it China this week? Also, a rapid end to Afghanistan can be used to swallowa chunk of the cut back.
That leaves the unemployed as the most endangered. A Federal jobs WPA type program can implemented using the increased tax revenues, by calling the new jobs civilian jobs in the military.

Lastly, if we go over the cliff, which is really a small hill, if Pelosi can get a package through the House by getting enough Republican votes, then reconciliation will be available in the Senate!

And contrary to what Lee Black posted, this is a game of chicken. And when you control the parachute, like the Dems do, then let it fly!!
+6 # suzykoch 2012-11-26 18:24
Well, you have some good points, but in the here and now, people have the need and right to survive, including the children. A WPA would not be soon in the offing, if it ever was pursued. I am not supporting the Fear Factor,and for now I am safely retired with Soc. Sec., Medicare and a pension, but just pointing out that Obama is using the possibility of economic consequences to pump the grab for the BIG THREE, and play us for suckers - and he is not alone, there is a chorus of other Democrats and pundits who are doing the same along with the Republicans - all singing the same bi-partisan tune/lie to accomplish what the big financial institutions and governments of Europe are doing to the people there. I think there is a much better and more succinct way for me to put it - it is the rich and powerful against the rest of us, while they try to convince us we should be responsible for the fraud and crimes of the Big Banks and their war debt. I say NO!
+2 # BradFromSalem 2012-11-26 19:45

The WPA thing is not a legislative act, but can be accomplished via the Army Corps of Engineers. They already perform domestic infrastructure work, so it take only a presidential order to implement it.
In short, there are immediate remedies to the extra tax burden on Middle America that will strengthen Obama's bargaining position.
We voted for Obama because we believed he would best represent our interests in this very upcoming battle. If he fails, we know right now to look outside the Democratic Party for a 2016 candidate. But at least give him the chance to accomplish what you voted for.
+1 # RHytonen 2012-11-28 14:54
There are other WPA-like elements that could be increased also, like the NCOA's training programs which fund the staffing of many small towns here in WV and I'm sure elsewhere.
Many would be surprised at the number of WPA-like programs over the years since the "real" one - like the CETA project.
-2 # RHytonen 2012-11-28 14:43
Quoting BradFromSalem:
A Federal jobs WPA type program can implemented

You mean like Jill Stein's "Green New Deal?"
Where were you people this election, too busy watching MSNBC and Current to do your homework as voters?
According to the polls issue by issue, over 70% of America agreed most with the Green Platform.
+8 # brux 2012-11-26 14:13
Republicans ... uh, you mean Barack Obama?

I was afraid of this, people need to understand what is happening and then refuse to put up with this.

Our country is incapable of being honest, and has been for 30 years until the whole system is based on nothing but greed and force. People start to find out and complain, but what is there to do that is continuous?

How do we get out from under these people who think they are the rightful and righteous owners of the world because of their inheritance and military might ?
+11 # wrodwell 2012-11-26 14:16
Of course fear-mongering plays into Republican hands; it's supposed to! It makes sense: don't the Democrats and the Republicans work "hand in glove" despite their presumed acrimony? Don't they take campaign contributions and other perks from many of the same donors? If any politician had any shred of integrity they'd do the following:
1. Medicare: Prosecute criminals who continually defraud the system of billions.
2. Social Security: instead of cutting Soc Sec require the Federal Government to repay the IOU's it's owed since the 1960's, using Soc Sec as a piggy bank. That alone should strengthen Social Security for decades to come without raising taxes on workers. (Social Security should be off the table anyway as it does not impact the budget; it's a self-sustaining program.) So, if any politician wants to cut Soc Sec and other safety net programs, that's how you know they've got something else up their nefarious sleeves.
3. Medicaid: Weed out fraud, save billions.
As for the "Fiscal Cliff", we should wait until all the politicians are gathered at the precipice then push them off en masse. That would solve a lot of the country's problems.
What politicians do is create false problems and crises in order to get away with advancing their real agendas using the strategy of cynical subterfuge.
It's up to the the American Public to see behind their deceptions and either hold them accountable or better yet, throw the bums out by any means necessary. Viva la Revolucion!
+6 # Citizen Mike 2012-11-26 14:18
One party with two heads playing good cop-bad cop with the public. I fear the fix is in and any vote in the legislature is merely ceremonial. too bad we can't send all these Plutocrats to Pluto.
+12 # politicfix 2012-11-26 14:19
It's time the White House called somebody's bluff rather than cowtow to another threat by the Republicans. The GOP will not let this happen as corporations are already stating they will pay more in taxes. They understand that Obama is has no more to lose in negotiating with the GOP. He's better off doing everything he can for the people who elected him. If I were Obama I wouldn't compromise on anything because they expect him to. Obama needs to hold their feet to the fire. If the Republicans do not give in, they will be BLAMED for the middleclass being taxed and once again they worked against the people by continuing to vote "no". Thus, they will feel the rath of the middleclass in 2014 when they lose the rest of their seats up for grabs, and soon they will be no more. The Governors will also lose their re-election bids, which they may anyway, based on the approval of the Republican party.
+6 # KittatinyHawk 2012-11-26 14:28
I do not know where you veered but the cliff is exactly where OB should push the SOBs...for all Americans who voted for them to see who they are Rethug, Dem or TP
I hope the Brass PTP and start pushing their Buds.
Sacrifice,,,wow People make a sacrifice...hav e to cut your over spending?
I have not worried about that, I buy Anerican, buy local farmers, switched banks so I did things this year you all ranted about.
OB is standing his ground...your still sniveling. ME, ME, ME....I have more to worry about than spoiled brats. There are still victims from 911, Katrina, now Sandy, foreclosures, Animals...your just arain of sand compared to those who lost everything, many still waiting for help.

Your like the selfish people in Sandy who heard the warnings and didn't prepare, waited for last minute. Allowing their belongings to go under. Then expecting to be given everything back.
Then there are those who put their sleeves up and did something to get their lives going again...I do not hear them bitching about a cliff. They went over a cliff, paddled away now are rebuilding the cliff. Maybe it is time everyone went off the cliff...heck you let us get there by previous votings.
Nittens were in wouldn't have seen the cliff nor given life rafts! He was shutting Agencies down.
Learn to swim, we all did
Want Change Get off your ____s.
+4 # reiverpacific 2012-11-26 15:27
"But today (Monday) the White House's Council of Economic Advisers issued a report today warning that if Congress allows the Bush tax cuts to expire January 1and the Alternative Minimum Tax to kick in, the middle class will face sharply-rising taxes." (Quote from article).
So who constitutes the "White House's Council of Economic Advisors" prithee?
If we saw this, we might get a pretty good part of the answer.
+3 # Malcolm 2012-11-26 20:14
Ah, reiverpacific, you always have such interesting comments!

you inspired me to research this group, and I recommend, at a minimum, looking at wikipedia's site on the subject. It's kind of horrifying, actually.

I won't try to give you a synopsis, as it's too darn long. The Council was established in 1946, okay? But one issue that gives me a lot of concern is the following:

"In its first seven years the CEA made five technical advances in policy making, including the replacement of a "cyclical model" of the economy by a "growth model."

I'm a "John McCain economist"-in other words, i don't know shit about the subject. But to me, this SOUNDS like they decided, way back when, that our economy should be based on GROWTH. "Grow", to me, is a four letter word, and is not a good basis for our economic future.

If you have a better understanding of economics (almost a certainty), perhaps you would deign to edify us poor slobs who just don't get it. I, for one, would greatly appreciate it!
+1 # reiverpacific 2012-11-28 11:15
Quoting Malcolm:
Ah, reiverpacific, you always have such interesting comments!

you inspired me to research this group, and I recommend, at a minimum, looking at wikipedia's site on the subject. It's kind of horrifying, actually.

I won't try to give you a synopsis, as it's too darn long. The Council was established in 1946, okay? But one issue that gives me a lot of concern is the following:

"In its first seven years the CEA made five technical advances in policy making, including the replacement of a "cyclical model" of the economy by a "growth model."

I'm a "John McCain economist"-in other words, i don't know shit about the subject. But to me, this SOUNDS like they decided, way back when, that our economy should be based on GROWTH. "Grow", to me, is a four letter word, and is not a good basis for our economic future.

If you have a better understanding of economics (almost a certainty), perhaps you would deign to edify us poor slobs who just don't get it. I, for one, would greatly appreciate it!

I'm a fiscal twit myself needing all clarification I can get. Mr. Reich is usually to the point so that the likes of us can at least comprehend what is being discussed.
But when I see a title or point that is taken for granted as a know quantity, I have to check into it or at least demand more and better information -that's my socio-political -historical self kickin' in as a lifelong learned habit.
Thanks and ditto on growth!
+2 # RHytonen 2012-11-28 15:13
[quote name="reiverpac ific It's kind of horrifying, actually.
"In its first seven years the CEA made five technical advances in policy making, including the replacement of a "cyclical model" of the economy by a "growth model."
this SOUNDS like they decided, way back when, that our economy should be based on GROWTH. "Grow", to me, is a four letter word, and is not a good basis for our economic future.
Thanks and ditto on growth!

It's absolutely true that capitalism is based on the Myth of infinite growth.
Add that the "Free (ie unregulated or underregulated) Market" and not only tolerance but encouragement of GAMBLING (a pure "Finance" industry,)as a basis for creating fake value - virtual capital; have replaced "Free ENTERPRISE," a VERY different thing.

In a free enterprise system, a sustainable business, paying its bills and salaries and turning a reasonable profit, is a success. In "Free Market Capitalism," it's a failure because it doesn't guarantee "GROWTH" to its Investor/Gamble rs, who at certain levels are allowed to sell off even "risk," mostly to the government they can afford to bribe to allow, and even Insure it -at no interest.
What could possibly go wrong?
+7 # eyarden 2012-11-26 15:39
Mr. Reich has provided me with some useful figures. As someone surely in the middle-class, with more than the social and familial obligations typical for members of my class, I certainly do not engage in wasteful consumption. Car ownership for instance. My tax-increase over the fiscal cliff might cost me dinners out, and fewer expensive books. But do no harm to my relatively affluent life-style. I look forward to paying more taxes is this will contribute to reducing exaggerated disparities of income that generate excessive waste and consequent wars of predatory consumption of resources--geol ogical and human. Breaking the duopoly that serves limitless corporate profit growth and getting to a sustainable ecologically sound economy is first political necessity.
Elie Yarden
Green-Rainbow Party
0 # grouchy 2012-11-26 16:06
Kind of a wee bit of Obama tradition still playing here? I'm quite sick of it.
+3 # bobby t. 2012-11-26 16:30
So much for Levy who said that the readers of RSN never tell the truth about Obama. Human Right failed to say that parts of that bill were fought and he lost parts of the act due to the kinda simple fact that THEY WERE UNCONSTITUTIONA L! The last line is a little too B.S. to me and ruined the rest of it for me.
Listen, you take away the huge amount of fraud and corruption from American politics and what do you have? Utter boredom!
Aristophanes, in 411 BCE wrote a play called Lysistrata. That would be the real solution to our wars and waste. Barbara K please read the wikapedia on that one.
Some women need to get together and start that movement and I "betcha" we would see some real change here.
I always also recommend reading Catch-22 to people who have never read it. Milo is the greatest character to represent American greed than anyone. Yosarian, the main character could be any of us.
+4 # Jonathan Levy 2012-11-26 17:40
Surely not all RSN readers are Obama sheep but clearly the vast majority are, despite his terrible record on human rights, economics, food safety, torture, drones, war--basically everything. I mean I'm on here, for one. If you think Barry doesn't know what progressives want then you are insane because it is so completely obvious. Given his actions in direct contrast to progressives and independent of republican congress blocking him, it is incredibly obvious he has no interest in representing us. The fact RSN readers think they can petition Obama to convince him is absurd. Don't vote for him and don't vote for Romney. It's a simple answer. There were plenty of third party candidates who do rep us but everyone was too cowardly to see the truth and instead are hoping and praying their neat little view of democracy in America is true when we only have a theater of democracy, a theater of an election and a theater of debate.

And...utter boredom would be perfect. Then people would not be so distracted as to not make something of their own lives
+5 # Ritchings 2012-11-26 16:38
The so-called fiscal cliff is already a product of political cowardice, of so-called leaders failing to do what's best for the common good. Why would you expect anything different now that Obama doesn't face re-election? I'm already looking for additional work to pay the additional taxes that are just around the corner. I didn't vote for Obama this time, and I make no apology for that.
+7 # MidwestTom 2012-11-26 17:04
Having spent Thanksgiving in Washington DC, I came away with the feeling that the people that live there can't possibly understand what this recession is like for the rest of us, since they have not had any effect from it. New construction is everywhere, housing prices never dipped, and are continuing to rise, and restaurants are expensive, Everything there is expensive. The Military industrial complex is visible everywhere you look. One gets the feeling that we are all slaves for the masters, both public and private, that reside in the Capital.
0 # Scott479 2012-11-27 10:01
"The Military industrial complex is visible everywhere you look"
That's right MidwestTom, and just waiting to be rolled out under Obama's NDAA should we be uppity enough to demand he actually govern as he campaigned-gott a protect all those gated communities.
+7 # m... 2012-11-26 18:56
I'm thinking that the Obama we saw first term IS Obama.

The election may have indeed been all about a very limited choice between two evils.

Day after the election, the Washington-Corp orate Media Machines cranked into full operation and the term 'Fiscal Cliff' rang forth machine-gun-sta ccato fashion from every media corner and hasn't let up since.

Do you see a Stock Market trembling over Obama's presence in the Politics of the 'Fiscal Cliff'..?


To me it means one thing.

Austerity Economics is about to crash down on all Americans like a ten ton brick packaged and labeled as 'Economic Salvation'...

No matter what your hopes.., just like what you see happening in the EuroZone, the main goal of most of today's post election Corpo-Politicia ns is the protection of the Wealth of the Super Wealthy Class before all else.

The 'Big Fiscal Battle' unfolding in Washington is actually over very very very small differences. Like a little bit of Potato Chips in an otherwise large bag of air.

Don't kid yourselves and don't kick back after the election and expect a 'Stand up Obama' or delude yourselves that Democrats suddenly have 'spine'...

We're being played..., one and all.
+3 # Scott479 2012-11-26 19:14
Obama is playing us right into his hands-his republican hands....
+3 # JSRaleigh 2012-11-26 19:58
I think he's positioning himself to pull a "Nixon goes to China" on Social Security & Medicare.
+3 # WestWinds 2012-11-26 20:00
>>>This kind of fear-mongering plays into Republican hands.
+5 # Focusweasel 2012-11-27 00:10
I wonder how reality was explained to our
new Prez in 2008 ~ behind closed doors, of course. The huge corporations have been ruling this planet for a while now.
See the Nov.24th RSN article about the
"Trans-Pacific Partnership"for details.
" Why So Secretive? " is the title line.
Note the photo of protesters in Tokyo
taken over a year ago!! Our media have
been fully purchased as well. Ruination
of a perfectly gorgeous planet?Criminal .
+3 # Larkrise 2012-11-27 01:13
A leopard doesn't change his spots; and Obama is not going to magically become the President you dreamed of for so long. I finally voted for him; but only because Romney was atrocious, and the Rethuglicans are insane. I had to hold my nose very tightly to do it.Obama is not a champion of the average citizen. He is an elitist and corporatist. His economic advisor has given press statements about cutting entitlement spending. Obama refuses to learn from past mistakes. Sad to say, we are stuck with him for four more very long years. He will sell Progressives down the river, and never blink an eye. Any promise this man would make is an empty one. He lacks wisdom and courage. P.S. I wish Larry O'Donnell would put his brown nose somewhere else. I am weary of Obamabots.
-2 # Scott479 2012-11-27 10:26
"P.S. I wish Larry O'Donnell would put his brown nose somewhere else"-he's looking for a cabinet position....
+1 # joedeane 2012-11-27 15:22
no, he just likes the smell of lying and hypocracy which permeates the media.
+3 # jonahsbud 2012-11-27 11:00
If the GOP could get it done, they would tax the poor, and the middle class, and give that extra money to the rich, Period.

Ira D. York
-2 # 4yourinformation 2012-11-27 11:58
Barack Obama...Secret Rupublican.

Didn't you know?
0 # mgwmgw 2012-11-28 03:33
The primary goal of almost any member of Congress is to get re-elected. The top 1% are the largest sources of campaign funds, which are needed, but not enough alone, for getting re-elected.

Another criterion is that the local voters should not be motivated enough to support a viable enough competitor next time to unseat the incumbent.

This is true of all political parties, and to me makes more sense in predicting their behavior than any generalizations one might want to make about what all Democrats or all Republicans should believe.

In theory, a president who cannot run for re-election has to pay back his prior campaign funders in setting policy, which explains why the rich always get favored, but Obama does not need the same emphasis on re-election funders this time. He has to worry about his "legacy". The legacy explains, for example, why the Republicans did not involve George W. Bush much in their most recent presidential campaign.

So, if Obama and the GOP take us over the financial cliff, we can predict how history will view the Obama administration as a result. Badly.

The Obama administration is smart enough to figure out all of the above. Do they actually think that history will blame the GOP? I don't think so, and believe that the Obama administration does not think so either.

Given all this, I cannot explain their current behavior. Is paying back past campaign funders more important than presidential legacy? It makes no sense.
-1 # Jonathan Levy 2012-11-28 10:36
Of course you are confused because the fundamental premise of your model is incorrect. Obama's legacy is to preserve this theater of democracy so we keep campaigning for Obama vs Romney or some other dickweed as if they don't both work for the same masters. They want us to believe certain presidents actually had beliefs and principles and values that guided their policies and led to their legacies. Here is what the puppet masters are creating as an Obama legacy: He heroically got voted into office as the first black man and fought a courageous fight to little avail (gave us lip-service about change and then enacted every policy possible to hurt progressive causes) and he also showed an amazing willingness to "reach across the aisle" (euphemism for sell us all out). His legacy is a sham, a total theater in and of itself and is not up to him, other than that it will be basically framed in the context that he was trying to "serve his country" (serve the will of multi-national corporate while mollifying the people with lies and scary candidates like Romney)
-1 # joedeane 2012-11-28 16:04
I agree, but I think Obama is completely with the program.
+1 # dovelane1 2012-11-28 22:11
Levy - If I remember correctly, Obama doesn't make the laws. Congress does. Of course, he can veto them. Or not.

What I see you and most others doing here is giving Obama more power than he has.

You and the other cynics may be correct. I don't know, because nothing has happened yet.

If you are correct, I will certainly be willing to change my mind. What are you going to do if you end up being wrong?

Judging from your attitude, that is a word you don't like to use in connection to your opinions. At this point in time, however, that is all they are. They may be based on facts, or based on selectively perceived facts, but they are still opinions until something happens.

If Obama proves to be the corporate shill you portray him to be, I'll join you in the streets, and the sooner the better.

Until then, I wish you and the other naysayers would quit assuming your assumptions are correct before they are proven to be correct.
-1 # joedeane 2012-11-29 06:38
You sound reasonable but your position is anything but. Obama made clear his neo-con stance from the beginning of his first term in office by virtue of his advisors and Cabinet: Larry Summers, the despicable criminal Geithner, Gates and the entire pentagon elite; Holder the corporate lawyer, the deal he made with the Clintons to support him for making the horrible Hillary his Sec, of State, and on and on. And his actions have born this out. He could have deligitamated the entire neo-con and loony conservative establishment at the very beginning by setting up a legal team to carefully and relentlessly pursue the Bush criminals. Instead we got a continuation of Gitmo, rendition, and off shore torture. Face it, Obama is a reactionary servant of the empire. Look what he has done to our civil liberties? He has worked to eliminate habeas corpus, the foundation of the Anglo American rule of law? If you can't see it by now, I doubt that you will see it ever. How long do you have to look at someone shooting at you before you realize they are not on your side?

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