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Reich writes: "The Republicans' austerity economics and trickle-down economics are dangerous, bald-faced lies."

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

Why Obama Must Meet the Republican Lies Directly

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

26 February 13


he White House apparently believes the best way to strengthen its hand in the upcoming "sequester" showdown with Republicans is to tell Americans how awful the spending cuts will be, and blame Republicans for them.

It won't work. These tactical messages are getting in the way of the larger truth, which the President must hammer home: The Republicans' austerity economics and trickle-down economics are dangerous, bald-faced lies.

Yes, the pending spending cuts will hurt. But even if some Americans begin to feel the pain when the cuts go into effect Friday, most won't feel it for weeks or months, if ever.

Half are cuts in the military, which will have a huge impact on jobs (the military is America's only major jobs program), but the cuts will be felt mainly in states with large numbers of military contractors, and then only as those contractors shed employees.

The other half are cuts in domestic discretionary spending, which will largely affect lower-income Americans. There will be sharp reductions in federal aid to poor schools, nutrition assistance, housing assistance, and the like. But here again, most Americans won't see these cuts or feel them.

Moreover, the blame game can be played both ways, and Republicans are adept at slinging mud. When it comes to high-visibility consequences of the spending cuts - such as a sudden dearth of air-traffic controllers - Republicans will dodge blame by happily giving Obama authority to shift spending and find the cuts himself, thereby making the White House appear even more culpable.

Besides, there's no end to this. After Friday's sequester comes the showdown over continuing funding of the government beyond March 27. Then another fight over the debt ceiling.

The White House must directly rebut the two big lies that fuel the Republican assault - and that have fueled it since the showdown over the debt ceiling in the summer of 2011.

The first big lie is austerity economics - the claim that the budget deficit is the nation's biggest economic problem now, responsible for the anemic recovery.

Wrong. The problem is too few jobs, lousy wages, and slow growth. Cutting the budget deficit anytime soon makes the problem worse because it reduces overall demand. As a result, the economy will slow or fall into recession - which enlarges the deficit in proportion. You want proof? Look at what austerity economics has done to Europe.

The second big lie is trickle-down economics - the claim that we get more jobs and growth if corporations and the rich have more money because they're the job creators, and job growth would be hurt if their taxes were hiked.

Wrong. The real job creators are the broad middle class and everyone who aspires to join it. Their purchases keep economy going.

As inequality continues to widen, and income and wealth become ever more concentrated at the top, the rest don't have the purchasing power they need to boost the economy. That's the underlying reason why the recovery continues to be so anemic.

These two lies - austerity economics and trickle-down economics - are being told over and over by Republicans and their mouthpieces on Fox News, yell radio, and the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal. They are wrong and there are dangerous.

Yet unless they are rebutted clearly and forcefully, the nation will continue to careen from crisis to crisis, showdown to showdown.

And we will have almost no chance of reversing the larger challenge of widening inequality.

President Obama has the bully pulpit. Americans trust him more than they do congressional Republicans. But he is letting micro-tactics get in the way of the larger truth. And he's blurring his message with other messages - about gun control, immigration, and the environment. All are important, to be sure. But none has half a chance unless Americans understand how they're being duped on the really big story.

Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock" and "The Work of Nations." His latest is an e-book, "Beyond Outrage." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

-78 # angry 2013-02-26 09:56
Uh, hey Mr. Reich, the sequester was Obama's idea. Yes it was bad, but he should admit that it was a political ploy. THEN, he should do what he promised 4 years ago and eliminate campaign bribes (not expand them, as he has).
-63 # edge 2013-02-26 13:07
I thought it was Bush :)

Hmmm... Obama raised taxes on all of us by MUCH more than this 85 billion and I did not here him saying the end of the world was near!

Oh Bobby Reich I question who is really lying! I am calling you on this one!
+26 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2013-02-26 15:46
Exactly WHEN did Obama raise taxes — and exactly what taxes did he raise?
-14 # edge 2013-02-27 05:58
EVERY wage earner had a 2% increase to their FICA taxQuoting Reductio Ad Absurdum:
Exactly WHEN did Obama raise taxes — and exactly what taxes did he raise?

Quoting Reductio Ad Absurdum:
Exactly WHEN did Obama raise taxes — and exactly what taxes did he raise?

Every high income earner pays more if they sell stocks or their house or die.

Since you probably don't work since YOU did not notice this increase, I guess all is right in your world!

Here is a thought, watch News that is NOT in your normal thinking.
I watch left leaning news to hear what the other side thinks. If you only listen to one side you will have a very slanted view on the World...expand your mind...a stay off of the drugs.
+17 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2013-02-27 13:29
The 2% FICA RESET WAS NOT A TAX INCREASE — it was the predetermined end to a payroll tax holiday Obama created in the first place. It pays for Social Security — that thing the Republicans say we can't afford, even though it pays for itself.

And by the way, your arrogant assumptions aside. I DO work; I'm self-employed, so I pay my own way on everything.

The Bush tax cuts were also predetermined to expire - as agreed upon when they were passed, but the Republicans wouldn't let them expire — even though they exploded the budget deficit and Bush's two unfunded wars and an unfunded Medicare D giveaway to Big Pharma ballooned the debt.
+11 # wwway 2013-02-27 13:42
The Constitution in Article I Section 8 gives Congress the purse. Congress worked out and passed the Social Security Act and funded it with FICA during the Roosevelt Administration. Congress and President Obama TEMPORARILARILY lowered FICA a few years ago to stimulate the economy. This means that SS has been underfunded during this time. Those who complain about their rates going up are ungrateful hateful spoiled folks...general ly Republicans.
-8 # edge 2013-02-27 06:07
Quoting BlueReview:
Quoting edge:
[quote name="Billsy"]YOU obviously missed civics or are trying to deceive!

"All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives"

They get passed just like every other Bill!

Correct me if I'm wrong--but isn't the House of Representatives a part of Congress?


The House offers a bill, the Senate can pass or not or make amendments to the bill and send it back to the House.
IF BOTH Houses pass the bill the President can sign it and it becomes law, or he can veto it and then then it goes back to Congress to either over ride the veto or it does not become law!

Actually under Obama we have NEVER had a budget, EXCEPT the last 9 months of the Bush budget!
Pelosi ignored that part of the Constitution as did Reid and Obama!
Obam offered two budgets after the GOP took over the House and both went down with almost ZERO votes, even from the Dems.
Look it up, the internet is free!
+6 # Todd Williams 2013-02-27 08:50
The President has no authority to spend money or raise or lower taxes or pass a budget. These responsibilitie s belong soley to Congress. Look it up. Civics 101!
-9 # edge 2013-02-27 11:43
Quoting Todd Williams:
The President has no authority to spend money or raise or lower taxes or pass a budget. These responsibilities belong soley to Congress. Look it up. Civics 101!

By your very limited knowledge then NOBODY can spend money...COOL!

The President MUST either SIGN the budget INTO LAW;


VETO the budget and then it goes back to Congress to over ride the veto and then it becomes law OR they do not over ride the veto and they try to fix it;


The President does NOTHING AND Congress goes out of session then it becomes law in 10 days.

OH, and yes the President does spend tons of money all on his own so don't try to deceive people!
+8 # Todd Williams 2013-02-27 13:07
I've forgotten more knowledge than you've ever learned, Edge. Don't you dare lectuire me on American civics! By your own admission, Congress controls the pursestrings. Read your own damn post.
-8 # edge 2013-02-27 13:49
Quoting Todd Williams:
I've forgotten more knowledge than you've ever learned, Edge. Don't you dare lectuire me on American civics! By your own admission, Congress controls the pursestrings. Read your own damn post.

In that case you have forgotten too much and you need to go back and learn some more!
+4 # Todd Williams 2013-02-27 16:06
You may have had the last word because I have nothing more to say to you. But I had the last laugh. Go read your civics book again and your own post. You crack me up, dude.
+7 # phrixus 2013-02-26 18:31
Where's your evidence - the empirical data that supports your claim that the President raised taxes on all of us by more than 85 billion? Or are you just making this up? If not, you should be easily able to supply some citations.
-9 # edge 2013-02-27 11:56
1. Payroll tax: increase in the Social Security portion of the payroll tax from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent for workers. This hits all Americans earning a paycheck—not just the “wealthy.”
2. Top marginal tax rate
3. Phase out of personal exemptions for adjusted gross income (AGI) over $300,000
4. Phase down of itemized deductions for AGI over $300,000
5. Tax rates on investment: increase in the rate on dividends and capital gains from 15 percent to 20 percent for taxable incomes over $450,000
6. Death tax: increase in the rate (on estates larger than $5 million) from 35 percent to 40 percent.
7. Taxes on business investment: expiration of full expensing—the immediate deduction of capital purchases by businesses.
Obamacare tax increases that took effect:
8. Another investment tax increase: 3.8 percent surtax on investment income for taxpayers with taxable income exceeding $250,000
9. Another payroll tax hike: 0.9 percent increase in the Hospital Insurance portion of the payroll tax for incomes over $250,000
10. Medical device tax: 2.3 percent excise tax paid by medical device manufacturers and importers on all their sales.
11. Reducing the income tax deduction for individuals’ medical expenses.
12. Elimination of the corporate income tax deduction for expenses related to the Medicare Part D subsidy.
13. Limitation of the corporate income tax deduction for compensation that health insurance companies pay to their executives.
+8 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2013-02-27 13:41
39% of the Stimulus Bill the Republicans love to hate was a tax cut for 95% of Americans; you somehow failed to mention this in your efforts to paint Obama as a tax-raising maniac.

Most of the items you mentioned aren't examples of "raising taxes," especially not income taxes, which the phrase typically implies; they're examples of reducing tax loopholes (suggested by Romney) and they certainly DO NOT SUPPORT your original claim that " Obama raised taxes on all of us by MUCH more than this 85 billion" by any means. Nice try. No cigar.
+11 # Michael Lee Bugg 2013-02-27 15:12
Fairly accurate list Edge, but you miss the point. Our problem is not the budget deficit because that is only a symptom. The problem is that the top 1% has been rewarded for 12 years by Bush's AND for 29 years by Reagan's unjustified tax cuts even though the top 1% are the ones who have cut retirement benefits, cut health insurance benefits, cut wages, and when that was not enough to satisfy their short-sighted, insatiable greed, they cut American workers, put them on the street with bills to pay, and exported the jobs to slave wage countries like China, India, Vietnam, Pakistan, Indonesia, Korea, and Mexico to name a few. The 1% has held down wages since the Mayflower landed and have had their panties in a wad since unions demanded and got good wages and benefits! Now Bush has rewarded their greed with his tax cuts on top of Reagan's tax cuts. If I was the decider the top income tax bracket would be 70% on ALL income over $10 million annually with no distinction between "earned" income from wages and "unearned" income from capital gains, rents, and dividends. The Romney's of the world would no longer be embarrassed by paying lower tax rates than their secretaries! Tax evasion would be a capital crime, and anyone caught stashing income overseas would have their domestic assets confiscated and then they would be deported to live with their overseas money! Obama has kissed their rings for way too long, contrary to your whining!
+36 # Billsy 2013-02-26 13:24
I suggest you become better informed before posting such nonsense on this site. Campaign reform is a great place to start but it takes a constitutional amendment to undo the damage done by the SCOTUS with their bungled and partisan Citizens United decision. First lesson in civics: Congress sets the budget NOT the president. Looks like the Republican operatives were out in force early today being the first to post antagonistic and misleading comments.
-20 # edge 2013-02-26 15:01
Quoting Billsy:

I suggest you become better informed before posting such nonsense on this site.


First lesson in civics: Congress sets the budget NOT the president.


YOU obviously missed civics or are trying to deceive!

"All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives"

They get passed just like every other Bill!
+20 # BlueReview 2013-02-26 18:05
Quoting edge:
[quote name="Billsy"]YOU obviously missed civics or are trying to deceive!

"All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives"

They get passed just like every other Bill!

Correct me if I'm wrong--but isn't the House of Representatives a part of Congress?
+7 # Todd Williams 2013-02-27 08:52
No, it is you edge who is either misinformed or trying to mislead others. Too many smart folks on this site to pull that bullshit. Give it up.
+63 # DPM 2013-02-26 10:10
At an "Occupy" rally, last week, a passerby screamed at me, "Union Communist!" He was screaming it over and over again. I thought his head would explode. The sign I carried? "Silence is consent". Obviously a "communist" slogan. At least he voiced his opinion. My point is, this guy was in his 60's. Well dressed and driving a Mercedes. A nice one. THESE are the people that are moving the Republican party. There is no changing them. The president and the rest of the Democratic party seem unable to form a cohesive message or policy, just as the article alludes, to counter the blatant lies of the right. It will take "people power". What are YOU doing? Call your politicians. Speak up and speak out to those you know. March! Picket! Do something! A little is better than nothing.
+43 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-02-26 11:24
What is interesting is that the screamer was concerned that his Socialism may be threatened. These are the guys, the screamers, who have lived on corporate welfare, corporate Socialism, and they do not to lose it.
+5 # Todd Williams 2013-02-27 08:57
An interesting post, DPM. I do not feel we can ever change these people's minds. Hard core right wingers will always be so. We need, however, to bring young people into the Progressive fold because it is they who have the energy, the drive, and the willingness to be open to new ideas. The future of the Progressive movement is with the youth, not changing people like you encountered at the rally. These folks are lost to reality.
+83 # Robert B 2013-02-26 10:11
The GOP has become so thoroughly dishonest about everything it's shocking. Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, et al., are chronic liars, and it's painfully obvious that they're lying. And they get really pissed off when other Republicans say something true, like Christie or Peter King. The whole hideous party has turned into the evil leading the stupid.
+54 # Skeptical1247 2013-02-26 11:12
You have written the true story of the Republican Party....

"The Evil Leading the Stupid" ... end of story.
-75 # jtatu 2013-02-26 10:28
Reich is correct to point out that a real problem we have today is an incompetent President aggravated by the fact that he is unaware of his incompetence. He also happens to be one of the most divisive and arrogant Presidents the US has ever had.
+32 # Alice 2013-02-26 13:27
Uh, I think you must be talking about President Cheney.
+20 # Regina 2013-02-26 16:56
Yeah -- just cuz he's black. And God knows the Republicans tried almighty to keep the riffraff from voting, but they snuck through anyway.
+5 # Todd Williams 2013-02-27 08:59
Where is your proof of any of this drivel, T-bagger? I thought so. No response. T-baggers drop their clever or not so clever stink bombs on this site then retreat into Neverland.
+13 # davidr 2013-02-26 10:35
The President as econ prof in chief? That's how to harness popular enthusiasm? Really? It seems to me that Obama's political instinct is sound. Don't advance your own economic theory when the opponents' economic theory is in such bad odor. Point out that your opponents have their heads in the clouds (or somewhere). Don't explain that your head is in a better cloud (even if it is). When people face real hardship, feel for them. Tell them to stand up for themselves. That's their instinct anyhow. When people are pissed off, tell them you're on their side. Don't explain the economic theory behind their anger.
+47 # mdhome 2013-02-26 10:37
"job creators" will not create jobs until there a buyers with money to purchase their products. There will not be buyers with money until they have jobs, so who is going to make that happen? Only the government has that ability.
+25 # Skeptical1247 2013-02-26 11:55
The private sector has that ability too.. but there is no way in hell that the Multi-Nationals are gonna do it. They only employ 30% of American workers and are firmly committed to NOT employing any more of them, AND they have proven that fact over the last 10 years, during which they have been de-regulated, subsidized, and exempted from paying taxes anywhere close to Statutory Rates. There are NO CARROTS LEFT to bribe these people with. It's time to bring out the stick.

Politically speaking, we have given away the farm and it STILL isn't enough. When I hear Obama and Repubs speak of "competing in the Global Market" I want to scream, because what they are REALLY saying is "Screw the small businesses that employ 70% of the workforce" and "Screw American Workers by making them compete with foreign workers making 1/10th the wages". We are gonna help the Multi-Nationals..

It's been going bad for 10 years and it is not going to change. Making things is hard work, it takes a lot of investment, infrastructure & tooling and worst of all.... employees. Finance is where it's at. Selling DEBT and selling hot air has less overhead and way higher profit margins. Gambling is WAY more profitable when the game is governmentally rigged to privatize profits and lay off losses on the public, which IS the nation we live in now.

We need to wake up. We ARE the largest market in the world. We do not need "Globalization" to survive. The fact's killing us.
+4 # Todd Williams 2013-02-27 09:03
Skeptical1247, I tend to agree with you. However, one point that seems to be forgotten in this discussion is that globilization has created some pressure for wage equality and environmental protections in at least some of the third world nations. I know it isn't enough, but something is better than nothing. I don't think this is a black and white issue.
+1 # robniel 2013-03-01 16:00
[quote name="mdhomeOnl y the government has that ability.

In a recession the government is the employer of last resort. Repairing roads, bridges, etc., should be addressed while money is cheap and workers need employment. Cutbacks can kick in when the U.S. has traditional unemployment levels and the economy is robust.
-66 # MidwestTom 2013-02-26 10:38
As part owner of a small business in Illinois, that has gone through some hard times lately, and with no connection to military contracting anywhere near, I must admit that when I visit Washington DC I resent that my taxes are rising to support the millions of government employees in the DC area who have only worried about the size of their yearly wages. I also feel no guilt about wishing that they cut some of the welfare benefits available in this state. They can raise the minimum wage to $20/hour and it would effect very few in Illinois, because they earn for more than that in benefits. Across the border in Indiana people will line up for a $10/hr job, but not here. In small ant small town in Illinois a significant number of people have concluded that staying home is the smart choice. Therefore I say, let the sequester begin. We raised taxes in January, and were supposed to cut now, but the idiots in Washington cannot agree to cut one dime anywhere, which is nuts. By the way the director of the Renewable Fuel Research Center in Colorado makes over $1 million per year, paid for by us.
+26 # ericlipps 2013-02-26 16:15
Tom, Tom, Tom--first, there are not "millions of government employees in the DC area"--not unless you've got a pretty expansive definition of that "area." The city itself had a total estimated population of 619,020 in 2012 according to the Census Bureau, and only a fraction (even of the adults among them) actually work for the government. And do you really believe that all those people only care about their own wages? As for the idea that people on welfare earn "far more than" $20.00 an hour in benefits--no, sir. Not in Illinois or anywhere else in America. Get your facts straight. Heck, just get some facts!
+12 # Regina 2013-02-26 17:00
Republican members of Congress are the only federal employees who are not earning the six-figure salaries and plush benefits provided by the tax-payers. They went off fiddling on a vacation week and left the country burning.
+6 # pappajohn 2013-02-26 10:48
Of course, all this assumes that the administration is actually representing the people's interests. Recent appointments (Lew, etc.) and weak policy postions (GWB-lite) really indicate that this is not the case.
-32 # Jonathan Levy 2013-02-26 11:23
Thank you, my sentiments exactly. Reich, a former Clinton official obviously knows better but essentially he's a sycophant in disguise and RSN takes the bait, featuring him time and time again.
-9 # Nominae 2013-02-26 13:38
Quoting pappajohn:
Of course, all this assumes that the administration is actually representing the people's interests. Recent appointments (Lew, etc.) and weak policy postions (GWB-lite) really indicate that this is not the case.

GOOD CALL ! Yes indeed ! That is the crux problem with most of these articles (my apologies to Mr. Reich), and, accordingly with most of the comments, is the *invalid* assumption that these politicians, including Obama, have at the core, ANY interest or intention to actually GOVERN !

Their job seems to be "Political Crowd Control". Give them whatever it takes to prevent all-out riot and/or revolution, but not a DIME more. Soon they will be too broke and concerned with finding food to mount much of a resistance anyway.

So, Obama delivers these soaring and inspiring speeches about the future of America even AS he fights in court to protect his NDAA. He promises to "take care of the little man" and the poor, even AS he breaks his neck in his haste to throw "entitlements" on the chopping block with more cuts than the Republicans asked for. Even AS he hob-nobs with Wall Street and the Oil Industry.

And, as poppajohn so astutely observes, metamorphosing into Bush Lite is NOT "Hope, Change, Transparency" etc.etc.
Obama is Political GOLD because he keeps the Left QUIET.
Sorry about what that says for us on the LEFT !
+3 # Todd Williams 2013-02-27 09:07
I guess I missed something here. I'm not sure who are the "lefties" that keep quite on RSN.
-1 # Nominae 2013-02-27 23:51
Quoting Todd Williams:
I guess I missed something here. I'm not sure who are the "lefties" that keep quite on RSN.

Two points.

1. RSN is not the entire United States.

2. How can you have possibly missed that fact that any comment that does not drip with adulation and adoration for Obama is drowned in red ink ?

No matter how accurate, no matter how well informed, if it does not reflect favorably upon their "Idol" it is thumbed down. These are the same people who were justifiably happy to scream to high Hell about Bush. But when Obama does the same things and worse - "Crickets" from much of the Left.

*Spoiler Alert* people. Obama is a politician. Obama is a human being. Obama does NOT walk on WATER !

And yet it has ever been the case that the "faithful" want to kill the voices who are willing to point out the fact that the "Emperor has no clothes".

There's a lot to love about Obama, people, but he is NOT a Savior, he's just another politician at the end of the day.

Sorry to burst so many balloons.
+26 # BradFromSalem 2013-02-26 10:57
Obama's problem is that he either believes that we are spending too much and he is just wants to be "responsible" about it. Or, and this is actually worse, he knows that we don't have spending problem and believes that the only way he can get anything past these fascist obstructionist Republicans is to meet them half way.

Whichever it is, somebody in the Democratic party has to get up and tell the truth. We may have efficiency issues that wastes money, and we may have other issues of archaic and redundant processes, but it will cost money to fix them.

The facts are out there that prove in order to effectively save and modernize you must spend first.
0 # FDRva 2013-07-08 13:44
You are being much too charitable towards a President who was always Wall Street's choice.

Maybe the 'fascist obstructionists ' also worked at the White House?

Somebody in the Democratic Party did tell the truth. And some more will. And this White House won't like it.

Do not bother troubling this tone-deaf Administration with more than that.

The McAuliffe campaign in VA may have learned its lesson. And could yet eke out a win--despite White House sabotage.
+10 # engelbach 2013-02-26 10:58
The administration has long bought into austerity economics.

I doubt that its direction can be changed. But thanks for continuing to speak out about it.
+11 # FDRva 2013-02-26 12:25
The historical irony is that Pres. Obama's 'handlers' won't let him get behind FDR's Glass-Steagall firewall between Wall Street gamblers and community banks...

But if he doesn't--his 'legacy' will look a lot like Herbert Hoover--with lots of wars & drones thrown in.

Hopefully, none of those wars goes nuclear.
0 # FDRva 2013-07-08 14:11
Add Egypt to the list. Another civil war made in the Anglo-American Intell community. (Muslim Brotherhood = British Intelligence is no shock to anyone.)

Still think the Iraq war of 1990 was about stabilizing the region?

A couple of more lies in this area gets Barack Obama impeached by his 'enemies' or conceivably even 'shot' by his 'friends.'

President Obama is a complicated man.
-9 # tonywicher 2013-02-26 10:58
Never mind the Republican lies, Professor. Those we all know. Open your eyes. Obama is a phony progressive who is in reality a Wall Street stooge. Understand what left cover is. Obama is leading the policies that are causing this depression and blaming Republicans for it. We need to return to the banking laws put in place by the Roosevelt administration in 1933 to begin to get out of this depression. The bailouts must stop. No more "too big to fail"! There is such a bill, HR 129 in the current session, with 16 co-sponsors (it has 84 in the last session). Without passage of this bill there will be no economic recovery, there will be another monumental crash. Obama has and will continue to oppose this bill. It shows exactly which side he is on. He is not a man of the people, he is a lackey of the financial oligarchy with an ethnicity that appeals to liberals. See Obama for what he is. Back HR 129 with all you've got. It's our best chance to save the country.
0 # FDRva 2013-09-20 23:17
Glass-Steagall, anyone?
-24 # HowardMH 2013-02-26 10:59
You need to change the Headline to:
Why Obama the Wimp Must Meet the Republican Lies Directly.

We can hope but so far?? I’m no fan of Sarah’s but this comment is just so appropriate. So how is that Hopei, Changie working out for you now?
-12 # tonywicher 2013-02-26 14:51
The guys that gave you the thumbs down are obviously still into it.
+31 # Wyntergreen 2013-02-26 11:06
Absolutely! It's really incredible to me that Republican lies, especially the "Job Creator, Trickle Down" fantasy still, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is blindly accepted by so much of the public. The use of "The Big Lie", saying something over and over again, no matter it's veracity and used so well by the Nazis, seems to be alive and well in our beloved country. Of course, the media are culpable as well, not willing to debunk these obvious myths, but for obvious reasons. Follow the money.
-8 # FDRva 2013-02-26 12:39
This life-long Democrat followed the money --on Illinois state Sen Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

The big lie is that Barry Obama is a progressive.

He does have a dark complexion which makes white progressive political donors prone to racial profiling-- assume he is progressive.

Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, et al got what they paid for--the Jack Lew sequester coup...
-12 # tonywicher 2013-02-26 14:34
Right! Obama is the Wall Street candidate put there to mislead progressives. Is it just the color of his skin that prevents "liberals" from seeing through him? It worked on me for a while. Not any more.
-14 # tonywicher 2013-02-26 14:46
Obama is better at lying than the Republicans. Look at how many of the people posting here he's got bamboozled!
-17 # A_Har 2013-02-26 11:14
I don't believe in the things *either party* says. The argument about counteracting the lies is bogus because the DEMS tell their supporters their own lies! How do you know if a politician is lying? His/her lips are moving.

"Change you can believe in." Yeah....sure.
-17 # tonywicher 2013-02-26 14:36
Right. Obama is a worse enemy of progress than any Republican.
-23 # Jonathan Levy 2013-02-26 11:20
This is the master thinker Berkeley has lavished with the title, "Chancellor's Professor". He pretends he has no idea Obama and the republicans are working together for big corporate to screw us over time and time again. Reich was in a position of power in the Clinton administration so is basically a mainstream democrat sycophant He promotes the false model that we actually have a debate between dems and reps in Washington and that Obama is just making mistakes or conceding innocently. Such a model does not fit what is going on yet he continues to spew forth his worthless articles under this model, which make him every bit as damaging to progressive thought as the worst republican Fox News pundit.
-14 # tonywicher 2013-02-26 14:38
You got it, buddy! Obama is a phony, and these people who gave your comment a thumbs down are dupes.
-10 # JSRaleigh 2013-02-26 11:23
Obama still thinks he's going to get a "bipartisan" pony for christmas.
-10 # Nominae 2013-02-26 13:57
Quoting JSRaleigh:
Obama still thinks he's going to get a "bipartisan" pony for christmas.

Obama hides behind this fantasy of "bipartisanship " as political cover for doing almost nothing of consequence to change the present point of Political Stasis.

This is political theatre. Posturing. Distraction and misdirection of the masses to keep them from focusing on the REAL ripoff of America being conducted by Wall Street and the International Corporations in the shadows just off stage.

And "compromise" has nothing to DO with walking into a "negotiation" and opening the bid by giving away more of the people's farm than the opposition was hoping to achieve during the FINAL offer !

Unlike W, Obama can't even pretend that he's too stupid to "get it". WE know that HE knows better. So what explanation does THAT leave ? Yeah.

How many years did Obama deliver soaring rhetoric about how Wall Street needed to brought "into check", and then walk away from the Stage arm-in-arm with Geithner ?

That's just poor stagecraft.
-21 # Vardoz 2013-02-26 11:27
This is all a charade in my opinion. I believe that Obama's using this to make himself look good. It's all about window dressing at this point.
+29 # Buddha 2013-02-26 11:28
I have a better idea, put this and the GOP "spending" hypocrisy right back on them. They are demanding domestic spending cuts? Fine, then vocally put forward a plan, using their own rhetoric, where Obama says that if we are going to cut it has to come out of those states who are receiving far more in federal spending than what they send to the federal government. So sorry that these tend to be Red States, with vocal governors like Nikki Haley. In fact, with South Carolina's "federal funding deficit", we just just cut federal spending in South Carolina down to the level where it matches federal tax revenues raised in South Carolina, it would save us almost $16B annually. Plenty of other low hanging "moocher state" fruit where we could come up with their $100B annual target easily out of their hypocritical hides. Then let's see how vociferously they call for federal spending cuts when they see them targeted at their own "moocher" states. Us in California and New York and other "provider" blue states are tired of subsidizing these "moocher" states "who won't take responsibility" (use their own language against them). We've been sending $3 to the federal government for every $2 we get back for decades, federal government spending cuts should solely be focused on those states who have been subsidized for so long. That should shut them up.
+8 # Todd Williams 2013-02-27 09:26
Great post, Buddha. I've studied these tax inequities for some time now and am aware of the red state moochers. Put the budget cuts on these states since they are the ones who scream so loudly about the deficeit. They don't like the federal money that comes from the blue states? They don't need to accept it.
+28 # Robert B 2013-02-26 11:48
You'd think, since Republicans despise everything about Europe, that they would take one look at all those austerity policies in Greece, Italy, etc., and recoil in horror. So why don't they? Austerity obviously doesn't work, in Europe or anywhere else, so why would they want it here? Do they really want to turn the U.S. into Greece just to make Obama look bad?
+15 # Nominae 2013-02-26 14:05
Quoting Robert B:
You'd think, since Republicans despise everything about Europe, that they would take one look at all those austerity policies in Greece, Italy, etc., and recoil in horror. So why don't they? Austerity obviously doesn't work, in Europe or anywhere else, so why would they want it here? Do they really want to turn the U.S. into Greece just to make Obama look bad?

You are correct. Austerity does NOT work for the general population OR for the National Economies, but it works like GANGBUSTERS for the banking industries ........... you were asking "why don't they ignore austerity programs in Europe?"
Professional jealousy, sir, professional jealousy !

A continuation of the plan to rob the underclasses totally dry.
Let's see the public try to revolt when they are weak from hunger and can't afford the gas to get to the protest.
-15 # tonywicher 2013-02-26 14:41
Yes, but Obama is the biggest austerity candidate, the one who can get so-called progressives to vote for austerity measures called "compromises" which are nothing but sell-outs.
-4 # Todd Williams 2013-02-27 09:28
Of course the T-baggers know what goes on in Eurpoe. They don't like "socialist moochers" in Eurpoe any more than they like them here. Equal hatred is their motto.
+5 # geraldom 2013-02-26 11:49
If Obama is sincere about preventing any cuts from the entitlements in this country, cuts that would have a detrimental effect on the most vulnerable of us, then he would first have to grow a spine, a backbone in order to standup to the baldfaced Republican lies, something I doubt would happen.

If he isn't sincere about protecting the entitlements, and is just giving us lip-service to give us those warm and fuzzy (good) feelings as he has done in the past, then nothing we say or do will make any difference, will it?
-14 # tonywicher 2013-02-26 14:41
Yeah, we can dump him starting now.
+6 # Todd Williams 2013-02-27 09:31
Dump him starting now? Just what in the hell does that mean? Think before posting such drivel.
-2 # tonywicher 2013-02-28 10:50
Think before voting for Obama again. Oh that's right, it's too late.
+10 # FDRva 2013-02-26 12:04
A cogent analysis. I could not agree more with Bob's critique of Wall Street/GOP austerity economics.

Consider, though, the possibility that Obama's failure to challenge the validity of Wall Street's austerity schemes suggests he agrees with them.

The President's promotion of Goldman Sachs' Jack Lew--the inventor of 'government on Wall Street auto-pilot' aka the 'sequester' reinforces the point.

Fool me once shame on you...

I think we are in fool me twice territory on this one.
+19 # fredboy 2013-02-26 12:15
On target. Being dainty and polite no longer cuts it when dealing with blatant liars. Put the nation first, courtesy second. They could care less about courtesy and only see it as weakness.
+17 # tbcrawford 2013-02-26 12:24
Watch the DVD "Heist" if you want to understand the explicit plan to destroy the "American Dream". The plan, outlined by Justice Powell, sponsored by Chambers of Commerce and Business Round Tables covering for corporate power, it has all but succeeded. Obama doesn't seem motivated to reverse this destructive reality. I fear most of us have our heads in the sand. Thank you Prof. Reich for your motivating anger and clear insight. I just hope you are correct about Obama.
+10 # brux 2013-02-26 12:46
Right again Robert Reich!
+11 # MylesJ 2013-02-26 12:53
Obama is playing the long game. He will keep being reasonable while putting up things that make the tea party see red and keep them spouting until the mid-terms. I agree with Reich what needs to be done. I think we will see that next summer if the GOP does not find a way to co-operate before then.

Boehner seems to be the only one that has internalized this but is unable to do anything about it.
-1 # brux 2013-02-26 13:54
> Obama is playing the long game.

That's absurd, he has less than 4 years, there is no point in pretending any long game can go past his second term, and at his rate of action that time will be wasted for all of us, the country and the world.

I think it is more likely Obama is playing a stalling game, the corporatocracy government will fritter and putz about until anyone with any political consciousness is long dead and gone at which point they can just become like the Chinese government, and then we'll have peace on Earth, and we can all practice Chinese and living like rats and working our lives away and being tossed out like garbage in the streets when we no longer have any usefulness to the ownership class.
+16 # Schelin 2013-02-26 13:24
I have long respected Robert Reich's opinions, after all he was directly involved in developing our nation's only budget surplus in the last 40 years. And he certainly has more knowledge about the workings of our Capital than the people who post on this site
+11 # mikeandnettie 2013-02-26 15:07
I second this opinion.
-18 # tonywicher 2013-02-26 16:44
I unsecond it
+4 # Todd Williams 2013-02-27 09:33
I second the second!
+4 # m... 2013-02-26 20:28
I think the majority of voters who voted for Obama again did so because, in America, We the People continue to go along with a two party system and thus, keep leaving ourselves with little choice of candidates beyond our Corporate-Lobby -Run, Two Dysfunctional Parties that have successfully locked out all other Political Parties from our supposed Democratic System (ask yourselves why the only place in the entire world to show the AMERICAN Third Party Debate hosted by Larry King was Al Jazeera).
So, without any other real choice, WE are left to choose between what is often labeled as the lesser of two evils. Obama won the 'lesser of two evils' vote.
I'm more happy about that than not. However, he is who he is, not who we dream of him to be, even as he surely must know by now what the DREAM of the MAJORITY is, and, that we hope and even pray to see our dream of 'Obama The Leader' appear before his limited number of effective days as President tick by.
But so far, what we saw during his first term is mostly what we are still getting from him. The Mediator-Orator Obama seems to reign over any kind of Bold-Leader-Ris k-Taking Obama who would trust the leadership-crav ing American People to back him up when it comes to 'LEADING' in Corpo-Twilight- Zone Washington, a place which might as well set up shop on Mars considering its lack of connection to National Reality or any cerebral-emotio nal connection to what 'The Greater Good' actually means.
0 # flippancy 2013-02-27 15:54
Truew enough, but in this case the difference was like the difference between the local brat and Satan.
+1 # flippancy 2013-02-27 15:58
Seems we have a lot of people here who DO believe in making the good the enemy of the perfect.

If Obama operated in a vacuum he might meet your pie in the sky expectations, but he has to try to get something instead of nothing and he has to work with the most treasonous anti-American stumblebum obstructionists in our history.
0 # m... 2013-02-27 17:24
'Pie in the Sky Expectations'...??????????

I think not.
-3 # tonywicher 2013-02-28 10:09
Obama is not "the good". He's not even "the lesser of two evils". He's just plain bad. He is a liar and a deceiver. He is continuing and extending the Bush policies, and even after four years he is getting liberals to follow him. At least if it were Bush they would know better. Oh well, I guess we will have to wait for Jeb Bush in 2016 for that.
+8 # Rick Levy 2013-02-27 00:25
Reich and Paul Krugman keep pounding home the message that it's not the deficit but unemployment, underemployment , and lousy wages that are crippling the economy. And the truth of of this position is blatantly obvious. Are we in for still another term of bailing out the haves and telling the middle class to eat cake?
0 # tonywicher 2013-02-28 10:16
Obama is a total lackey of the ruling class. He is not a man of the people. He will do anything they want, and then tell you it's all the Republican's fault. You can bet your bottom dollar, if you still have one, that he will continue to support policies that bail out Wall Street and screw everybody else.
+2 # flippancy 2013-02-27 15:53
"Every high income earner pays more if they sell stocks or their house or die."

Perhaps in actual dollars, but at a lower rate. And every millionaire probably pays lower taxes percentage wise than you do.

Rombney paid 14%, I paid 34%. He made 200 times as much money as I did. So, yes he paid more dollars, but nowhere what he should have. The top marginal rate needs to go back over 70% and stay there forever. And capital gains needs to carry the highest rate, not the lowest. An exception could be made for those investing in startup companies so that investment capital remains available, but when the investment is paid off the rates should revert to 70%+
-2 # tonywicher 2013-02-27 19:14
The solution to our economic problems is as follows:(1) Restore the full Glass-Steagall Banking Act of 1933 with HR 129 (currently has 29 co-sponsors and rapidly growing) and (2) re-establish the American System of political economy with the following proposed legislation:
0 # bruceMajors4DC 2013-05-17 19:10
Since the IRS engaged in years of voter suppression, Obama's regime is as illegitimate as he is.
0 # FDRva 2013-07-08 12:21
What a shame an FDR Dem was not on the November 2012 presidential ballot--but a Cheney Democrat was. I refer to Barry 'NSA' Obama. Many voters were not pleased.

How ironic that both GOP base voters--and Dem base voters--as polled detest both their party 'leaderships...'

Who exactly made the 'party leaders' leaders?

Wall Street money is the short answer.

The long answer makes the President look even worse.

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