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Saturday, August 8, 2009

I want President Barack Obama to be successful, but his economic policies ....

Let me first say, I want President Barack Obama to be successful. But his thoughts about that we may have passed worst of the recession are not in keeping with our American Reality. The fact of the matter is Obama's Sinking Approval Ratings Are Even Worse Than They Look. The bottom line is Obama's honeymoon is over.


AAPP: Right now his policies are similar to George W. Bush.

He continues to prop up failing corporations spending your tax payer money. Now we learn Fannie Mae plans to tap $11 billion in new government aid after posting another massive quarterly loss as the taxpayer bill from the housing market bust keeps growing. As reported by Yahoo News and Associated Press,
The mounting price tag for the rescue of Fannie and its goverment-sponsored sibling, Freddie Mac, is surpassed only by insurer American International Group Inc., which has received $182.5 billion in financial support from the government so far.

Fannie Mae's new request for $10.7 billion from the Treasury Department will bring the total for Fannie and Freddie to nearly $96 billion. Freddie is expected to report its quarterly results on Friday.

The government has pledged up to $400 billion in aid for the two companies, which play a vital role in the mortgage market by purchasing loans from banks and selling them to investors. They have been under government control since last September, when their near-collapse helped set off the financial crisis.

Together, Washington-based Fannie and McLean, Va.-based Freddie own or guarantee almost 31 million home loans worth about $5.4 trillion. That's about half of all U.S home mortgages. More HERE

AAPP: Someone called some of Barack Obama's policies “crackpot economics.” I agree. From giving AIG to the cash for clunkers program, the Obama economic policies generally are as bad as George Bush himself.

As Timothy Egan noted in his recent blog post, "Then there is the American International Group, the pariah A.I.G., now being kept afloat by the taxpayers to the tune of nearly $180 billion. This money from us to them didn’t sell any cars. It didn’t improve gas mileage. It didn’t help neighborhood businesses. It went to fortify an insurance giant that made terrible bets on complex securities and then threatened to bring us all down with them." More HERE

AAPP says: I guess you can call me a black liberal on social issues, who has conservative thoughts on how to spend tax payer money.

As John B. Judis noted in his article, Lost at Sea, The Obama administration is increasingly being compared to the Carter and Clinton administrations--and the comparisons are not meant to be favorable. Both of those earlier administrations stumbled seriously during their first two years, with dire consequences for their legislative agenda and for their party.

I expect, and hope, that Barack Obama will avoid this fate. Obama has surrounded himself with people far more savvy in the ways of Washington than Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton initially did. (You get bonus points for remembering the name of Clinton's first chief of staff.) Obama has certainly learned from their failures, and so have the Democrats in Congress, who under Nancy Pelosi have a tougher and more capable leader than the Democrats had in 1993. Still, there is a similarity between the two past administrations and the Obama administration that could signal trouble ahead.

Each of these administrations came into office, along with Democratic majorities in Congress, pledging to pass legislation that would affect the distribution of wealth and (even more important) power between the corporate/financial sector and the rest of America. The Democratic administrations championed what you could call "class legislation," and by doing so, they set off a class struggle that they lost.

Here is a rundown of some of the class legislation that the prior administrations sponsored. Carter and the Democrats favored redistributive tax reform, public campaign financing, a consumer protection agency (that Ralph Nader had long championed), and labor law reform. Clinton and the Democrats had a shorter list of this kind of legislation. It included increased funding for regulatory agencies and limits on executive compensation--but right at the top was national health insurance reform. Clinton's health bill would have benefited some corporations, but it would have curtailed the prerogatives and very possibly the profits of private insurance companies, and it would have forced large companies that didn't offer health insurance to do so.

A powerful new coalition of Republican conservatives and business groups, including the newly formed Business Roundtable, opposed Carter's measures. As I described in my book, The Paradox of American Democracy, they brought pressure not only on politicians, but also on the media, including The Washington Post, which reversed its support for the consumer protection agency. Carter got none of this legislation through Congress. And in 1978, the weakened Democrats performed poorly at the polls, setting the stage for the rout of 1980.

Clinton didn't fare much better. He got some of his regulatory funding increases through Congress, but they were rescinded by the Republicans who took over Congress in November 1994. Most importantly, the Republican-business coalition that had destroyed Carter's agenda made sure that Clinton's health care bill never even made it to the floor for a vote. Clinton was re-elected in 1996, but it was a different Bill Clinton. Chastened by defeat, he moved to the "center," which in this case meant that he did not offer any legislation that threatened people and companies at the pinnacles of power.

The Obama administration has already had its share of legislative successes. But these successes, such as the passage of the stimulus program, have not included legislation that threatens class power and wealth. More HERE

AAPP: I clearly understand why President Barack Obama's approval rating down to 50 percent.

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