President Obama's Budget
By Monroe Anderson
So just when America’s richest of the rich was uncorking the champagne and gorging themselves on imported caviar, it looks like the Commander-in-Chief has declared that the Class War is on again.
The opening volley was fired 35 years ago with what George H.W. Bush accurately described as “voodoo economics.” Since then, this nation’s super wealthy have been getting super wealthier, much of the middle class has been getting poor and the poor have been getting super poor.
A study in October by economists, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, reported that the share of the total income earned by America’s top one percent at the end of 2012 was 22 percent. Back in the late ‘70s, before Reaganomics and it’s trickle down theory, the share of earnings by top one percent was less than 10 percent.
Sticking to his “a rising tide lifts all boats” manner of governing, there was little in President Barack Obama’s proposed annual budget that would pointedly give financially strapped Blacks much hope.
There was no direct budgetary lifeline to the 11.4 percent of African Americans nationwide who are still unemployed and nothing straight up for the 25 percent of Black Chicagoans who are also in that same boat, either.
And, once again, there is no targeted help from the man who assiduously stays in character as all the people’s president--so much so, that some might accuse the nation’s first Black head of household at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with periodically doing back flips to assure those Americans who suffer from negrophobia that he is not practicing negrophilia.
But while there was not enough in the president’s $4 trillion budget proposal to trigger right-winger’s whining about preferential treatment for Blacks and other “takers,” there was more than enough fair share tax proposals aimed at the “makers” for Republicans to pronounce it DOA.
Without openly saying that he really wants to spread the wealth, the president said, “I want to work with Congress to replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America.”
He also let Republicans know that he wanted to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and that he did not want to spend more on financing the military-industrial complex unless conservatives were willing to spend more on domestic programs that repair rungs on the economic ladder and expand the safety networks for those who have fallen on hard times.
President Obama is shooting for a national debate on whether we should be growing our middle class or allowing our fat cats to get fatter.
Monday’s budget was aimed at kick-starting the debate. Items on President Obama’s wish list included calls for laying a tax on the banks too big to fail, raising of the capital gains tax, limiting of corporate tax deductions, imposing a new tax on inheritances and taxing of overseas profits held abroad.
Although it is ostensibly a budget for 2016, it is also a game plan for next year’s presidential and congressional elections, meant to serve as the playbook for a consistent message for all Democratic candidates. It’s a rerun of Bill Clinton’s successful message that “it’s the economy, stupid.”
As soon as the president released his blueprint, the conservative talking points flew into action fast and furious.
“We’re six years into the Obama economic policies, and he’s proposing more of the same, more tax increases that kill investment and jobs, and policies which are hardly aspirational,” said Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the GOP’s go-to guy on keeping it all for the Superrich. “I think the President is trying to do here is to, again, exploit envy economics. This top-down redistribution doesn’t work.”
“Like the president’s previous budgets, this plan never balances – ever,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “It contains no solutions to address the drivers of our debt, and no plan to fix our entire tax code to help foster growth and create jobs.”
Echoed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “What we saw this morning was another top-down, backward-looking document that caters to powerful political bosses on the Left and never balances — ever.”
Never ever allowing an opportunity to blame it on Obama, Republicans didn’t miss a beat.
According to a Pew Research Center’s report released in 2012, the average Black household wealth fell by more than half, to $5,677, while white household wealth fell 16 percent to $113, 149 between 2005 and 2009. That was during the Bush years, right before the Obama administration.
But the actual beginning the decline in Black household wealth meant nothing to Republican Donald Trump, who has not yet concluded that Obama was not born in Kenya.
“People are having a much lower income right now than when he took office. I mean, that to me is a really terrible statistic and if you happen to be African-American, it’s a total disaster. So what has President Obama done for African-Americans?” asked Trump. “Nothing.”
Well said by one of those one percenters.