Monday, November 29, 2010

American Politics 2010: Playing Infantile Games With Our Future Instead of Addressing Social and Economic Reality


This is still more bullshit political gamesmanship and time diverting antics by President Obama masquerading as a honest and forthright attempt to address the red herring issue of "deficit spending" (which is now nothing more than a demagogic code phrase used by the wildly profligate and irresponsible Republican hypocrites in Congress who under the super corporate regime of Bushwhacker 2 was responsible for the largest increase in the federal deficit in the entire history of the United States!). The reason that the issue of the deficit is fundamentally a red herring and thus largely a manufactured political crisis at this point is not that there isn't a major problem with the federal budget being seriously out of whack economically as a direct result of a decade of massive tax cuts for the rich, virtually no legal or governmental regulation at all of Wall Street and the general financial sector of the economy, and a stubbornly insistent and steadfast refusal on the part of the Bush rightwing federal government and the private corporate sector to properly invest in education, health care reform, labor protection, social and economic infrastructure, a sound and progressive energy policy, real climate control, and a genuinely strong and effective environmental protection policy. Clearly all these things and more have thus contributed to the huge growth of a clearly untenable and absolutely unsustainable budgetary mess that MUST be addressed in a serious and responsible manner by the government at some point...

So NO the reason that the issue of "deficit spending" is a political red herring is NOT that major reform and real "change" is not needed to bring the government's and the larger economy's house in order. No. The reason is that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want to do what is really necessary to fundamentally improve and transform the economy and the general society in the progressive direction of a far more just, fair, democratic, and equitable system than what currently exists. That would require that the wealthy elites and elected political representatives of every branch of government be held directly accountable and responsible on a political, ethical, economic and ideological scale that was unprecedented in American history. You know--actual social and economic Democracy instead of the criminally corrupt Plutocracy that currently dominates and controls our political and economic system...

Meanwhile President Obama and the two major political parties keep playing an irresponsible, time wasting, very dangerous, and ultimately lethal cat-and-mouse game of brinksmanship to see who blinks first in public from the self serving standpoint of the 2012 electoral sweepstakes. What all this grandstanding (and especially among the Republicans and their demented "Tea Party" cohorts) petty vindictive tactics really means is that NOTHING important, substantive, real, necessary, or useful will emerge from either major political party to solve or seriously address any of the many major problems and crises facing the American people in general and especially the poor, working, and lower middle class who constitute the overwhelming majority of those citizens being ravaged and destroyed by the current economy and civil society...


Obama to Freeze Pay for Most Federal Workers
November 29, 2010
New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to announce a two-year pay freeze for civilian federal workers on Monday in his latest move intended to demonstrate concern over sky-high deficit spending.

The president’s proposal will effectively wipe out plans for a 1.4 percent across-the-board raise in 2011 for 2.1 million civilian federal government employees, including those working at the Defense Department, but the freeze would not affect the nation’s uniformed military personnel. The president has frozen the salaries of his own top White House staff members since taking office 22 months ago.

“Clearly this is a difficult decision,” said Jeffrey Zients, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget and the government’s chief performance officer. “Federal workers are hard-working and dedicated.” But given the deficit, Mr. Zients added, “we believe this is the first of many difficult steps ahead.”

The pay freeze will save $2 billion in the current fiscal year that ends in September 2011, $28 billion over five years and more than $60 billion over 10 years, officials said. That represents just a tiny dent in a $1.3 trillion annual deficit, but it offers a symbolic gesture toward public anger over unemployment, the anemic economic recovery and rising national debt.

Mr. Zients said the president planned to announce the plan on Monday because of an approaching legal deadline for submitting a pay plan to Congress. But by doing it now, the president also effectively gets ahead of Republicans who have been talking about making such a move once they take over the House, and assume more seats in the Senate, in January. Some Republicans have gone further, proposing to slash federal worker salaries.

The number of federal workers making more than $150,000 a year has grown 10-fold in the last five years and doubled since Mr. Obama took office, according to a USA Today study this month. Since 2000, federal pay and benefits have increased 3 percent annually above inflation, compared with 0.8 percent for private sector workers, according to data cited by the newspaper.

This is not the first time Mr. Obama has addressed government pay to make a political point. In addition to freezing the salaries of top White House staff members when he took office, he later extended that freeze to political appointees throughout the government and canceled their bonuses.

The chairmen of a fiscal commission appointed by Mr. Obama have proposed a three-year freeze for federal employees in a draft report. The commission is supposed to issue a final report by Wednesday.