Exclusive to STR
April 8, 2009
Dear Supporters of Barack Obama, You presented Mr. Obama as the candidate of change. You attached that word to his face and plastered it across the country.
Change We Can Believe In. Change From Day
1. The Candidate of Change. It's time for Change in America .
On election night, you announced to the world that "Change has come to America ." You hijacked Google so that the first search result for "Change" led to Obama's change.gov web site. America responded. Clearly, the country was in the mood for change. Bush left office with dismal polling numbers, some of the worst ever, and Obama's victory was decisive. Not only did your guy win the White House, but his party locked in a solid majority in both houses of Congress. The first quarter of Obama's first fiscal year is now closing.
1. How much change has Obama brought to America ?
His first major decision was announced before he was sworn in. The country was in the throes of the worst economic firestorm in a century, and the markets demanded to know who would be the new Treasury secretary. The candidate of change chose the man who constructed all the corporate bailouts of the Bush Administration. I remember when that decision was announced, I couldn't help but think:
2. Who might McCain have chosen as his Treasury secretary? and...
3. If Bush were given a third term, what role might Timothy Geithner have played in it?
I suppose it's acceptable to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. The country was panicked, and maybe we can only take so much change all at once. So the candidate of change chose the same Treasury Secretary his opponent would have picked, so what? But now that Geithner has rolled out the centerpiece of the Obama recovery plan in the bank rescue program, I must ask you:.
4. Were you expecting Obama's financial rescue program to be the same one proposed by the Bush Administration last fall?
Alternately we could phrase that one, "Were you expecting Obama's financial rescue program to be the same one first proposed by the Bush Administration, only later to be scrapped when they realized it was a big fiasco?" Here's the Obama Administration rescue plan in 20 words: The Federal Reserve finances hedge funds as they buy stuff the banks don't want and the FDIC covers their losses. This leads to Question Five.
5. When you voted for him, did you think Obama would propose and oversee the biggest piece of fascist corporatism in American history?
You hated the connection between Bush and Big Oil. You salivated over the day when one of your own would take office and tell those bigshot corporate execs what's what. But your guy just gave a trillion dollar gift to the bankers who drove their companies off the cliff and took the global economy with them. He put together a complicated scheme where the taxpayer ensures that neither the stakeholders in the insolvent banks nor the wealthiest institutional investors have to take a loss. In his inauguration address, Obama scolded Bush for "transferring wealth to the wealthy." With the Geithner rescue plan, Obama is overseeing just such a transfer, but on the biggest, most brazen scale ever attempted. This is more than one of those "tax cuts for the wealthy" that you hate so much. Obama's plan is a tax on all future Americans to give a trillion dollars now to the stakeholders in Citigroup and Bank of America, and to protect the wealthy investors who are given insider access to this latest scheme. And this scheme is being rolled out after the trillion dollar stimulus giveaway, after the Fed's various trillion dollar injections into the insolvent banking system, after TARP I. Even before the Obama bank rescue was unveiled, the government had already poured enough money into the economy to pay off every home mortgage loan in the United States . (1 ) With the latest round of rescues, the government is giving out enough money to pay off everyone's mortgage and buy them a new car (from a bankrupt automaker, of course ' we can't forget the Buy American clause of the stimulus!). The bulk of this giveaway is going to the biggest, most bankrupt financial institutions...on extremely favorable terms. This leads to Question Six.
6. Why is Obama giving even better deals to the financial tycoons than they got under Bush?
We've had four AIG bailouts come to pass since September, each on increasingly worse terms for the taxpayer. Bush/Paulson engineered the early bailouts for Citigroup and Bank of America, and they were bad, but not nearly as bad as Obama's Citigroup bailout, where government-owned preferred stock was converted to common stock at higher than market price (a super sweet deal for Citigroup). The convertible preferred bank shares that the Treasury will buy under the latest plan will give all the upside to the banks, not the government. All this makes me wonder...
7. Is the Obama Administration in the pockets of the big banks, or are they just getting rolled?
I suspect it's more the latter than the former, but it's just a feeling I have. Not that any of this is mine to answer for. I didn't vote for Obama. I didn't vote for anyone. For me, the question of whether or not to vote was determined less by all this red ink on Wall Street, and more by the real blood in The Middle East. Those of us who are serious about peace understand that we can't vote for someone who talks out of both sides of his mouth on the all-important issue of waging war. But all you Obamacons insisted that we needed him in office, if for no other reason than to get rid of the neocons who initiated two simultaneous wars in The Middle East. So....
8. Are you sad that Obama is escalating our wars overseas?
Hidden in his super mammoth budget is a huge increase in defense spending. Obama wants to spend 2 percent more in the next fiscal year than President Bush allocated, and 9 percent more than we spent last year. (2 ) The bulk of this increase is in Afghanistan, where even Time Magazine can't help but notice that the Obama plan is very reminiscent of something else we've heard'.
9. Are you excited that Obama has initiated a "Surge" of his own?
Shortly after taking office, Obama announced he'd add 17,000 troops to the 36,000 already in Afghanistan . A few weeks later, he made a surprise second announcement that he was sending 17,000 more. And more troops is just what he announced. In addition to the soldiers and civilians, Obama is also overseeing enormous growth in the number of private military contractors set to operate in Afghanistan . (3 ) An army of mercenaries, a quagmire of a war with no exit strategy, even a Surge -- it doesn't sound terribly different from what we've been getting. Gee...
10. Who is Obama's Defense Secretary?
Oh yeah, the same one who served under Bush. Obama supporters, you got everything you wanted on Election Night. Obama won big, the Democrats won big in Congress, the Democrats cleaned up at the state level. But the only change you got was even more of what you hate. An escalation in our wars overseas, blatant, disgusting government windfalls for the wealthiest Americans, and an overwhelming sense that a group of oligarchs have partnered with the President to enrich themselves at everyone else's expense. May I humbly suggest to you all that next time you consider a different approach? Don't vote. That would be a change I can believe in.