Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 14, 2012

Republican Democrats

Filed under: Obama — louisproyect @ 10:13 pm


An article written for Overland Magazine in Australia:

Republican Democrats
The real Barack Obama

by Louis Proyect

Ruling out unforeseen catastrophes, it is likely that Barack Obama will enjoy a second term. The scenario playing out is fairly close to the two-term Clinton presidency, another centre-clinging project that – in the fashion of Nixon’s famous trip to China – achieved traditional Republican goals as only a Democrat could. While Clinton could be ‘credited’ for a welfare reform that left single mothers vulnerable to marketplace vicissitudes, Obama’s ambitions are far greater: he is laying the groundwork for abandoning the New Deal-type safety net in the name of ‘reform’, even if his most ardent and self-deceiving supporters continue to hold out hope that he will live up to his promises.

The liberal establishment in the United States is having a tough time rallying the troops in this election cycle, however. In 2008 there were fond hopes that Obama could usher in a new New Deal to put the unemployed millions back to work, revive the American economy through a massive investment in green energy sources, and re-regulate an out-of-control financial industry.

It did not take long for these illusions to be smashed by the appointment of a number of former Goldman Sachs employees as economic advisors. Of course, those who studied the New Deal, rather than relying on the myths about it, understood that FDR started out by accommodating the rich. One of his first major pieces of legislation was the Economy Act of 1933, which cut federal spending by $243 million (equal to $4.2 billion today). When First World War veterans learned that their benefits had been sacrificed at the altar of fiscal responsibility, they rallied in Washington in the same spirit as those who occupy Wall Street today. Roosevelt only sponsored genuine reforms after the working class threatened to go beyond the boundaries of private property.

full: http://overland.org.au/previous-issues/issue-207/feature-louis-proyect/

1 Comment »

  1. only part of this i’d modify would be that the ‘illusions’ of a new new deal couldn’t be meaningfully sustained after o’s short stint as us senator, and did not need to await his presidency and appointment of Goldman-sachs people. his senate career established his financial outlook definitively.

    Comment by jp — July 16, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

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