AFRICANGLOBE – When Barack Obama leaves the White House in January 2017, what will Black America, his earliest and most consistent supporters, have to show for making his political career possible? We’ll have the T-shirts and buttons and posters, the souvenirs. That will be the good news. The bad news is what else we’ll have…. and not.
To hear our Black political class tell it, the election of the first Black US president was its ultimate achievement to date, a giant step toward fulfillment of a previous generation’s insurgent agenda for social transformation. Is that real? Has the career of Barack Hussein Obama really advanced any of the historic goals of the Freedom Movement? Is the question even fair?
With corporate media already speculating about next year’s midterm elections, and the presidential contest of 2016, it’s entirely appropriate to discuss the president’s legacy. And fair is fair — the Black political class doesn’t want its meager achievements compared to the agenda of those who fought for our freedom a half century ago, it probably ought to abandon its ceaseless self-promotion as the inheritors of that tradition.
It was the overwhelming Black and brown vote, along with the utter, unwavering and uncritical support of African America which made President Obama’s career possible. When he leaves office in January 2017, what will be the top ten things we can say Black America gained or lost from his two terms in the White House?
10. We’ll still have Obamacare, the cynically misnamed “Affordable Care Act”.
The problem is that Obamacare was written by a health insurance company lobbyist to prolong his employer’s parasitic business model, not to make health care available or affordable. A third of the health care dollar goes to advertising, profits, fat executive salaries, lobbying and the paperwork occasioned by thousands of insurers who make more money denying care than providing it, instead of a single payer, like Canada, Medicare, or Social Security. As Physicians for a National Health Plan point out, Obamacare will not curb medical costs or stem the tide of bankruptcies caused by health care bills. It won’t force most employers who now don’t offer affordable coverage to offer it in the future, because the administration is allowing employers to write its enforcement regulations, and it will leave millions more, all poor and disproportionately ethnic minorities, uncovered altogether.
Worst of all, Obamacare’s 2016 effective date reveals it as a promise the administration never intended to keep. Back in 1965, when computers with less power than today’s laptops were the size of boxcars, the Johnson administration passed Medicare and put it into effect the same year. That’s the real comparison between the achievement of Obamacare and the effective results of a previous generation’s struggle.
9. We’ll probably have reductions in Social Security proposed and enacted by a Democrat, something no Republican could have initiated, that sets the stage for further reductions in benefit by either party.
In the tradition of Democrat Bill Clinton, who did what Republicans tried and failed to do, “ending welfare as we know it” in the 1990s, Barack Obama has promised Wall Street that he would curb “entitlements” the code word for cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
With poverty at record levels, the ending of many defined benefit pension plans and the broken promise of retirement security from 401K plans looming Black seniors will still be more dependent on Social Security than anybody, and the value of real benefits will be declining, if Barack’s first negotiating offer to Republicans is any indication of his stance on this issue.
8. We’ll have solidly in place a new tradition of bailing out banksters and speculators, and lots more immunity from prosecution for corporate scofflaws.
The so-called “Bush bailout” was only accomplished when George W. Bush in the last weeks of his presidency, and opposed by Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress called candidate Barack Obama to Washington to persuade reluctant Democrats to vote for it. After failing to pass the first time, Obama swung half the Black caucus and enough Democrats overall to secure the passage of the $3 trillion Bush bailout. Once Obama assumed office, the $3 trillion became $16 trillion, with a free pass for the Federal Reserve to shovel more public money at Wall Street at will.
And for corporate lawbreakers, whether you were Goldman Sachs, knowingly peddling worthless securities to pension funds, or Bank of America, which foreclosing and evicting tens of thousands in cases where it couldn’t prove actual ownership, a phone, cable or internet provider handing over access to billions of calls and emails, or British Petroleum, murdering its Gulf Coast ecosystems, livelihoods and its own workers, the Obama administration’s Justice Department has come up with infinitesimal fines and immunity from prosecution for past and future crimes as the answer.[/sociallocker]