Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Drifting Rightward

In yet another instance of the rightward drift of a campaign that began much further from ‘reformist’ or ‘progressive’ than many of its followers would like to admit, Obama recently embraced a whole slew of conservative assumptions about tax policy.

In the recent statement, Obama said he would “delay rescinding President Bush’s tax cuts on wealthy Americans if the economy is a recession”, because doing so would “further hurt the economy.”

What should ‘progressive’ Obama supporters giddy about ‘change’ take from this statement? The simple, often-repeated neoliberal dogma that: Tax cuts always create growth and tax increases hurt the economy. Reagan, Norquist and Gingrich couldn’t have put it better themselves. Way to totally undermine the rationale for having taxes at all.

In the same statement, Obama went on to assure us that “even if we’re still in a recession, I’m going to go through with my tax cuts…that’s my priority”. Because remember: we can’t talk about how to go about funding irrelevant things like health care, social security, education, national infrastructure, natural disaster relief, etc. The only thing to do is to inject the private sector with some ‘dynamism’ and to find ways to ‘give people’s money back to them’… i.e. regurgitate the policy of the Bush Administration.

Now try this one out. Who said this: “We can get this economy back on its feet… get it going again. Don’t raise their taxes. Americans are hurting in a way that they have not hurt for a long time”… Obama or McCain?

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