Barack Obama hasn’t reached that point yet. But it wouldn’t take very much.
All he has to do is to go along with his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and he’ll drive us into a full-fledged depression with an increasingly shredded social safety net and a deeper hole to dig out of because the automatic stabilizers that both cause much of the "good deficits" we are now experiencing and contribute mightily to ending recessions will have gone the way of the safety net.
When the President was running for his present office, he assured us that he understood economics. What he failed to tell us was that the kind of economics he understood was the same kind of intellectually bankrupt form of neo-liberal economics that John McCain favored, and that has brought us increasing inequality for the past 40 years, the recent crash of 2008, and now the bank bailouts and outrageous Wall Street feasting and screwing of Main Street that we are seeing in 2009 and 2010.
That neo-liberalism commands that the global market run things, at the expense of national domestic economies, and in conflict with the desires of national politicians. Because neo-liberals wish to act as if they are still on the gold standard, they are now advocating austerity all over the world and trying to create a global economic system in which consumption power will be driven down, while neo-liberal global elites remain free to receive huge gains from unregulated international trading that, in the end, loots national currencies and imposes even more austerity on regular folks.
Obama’s National Commission has been called “The Catfood Commission” by Jane Hamsher and others because, if implemented, its recommendations will drive a lot of us into a grinding poverty, while it ruins the productive capacity of this and other nations. There’s not a hair’s breadth worth of difference between their likely recommendations and the rampant Hooverism expressed by people like Judd Gregg, Mike Pence, Evan Bayh, and the whole cast of Congressional ne’er do wells who have sold out to corporatism and who do little more than defend those interests in Congress, while they consume the bribes they’ve accepted over the years from big business.
For the sake of Obama’s legacy, as well as for our own sakes, we have to get this guy to wake up to his economic stupidity, get rid of corrupt advisers like Larry Summers and Tim Geithner, bring in people like Jamie Galbraith and L. Randall Wray, and come to understand that if non-Government spending shrinks, further money is bled out of the economy by trade deficits, and the savings propensity of people rise because, they are, understandably, frightened; then there are only two alternatives. Either Government spending must increase to boost private savings and aggregate demand; or the economy will shrink, poverty and unemployment will grow and the futures of regular people will be destroyed. We did not elect Obama to be “The Catfood for All” President, or even to be the “Catfood for Most” President. We elected him to give us a second New Deal. It’s way past time he threw the corporates under the bus, and started doing that.