Sunday, March 01, 2009

Progressive Obama emerges from his centrist shell

... and I for one, rejoice. This is why I gave up my weekends to knock on (sometimes hostile) strangers' doors from September through November 2. Was I worried? You betcha. Why wasn't Joseph Stieglitz and Paul Krugman, both Nobel Prize winners for economics, invited to his economic adviser table along with tired Clintonistas like Larry Summers and Robert Rubin? Robert Rubin?!?!?!? The guy who Marketwatch called one of "ten most unethical people in business," who has profited greatly from policies he enacted while Clinton's Secretary of the Treasury?

So, what is the reason for my (cautious) optimism? It is the following components of his budget, unvieled last week:


  • Makes a $634 billion down payment on fixing health care that will go a long way toward paying for a more efficient, more affordable health care system that covers every single American.3

  • Reduces taxes for 95% of working Americans. And if your family makes less than $250,000, your taxes won't go up one dime.4

  • Invests more than $100 billion in clean energy technology, creating millions of green jobs that can never be outsourced.5
  • Brings our troops home from Iraq on a firm timetable, finally bringing the war to a close—and freeing up almost ten billion dollars a month for domestic priorities.6

  • Reverses growing income inequality. The plan lets the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire and focuses on strengthening the middle class.7

  • Closes multi-billion-dollar tax loopholes for big oil companies. 8

  • Increases grants to help families pay for college—the largest increase ever.9

  • Halves the deficit by 2013. President Obama inherited a legacy of huge deficits and an economy in shambles, but his plan brings the deficit under control as soon as the economy begins to recover.10

  • Dramatically increases funding for the SEC and the CFTC—the agencies that police Wall Street.11

  • Tells it straight. For years, budgets have used accounting tricks to hide the real costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush tax cuts, and too many other programs. Obama's budget gets rid of the smokescreens and lays out what America's priorities are, what they cost, and how we're going to pay for them.12

  • Now, how do we know these are proposals on the right track. Well, the corporate interests affected by each of these budgetary items are already amassing huge lobbying efforts to defeat them, the surest sign that the peoples' interests just may be served by the Obama administration.

    There's more:
    1. Stops unnecessary government subsidies to big banks, health insurance companies and big agribusinesses.13,14,15
    2. Expands access to early childhood education and improves schools by investing in programs that make sure every child has a qualified, strong teacher.16
    3. Negotiates for better prescription drug prices using Medicaid's tremendous bargaining power.17
    4. Expands access to family planning for low-income women.18
    5. Caps the pollution that causes global warming, and makes polluters pay to support clean energy innovation.19

    Sources:

    1. "Climate of Change," The New York Times, February 27, 2009
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/27/opinion/27krugman.html?em

    2. "Obama Calls His Budget Sweeping, Needed Change," The New York Times, February 28, 2009
    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51201&id=15687-630415-XAqpeBx&t=2

    3. "Obama Offers Broad Plan to Revamp Health Care," The New York Times, February 26, 2009
    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51202&id=15687-630415-XAqpeBx&t=3

    4. "Obama Expects Fight Over $3.55 Trillion Budget Plan," Bloomberg News, February 28, 2009
    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51203&id=15687-630415-XAqpeBx&t=4

    5. "Energy Budget Is Sunlight After Eight Years of Darkness," Center for American Progress, February 26, 2009
    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51204&id=15687-630415-XAqpeBx&t=5

    6. "The Economic Cost of War in Iraq and Afghanistan," The New York Times, March 1, 2009
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/01/weekinreview/01glanz.html

    7. "Tax Cuts," The New York Times, February 26, 2009
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/27/washington/27web-tax.html

    8. "Energy Budget Is Sunlight After Eight Years of Darkness," Center for American Progress, February 26, 2009
    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51204&id=15687-630415-XAqpeBx&t=6

    9. "Student Loans," The New York Times, February 26, 2009
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/27/washington/27web-edu.html

    10. "Obama unveils budget blueprint," CNN, February 26, 2009
    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/26/budget/

    11. "Obama budget would boost SEC, CFTC, FBI," Reuters, February 26, 2009
    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51205&id=15687-630415-XAqpeBx&t=7

    12. "Obama's budget," Los Angeles Times, February 27, 2009
    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51206&id=15687-630415-XAqpeBx&t=8

    13. "Student Loans," The New York Times, February 26, 2009
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/27/washington/27web-edu.html

    14. "Health Insurance Stocks Dive on Medicare Advantage Cuts," The Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2009
    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51207&id=15687-630415-XAqpeBx&t=9

    15. "Agriculture," The New York Times, February 26, 2009 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/27/washington/27web-agri.html

    16. "Investing Wisely in Our Children," Center for American Progress, February 26, 2009
    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51208&id=15687-630415-XAqpeBx&t=10

    17. "Obama Offers Broad Plan to Revamp Health Care," The New York Times, February 26, 2009
    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51202&id=15687-630415-XAqpeBx&t=11

    18. "Obama Offers Broad Plan to Revamp Health Care," The New York Times, February 26, 2009
    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51202&id=15687-630415-XAqpeBx&t=12

    19. "Setting 'Green' Goals," The New York Times, February 26, 2009 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51209&id=15687-630415-XAqpeBx&t=13

    A tip of the Mirsky hat to Moveon.org.

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