Obama’s New Budget

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

[by Andrew Pollack]

On February 26th, Obama unveiled a 10-year budget proposal. Most of its provisions won’t kick in until 2010 or even later, and are clearly not designed to deal with the current effects of the crisis.

Instead it was designed to showcase his grand plans for restructuring the US economy, which consists largely of new subsidies to corporations while using rhetoric about fighting climate change, achieving “universal” healthcare coverage, etc.

Following in the footsteps of FDR, whose fiscal conservatism meant doling out public funds in drops even during the worst of the 1930’s Depression, Obama’s budget promises to sharply cut the US deficit. And to prove he’s not kidding about this, he chose as keynote speaker to his February 23rd “Summit on Fiscal Responsibility” private equity billionaire Pete Peterson, whose main hobby these days is demanding that Social Security and Medicare be drastically cut or even eliminated.

In the same spirit, Obama’s new budget continues to ignore majority sentiment for single-payer government insurance. It cuts some of the Medicare subsidies to private insurers, and seeks further savings by tinkering with the quality of, and payment for, care under Medicare and Medicaid. But it won’t touch the real source of waste: the profits and administrative expenses of insurers, for-profit hospitals and equipment manufacturers. Even the mild reforms it will finance, based as they are on taxes for the rich that don’t begin until 2011, won’t take effect until 2012.

Similarly his budget addresses catastrophic climate change by selling carbon credits to manufacturers as part of a cap-and-trade plan – universally recognized by climate scientists and activists as a barrier to the real conversion needed to slow climate change.

The basic military budget in 2010 would increase to $534 billion in 2010. And this doesn’t even include spending on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, which will certainly not drop, as some troops are shifted from Iraq to the latter two, and tens of thousands remain permanently in Iraq. What’s more, the increase in the basic military budget, which will shift spending from some high-tech systems to smaller programs “focused on fighting insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan,” will likely mean many more troops called up to use existing weapons.

The budget also included a cut in itemized tax deductions for those in top tax brackets earmarked to pay for his healthcare “reform.” This would still leave the US ruling class the least-taxed of any in the world.

Related Articles

Capitalism’s World Economic, Political and Social Crises and the Road to Fight Back

By JEFF MACKLER
Led by the dominant capitalist-imperialist nations, especially the U.S. and China, the system involves the capture and transfer of surplus value from workers in poorer countries to leading corporations in the advanced countries. Today, global value chain corporations that represent only 15 percent of all trading firms worldwide, capture some 80 percent of total trade.

Debate in the Fourth International Part III: Capitalism’s World Economic, Political and Social Crises and the Coming Fightback

By JEFF MACKLER, for Socialist Action/USA
This is the third and final text presented by Socialist Action as a minority viewpoint to the February 19-23, 2022 meeting of the Fourth International (FI), an international socialist current of some 56 parties across the globe. Some 150 representatives of these parties gathered this year via Zoom due to the COVID 19 crisis to discuss and debate the Fourth International’s politics and program. The politics in the report below were adopted by the National Committee of Socialist Action/USA, a fraternal party of the FI barred by reactionary U.S. legislation from being a formal member of any international socialist organization. The text below was rejected by the February FI meeting by the vast majority of delegates. The central thesis of the majority text asserts that the building of revolutionary socialist parties on the Leninist model anywhere in the world today is not on the agenda. The text below, slighted updated to cover developments since the February FI meeting, challenges this view in all its fundamentals.