I spent much of Friday grinning.
My grin started at the gym when I picked up the Wall Street Journal to read on the stair stepper. I had heard Thursday that President Obama had release his budget plan, but details — even the broad stokes — hadn’t reached my consciousness.
But, the WSJ laid it out.
The man is proposing to keep his campaign promises.To do what we elected him to do.
Or, as the WSJ put it:
President Barack Obama signaled a historic shift in the ideological direction of the U.S. economic policy Thursday with a budget that proposed to expand government activism, raise taxes on affluent families, and draw a line under “an era of profound irresponsibility.”
…The Obama administration is seeing to reorder the federal government to provide national health care, steer energy use away from oil and gas and boost the federal role in education.
And then come the details. A $630 billion start toward national health insurance, de-privatization and expansion of student loans, and tax increases for those who can afford to contribute more because their household income is more than $250,000. And on and on and on.
The President pulled no punches in what he has submitted to Congress. The WSJ went on:
And whereas President Ronald Regan famously declared government to be problem, not the solution, Mr. Obama asserts, “government must lead.” Mr. Reagan believed tax cuts for the rich would “trickle down” to the poor, Mr. Obama’s budget argues that the view has “been discredited once and for all” and proposes a “trickle up” agenda — shifting income to poor from rich.
The reaction from the professional cynics and manipulators has been a firestorm of name calling (“socialist”) and timid damning with faint praise (“well yes, but it’s too fast”). Fivethirtyeight.com nailed it:
It felt like a primal whine from rich reporters. Hasn’t Barack Obama considered that maybe John McCain’s tax policy is the right one? Does Obama not realize that the best way to be a Democrat is preserve conservative Republican tax policy? (read more)
Socialist? What? Taxpayers are supposed to just give money to banks without asking for a stake in the still-private financial corporation?
Fast? Tell that to the millions of newly jobless or newly diagnosed or newly homeless.
Yes, because of President Obama’s proposal I grinned all weekend. But, now it’s time to stop grinning.
The Republicans with their mega-nasty, mega-powerful Foxes and Rushes are already nickeling and dime-ing and nitpicking and wrapping themselves up in our flag. Left to their own devices members of Congress will hem, haw, backtrack and cut back.
We will not end the class warfare of the past 8+ years unless we tell our Senators and Representatives to pass the President’s budget as submitted. I love the outline of it, and I am willing to live with any of its imperfections in order to get the country righted. Any tweaks damn well best be tweaks and not subversions of its power.
I wrote Senator Feinstein this morning telling her that I want the President’s plan — she is a powerful “moderate” up for reelection in two years, and we need her to work for this budget. (Write Senator Feinstein yourself!)
Writing Senators Feinstein and Boxer and Speaker Pelosi (my Representative) is just the first step. We need to watch Congress and keep them focused on what we voted for in last fall. Congress is going to hear plenty from the Rupert Murdocks, the Rush Limbaughs, and the well-off advocates of the status quo.
We cannot let our country down by shirking our responsibilities and watching the politics play out without our involvement. It’s time to go to the political barricades for the change we need.