*We have all heard the old saw which goes something like this: “If you don’t stand for something, you can fall for anything.” Sadly, the nation’s first African American president has not been standing strong in recent months. Instead of being the “commander” in chief, he has allowed conservative Republicans and a misreading of the desires of the American people to convert him into the “compromiser” in chief.
He compromised with a $781 billion economic stimulus package which primarily benefitted the major corporations and the big banks. They thanked him by funding Republicans and the ultra-conservative Tea Party in this past November’s elections. Republicans now control the House of Representatives and are doing their best to implement policies which chiefly benefit the wealthy and the powerful.
Despite this slap in the face, President Obama compromised (caved into Republican demands) and extended the Bush-ear tax cuts for the rich – those making $250,000 or more a year. He even compromised with his signature legislative accomplishment – health care reform – by dropping the “public option.”
When the public option was compromised away, all possibility of controlling or forcing downward skyrocketing health care costs flew out the window because there was now no threat of the government providing low cost health care insurance and thus putting pressure on the major insurance companies to do the same.
During the recent deficit reduction battle, instead of calling the Republican bluff to shut down the government, Obama compromised and actually ended up giving the Republicans more cuts in federal spending ($38.5 billion) than they had originally demanded ($30.0 billion).
Then, last Wednesday, he released a deficit reduction plan of his own during which he gave an impressive speech accusing the Republicans of essentially trying to balance the budget by reducing or even eliminating social programs which disproportionately benefitted minorities, the poor and the lower middle class. He rightly pointed out that the Republicans were simultaneously proposing putting even more money into the hands of the wealthy by further extending the Bush-ear tax cuts for the rich.
However, the very next day (Thursday) he told the Associated Press he was again willing to compromise by “putting everything on the table.”
If you put everything on the table for possible cuts, then what do you stand for? Where is the line in the sand which you dare the Republicans to cross?
Mark by word, before 2012 budget is complete, President Obama would have largely caved into the current Republican attempt to destroy Medicare and Medicaid by turning them over to the states in exchange for some minor concessions like some insignificantly small increase in taxes on the rich.
Every time Obama compromises, the Republicans win and the average working person in America loses. Only the corporations and the wealthy are benefitting. Obama must stop compromising and stand for something. If he does not, history will look back on his presidency as years of failure.
[Robert Taylor is veteran editor of the National Black News Journal. Visit him online at http://dailyblack.webs.com or share your views on his commentaries by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.]