Sunday, January 30, 2011

Losing At Home The Other Side of the Tracks By Perry Redd Guest Commentator


Are we there yet?  Have we rebounded from the downed economy of two years ago?  Our dear President tells us that we’ve made leaps and bounds from where we were.  We gained 100,000 new jobs last month, we had the foreclosure rate go down - down 26% from the year before. Driven by investigations by the Fed, the FDIC and states banks' robo-signer foreclosure process, Obama appears to be on the right track.

Now, Obama has the answer: hire in two (or more) corporate heads to help him jump start the economy—people who helped drive our country’s economy into the ground, while their corporations made out like bandits.  President Obama has done a 180-degree turn…into a conservative.

Last week, Obama named Jeffrey Immelt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fairfield, Connecticut-based General Electric, to head a new White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. "We think GE has something to teach businesses all across America," said Obama.  

What?  Is that because GE is about to open an advanced battery manufacturing plant that will employ 350 people?  Is it because GE located its renewable energy headquarters at the GE campus, which employs more than 650 people?  I surely hope not.  These facts don’t outweigh the fact that GE has laid off over 21,000 workers last year, closed 20 U.S. plants and currently has 53% of its workforce outside the United States!  How does that help us here at home?  

We don’t need Immelt or those of his ilk in advisory, policy-making or legislation-creating positions!  That old adage of “running government like a business is bull!  That doesn’t help us here at home…Government is for people—real, live people—not for getting rich; that’s the role of corporations.
Obama thinks that being corporation-friendly will win over the Right.  He’s sadly mistaken.  It’s been proven that whenever corporation heads flood government, the economy (the people) get raped.  Revolving-door politics rarely leaves the country in a stronger position, just a more bent over one.
Obama has also replaced Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel with William Daley.  Daley is a senior executive VP with JP Morgan. He was Emanuel’s mentor, and President Clinton’s Secretary of Commerce. And yes, he is a scion of the Daley family—the famed family of Chicago politics.

Then there’s Sperling…Obama is replacing his Chief Economic Adviser – Larry Summers – with Gene Sperling.  Sperling is currently a counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and is now being appointed as Obama’s chief economic adviser. He served as a consultant to Goldman Sachs, and in 2008 harvested sums reaching seven-figures for his work there and in delivering speeches to the highest ranks of the financial services realm.

Economist Dean Baker and the liberal pundit Robert Kuttner wrote that a key item on Sperling’s resume is the nearly $900,000 he earned as a consultant for Goldman Sachs—at the very time the bank was playing a leading role in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

A group of House Republicans, last Thursday, introduced a proposal to cut spending from more than 100 federal programs and cut back spending levels by $2.5 trillion over the next decade.  The bill would hold 2011. non-security discretionary spending to 2008 levels, freeze non-defense discretionary spending to 2006 levels for 10 years and cut the federal workforce by 15 percent, according to the Republican Study Committee, a group made up of conservative lawmakers.

While Republican leaders like House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor offered kind words for the Study Committee’s recommendations, they stopped short of endorsing them. That’s like ethanol:  It was supposed to make gas cheaper, but we ended up paying double the price!

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama told us that it’s all good.  The pep talk will get his ratings up for a quick second.  But no matter what he says, the Republicans are going to say otherwise.  Who do you trust?  What I know is, as a black person, it never mattered what the economy was doing!  I’ve always struggled…

The economy is not doing well, and hiring corporate raiders and cutting essential services to poor people won’t make it better.  What I know is, the president’s policies are looking more and more Republican.  It might get his poll numbers up, but it won’t bode well come re-election time.  I can’t see a reason to vote for someone who allows mechanisms to stay in place that keep me poor.  We’re losing at home and our options are few. What are you going to do? Guest Commentator Perry Redd is the former Executive Director of the workers rights advocacy, Sincere Seven, and author of the on-line commentary, “The Other Side of the Tracks”. He is host of the internet-based talk radio show, Socially Speaking in Washington, DC. Click here to contact Mr. Redd.