Thursday, October 20, 2011

Occupy and Obama - Where's the Outrage?

The Occupy movement and it's related 99% movement insist that the government is working for the interests of Wall Street and the top 1% at the expense of the rest of us. So, why aren't they protesting against President Obama and the Democrats? Obama is a captive of big money and special interests. Consider:

In 2008 he became the first candidate since federal matching funds were introduced to forgo them. The reason was the he could raise (and spend) more money than the limits mandated by matching funds. He has already announced that he will do this again in 2012 and plans to raise an unheard-of $1 billion. A significant portion of that comes from Wall Street. In 2008, Obama took more money from Wall Street than any candidate ever before. For the 2012 campaign, he has received more Wall Street money than all of the Republicans combined. In 2008 Obama claimed that most of his money came from small donors but fact-checkers ruled this false. Most of his money came from a few big sources.

Obama's effort to manage the economy amount to a modern form of "trickle-down". Although the TARP was passed under Bush, Obama was deeply involved and half of the money was spent during his administration. Other programs such as the Quantitative Easing and QE2 were designed to push interest rates to historic lows in the hope that the big banks would increase lending. There has been little demand for this low-interest money outside of Wall Street so the banks and investment houses have used the money to enrich themselves. That is why corporate profits and especially Wall Street profits have been at record highs while the rest of the country is in recession.

The administration's answer to restoring confidence in the banks was to "stress test" them. The requirements for the stress test were lowered several times and were more concerned with giving banks a seal of approval rather than actually certifying their soundness.

Unions are a form of big business and major contributors to the Democrats in general and Obama in specific. At the same time, they represent a small (and shrinking) portion of the population. Despite this, more than half of the stimulus was targeted at unions, especially public service unions.

Obama's signature accomplishment was Obamacare. This started out as health care reform but ended up being health insurance reform. Obama but deals with pharmaceuticals, doctors, and hospitals to leave them alone if they supported his bill. Insurance got its own deal with mandatory coverage. This will allow insurance companies to cover such things as pre-existing conditions while increasing profitability. Insurance companies stayed quiet during the debate because they knew they would come out ahead if it passed.

Obama's second attempt at a signature accomplishment was increased control of previously unregulated markets. This passed Congress with bipartisan support but was gutted in committee by Barney Frank. Frank also has an ethically-challenged relationship with Fanni Mae and Freddie Mac.

So where are the anti-Obama signs?

Obama's rhetoric may have something to do with this. He talks about "fat cats" and taxing millionaires and billionaires but his actions are at odds with his speeches. People may be judging him based on his teleprompter rather than his actions.

Or it may be that the Occupy movement is heavily astroturfed and that Obama supporters are suppressing anti-Obama sentiment.

On the other hand, the fact that these people are gathering and protesting shows dissatisfaction with the current government and the Democrats control the White House and a branch of Congress. 

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