Why Did the President Cross the Road? To Kneel Before the Corporate Throne of the Chamber of Commerce
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"Which brings me to the last barriers we're trying to remove, and those are outdated and unnecessary regulations. I've ordered a government-wide review, and if there are rules on the books that are needlessly stifling job creation and economic growth, we will fix them. Already we're dramatically cutting down on the paperwork that saddles businesses with huge administrative costs. We're improving the way FDA evaluates things like medical devices, to get innovative and lifesaving treatments to market faster. And the EPA, based on the need for further scientific analysis, delayed the greenhouse gas permitting rules for biomass."
Obama threw in praise for regulations along with his promise to reduce them. And then he came, in a roundabout way, to the topic of war:
"And I'm reminded, toward the end of the 1930s, amidst the Depression, the looming prospect of war, FDR, President Roosevelt, realized he would need to form a new partnership with business if we were going to become what he would later call the 'arsenal of democracy.' And as you can imagine, the relationship between the President and business leaders during the course of the Depression had been rocky at times. They'd grown somewhat fractured by the New Deal."
Somewhat fractured? Yes, I suppose an attempted coup qualifies. The funny thing is, though, that FDR did not propose any of the remedies laid out above. He did, however, spend tons and tons of public dollars on the military.
"Some, like the head of GM, hadn't previously known the President, and if anything had seen him as an adversary. But he gathered his family and he explained that he was going to head up what would become the War Production Board. . . . And in the years that followed, automobile factories converted to making planes and tanks. And corset factories made grenade belts. A toy company made compasses. A pinball machine maker turned out shells. 1941 would see the greatest expansion of manufacturing in the history of America. And not only did this help us win the war; it led to millions of new jobs and helped produce the great American middle class."
Never mind that investing in peaceful jobs would have produced more and better paying jobs. Obama's pretense that investing in war saved the economy illustrates where he is headed. If he wanted jobs he could invest in green energy or infrastructure or education and produce many more jobs with a broader impact on the whole economy. Instead he wants to turn plowshares into swords. He wants to push the war economy to the breaking point.
Obama could have walked a block east and visited the AFL-CIO, which would have gone right along with his agenda. But he didn't want to. He doesn't want unions interfering in the Chamber's winning of the future. He doesn't, in other words, want a middle class. He wants to be liked by the boys at the Chamber. He may even aspire to running the place someday. That vision might be characterized by some people as embodying the audacity of hope. I have other words for it.