Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Once Again: Obama Is Not A Policy Wonk

Benjamin Kirby comes out against the federal pay freeze. Kirby calls upon President Barack Obama to end the pay freeze.

But there's a time for conciliatory negotiations and there's a time to roll up your sleeves and fight.

Now is the time to fight. Obama has the hope in him. But does he have the fight?

Frankly, I think federal employees deserve a fight -- and they're not going to get it. The every day working people of the federal government -- who make 24 percent less than their counterparts in the private sector -- just got used as a political chit.

Kirby went from urging Obama to fight to throwing in the towel in three paragraphs. Progressives can not even summon up the strength to write posts appealing to Obama's nonexistent champion to the common-man side. Ezra Klein noted that Obama didn't frame the pay freeze with doing away with the Bush tax cuts for the rich, as a way for Obama to say everyone must make sacrifices to pay down the deficit. The Economic Policy Institute has come out against the pay freeze. We have seen on the state level, the economy has added more state government workers to unemployment numbers.

It would be one thing if Obama truly believed the pay freeze was necessary. Obama makes the pay freeze announcement right before a scheduled meeting with Republicans. I read a White House official say the administration wanted to pre-emp Republicans. The two year pay freeze will save $2 billion in 2011. That is small change when the Congressional Budget Office said the deficit is $1.3 trillion for 2010.

Does anyone seriously still believe Obama is a policy wonk? It is bad when Ron Paul calls Obama a corporatist. Obama represents the most stupid aspects of neoliberalism in the past 20 years. Imagine scientists placing Mickey Kaus' political instincts, Harold Ford's love of Wall Street, and Martin Peretz's foreign policy in one person. That person is Barack Obama.

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