2011 is shaping up to be the beginning of a period of revolution and redefinition for the Middle-East. Governments that defined themselves by decades of inhuman cruelty to the most vulnerable of their citizens are seeing those very people rise-up and chasing them out of their palaces. The beginnings of these revolutions are being sparked by rises in food costs, shrinking wages, disgusting conditions, oppression, and a lack of real democracy. With these numerous examples being acted out every day, showing what the desperate masses are capable of, Obama hands down a budget proposal that only furthers strengthens these motivations and will make a desperate people more desperate.
It’s ironic considering Obama’s story as a community organizer that he would be the one to hand down such an obviously impoverishing budget proposal. It seems to go against everything he worked for in his younger years, or was it that he was only using those poor communities as a stepping stone to bigger and better things? So it goes that I at least expected the slap to be a little more camouflaged. It isn’t that we should expect a U.S. president not to choose spending cuts to programs that the most desperate of our sisters and brothers actually need in the name of “deficit reduction”. Nor should we expect the leader of the capitalist empire to make budget decisions that would solve problems in an intelligent way. Where the surprise comes in is how blatant it is, and especially at a time where governments once thought stable are being tossed aside by popular rebellion.
Energy assistance, community service programs, and student loan interest rates are part of the “painful” cuts Obama threatened us with in his State of the Union address. Where are the painful cuts for the rich? Where are the deficit reductions coming from that are sacrifices of those that are the most well-off? As noted at Socialist Worker, “Amputate at the knee. Amputate at the hip. Or just stick a knife in the patient’s heart. That’s the scale of the alternatives being discussed by lawmakers at all levels of government when it comes to budget cuts and austerity measures. Only the patient shouldn’t be in surgery at all.”
These are cuts that people of Obama’s stature will never notice, which is similar to the amount of affect they will incur on the deficit. Simply put, the budget problems the U.S. government faces cannot be solved by a group of profit-minded individuals.
The attacks on the working class are all around us these days. From Obama’s budget proposal, to the Wisconsin governor’s proposed rollback of worker’s rights, and Speaker Boehner’s “so be it” reaction to the news that his budget proposals will kill 1,000,000 jobs. It makes me wonder how many times they can stick their finger in our cage and not get bitten. Do they not see what policies like these end in, with the myriad of revolts happening in the Middle-East? Do they really think that America is immune to this?
I suppose time will tell.