Monday, November 29, 2010

Pointing The Way With An Empty Sleeve

From our Department of Beaux Gestes:
"President Obama announced a two-year pay freeze for civilian federal workers on Monday as he sought to address concerns over sky-high deficit spending and appeal to Republican leaders to find a common approach to restoring the nation’s economic and fiscal health."
Seems he's hoping that throwing a bunch of working people to the wolves will head off a Republican slashfest and...wait for it...:
"Mr. Obama expressed optimism that the meeting with legislators would be a productive and fresh beginning. “My hope is starting today, we can begin a bipartisan conversation about our future,” he said. “Everybody’s going to have to cooperate. We can’t afford to fall back on the old ideologies or the old sound bites.” "
That old chestnut, buy-partisanship, bought with the paychecks of the working class, because for Obama it seems that nothing succeeds like failure. And fail this will, as the impact of the further loss of wages and the domino-effect on the local economies where these people live and work settles over the country. This, even before the next wave of further municipal and statewide layoffs of public workers, when the new fiscal year will require state and local governments to try to close new budget gaps. After all, what's better for an economy sunk in joblessness and plummeting living standards than a good old-fashioned putsch?

In exchange for this hollow and cowardly gesture, he may be able to carve out an estimated $60 million from a deficit of 1.3 trillion over the next 10 years---a move that will impress no one and which will impact neither the deficit, nor the Republican death squads, nor the public at large. Hell, you could get 60 million in one fell swoop by confiscating the 2009 salaries and bonuses of Bank of America's Thomas Montag, Morgan Stanley's Walid Chammah, and Wells Fargo's John Stumpf on some tax dodge charge. They wouldn't miss it, they're eminently guilty of that and more, and it would certainly carry more symbolism than this empty charade, thrown out in a stench of desperation by a man whose head seems to have been, of late, stuffed with straw.