Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
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Black Caucus Overwhelmingly Supports “People’s Budget”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Barack Obama and Republican leaders act like a tag team, determined to pummel Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal into oblivion. Or, maybe we should call them a duo, singing the same song, with Obama attempting to sound slightly melancholy about the death of the social safety net. Seventy-seven Democrats, 34 of them Black, sang a different tune, in last week’s vote on the Congressional Progressive Caucus “People’s Budget.” Even in defeat, the budget shows that low taxes for the rich and insane expenditures on the military are what keep the federal budget in deficit. There is nothing inevitable about a return to the law of the economic jungle.

 

Black Caucus Overwhelmingly Supports “People’s Budget”

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The government is only broke because the rich pay so little and the military costs so much.”

When the enemy convinces us that his victory is inevitable, then he has already won the psychological war. Wall Street, which owns the White House, most of both Houses of Congress and, quite literally, the corporate media, is in a mad rush to save itself from its own contradictions by dismantling or privatizing much of the government, while cutting taxes for its own class to the bone. At the same time, under the canard of national defense, the U.S. military spends as much as the rest of the world combined to bring the entire planet under the Pentagon’s full spectrum dominance. The ever-expanding war budget is justified on national security grounds, while the destruction of the domestic social safety net is supposedly unavoidable because…well, because the government is broke.

Of course, banks and other corporations are not broke; they’re doing better than ever. And the rich are richer than at any time in history. They are the ones demanding austerity, and expect their demands are to be treated as law, like stone tablets delivered by Moses from the hands of God.

Obama and the Republicans sing variations on the same song: Surrender to the Inevitable. For Black America, which is being pushed back to pre-civil rights era levels of income and wealth disparity, surrender is no option. Thus, it was encouraging that overwhelming numbers of the Congressional Black Caucus voted in favor of a so-called People’s Budget” that shows, in dollars and cents, that the Republican and Obama agenda is not inevitable, that the budget deficits can become surpluses by the year 2021 while saving social programs.

The People’s Budget shows that, in dollars and cents, that the Republican and Obama agenda is not inevitable.”

The government is only broke because the rich pay so little and the military costs so much. The People’s Budget, put together by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, raises tax rates on the rich and increases government revenues by $4 trillion over ten years, It shuts down the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and does not budget money for any more such wars, and thus saves $2.3 trillion from the black hole of the Pentagon. That’s all it take for the government not to be broke anymore.

Of the 77 congresspersons that voted for the People’s Budget, 34 – almost half – were Black. Only four Black lawmakers voted against the People’s Budget, so let’s call out their names in shame: Sanford Bishop, the Black Blue Dog from Georgia, who is always at the far right of the Caucus, as is fellow Georgian David Scott. Al Green, from Texas, has also surrendered to the rich man’s psychological warfare. Bobby Scott, from Virginia, is usually among the more progressive Caucus members, but now appears to be adrift. Two Black Caucus members didn’t vote either way: New York’s Gregory Meeks has served as a bag man for the corporatist Democratic Leadership Council; there’s nothing progressive about him. And Congresswoman Terri Sewell, of Alabama, is a newcomer.

The 77 supporters of the People’s Budget were outnumbered by the 108 Democrats that voted with the GOP and Obama’s side of the party. But they did show that not everyone believes that resistance is futile, even if a Black president tells them so. For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go towww.BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Direct download: 20110420_gf_CBCBudget.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:50am EDT