Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

A handful of Black lawmakers have joined with Blue Dog Democrats to call for $4 trillion in federal spending cuts over 10 years – far more than the congressional “Super-Committee” is required to make this month. $4 trillion happens to be the figure both President Obama and his deficit reduction commission proposed to cut. The six Black congressmen are attempting to help the First Black President seal his “Grand Bargain” with the GOP by defunding what’s left of the New Deal and Great Society.


Call Out Their Names! The Black Caucus Roster of Shame

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

The five Black congressmen reveal themselves as wholly unrepresentative of any Black constituency in the United States.”

Last week, a new low was set in African American contemporary politics. Six members of the Congressional Black Caucus joined 54 other Democrats and 40 Republicans in a letter calling for $4 trillion in cuts in federal spending over the next ten years. In doing so, the six Black congressmen – and they are all men – reveal themselves as wholly unrepresentative of any Black constituency in the United States. We will call out their names, in a minute.

But first, let’s get to the substance of the letter. It was addressed to the so-called “Super-Committee” that is charged with cutting $1.5 trillion – not $4 trillion, but $1.5 – from the federal budget, the result of the disastrous dance over the debt ceiling between President Obama and congressional Republicans, last summer. The deadline for the Super-Committee of six Democrats and six Republicans from both Houses of Congress, is November 23. If the committee does not come up with the cuts, or the Congress does not pass them by December 23, then $1.2 trillion in cuts would automatically be triggered. The damage to the social safety net would be serious, but a $4 trillion cut, as advocated by the letter writers, would be far worse.

So, why would six Black Democrats join 54 mostly Blue Dog members of the Party in calling for a catastrophic $4 trillion in cuts? Because the First Black President is as eager to gut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare as the Republicans are. It was Barack Obama who appointed the Deficit Reduction Commission that last year called for $4 trillion in spending cuts, including Social Security. And, it was Obama who offered the Republicans the same level of spending cuts in his bid to make a “Grand Bargain” with the GOP – a bargain that, for their own evil reasons, the Republicans did not accept.

The First Black President is as eager to gut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare as the Republicans are.”

It was at that point, last summer, that the real Obama was stripped naked to the world as a corporate enemy of the New Deal and the Great Society who deploys progressive rhetoric in order to disarm his own Democratic base, in the service of Wall Street.

Without that revelatory moment, there may have been no Occupation movement.

The six Black Caucus members are among the congressional Democrats that want to help Obama to finally seal that Grand Bargain with the Republicans. The letter to which they affixed their signatures mimics Obama language in maintaining that “all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table.” That’s Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, on a silver platter – in exchange for some token tax increases.

Who are these six Black congresspersons who would sell out their constituents to please the president and his corporate friends?

They are Danny Davis, of Chicago; Chaka Fattah, of Philadelphia; Gregory Meeks, of New York; Terri Sewell, of Alabama; Mel Watt, of North Carolina; and Emanuel Cleaver, of Kansas City. Cleaver is the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and made headlines last summer when he called the debt deal a Satan sandwich.” And here he is, with five other Black Caucus members, making common cause with the worst elements of the Democratic and Republican Parties. Emanuel Cleaver, Danny Davis, Chaka Fattah, Gregory Meeks, Mel Watt and Terri Sewell, feasting with the Devil on the bones of the social safety net. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

Direct download: 20111109_gf_CBCAusterityLetter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:08am EDT