Obama embraces Republican assault on social programs for workers and the poor

From World Socialist Web Site: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/apr2011/pers-a11.shtml

Patrick Martin
11 April 2011

The budget agreement reached between the White House and congressional Republicans late Friday night puts the Obama administration’s stamp of approval on a reactionary program of cutting spending on vital social services for working people, the elderly and the poor, four months after a similar bipartisan agreement to cut taxes for the wealthy. The result is a vast redistribution of wealth upwards, from working people to the millionaires and billionaires.

Obama’s remarks Friday night after the budget agreement was reached, and then again Saturday in his weekly Internet/radio address, fully embraced the argument of the ultra-right that the principal task of the federal government is to cut spending. “Deficit reduction,” as defined by the spokesmen for big business, means forcing the working class to pay for the bailout of Wall Street, tax cuts for the rich and three imperialist wars, through reductions in jobs, living standards and public services.

In his weekly address, Obama justified the cave-in to the Republicans under threat of a partial shutdown of the federal government, calling the agreement to cut spending “good news for the American people.” Obama boasted, “This is an agreement to invest in our country’s future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history.”

Saying the tens of billions of dollars in cuts agreed to in the current fiscal year budget signified “beginning to live within our means,” he implied that far deeper cuts would follow.

Obama admitted that “some of the cuts we agreed to will be painful—programs people rely on will be cut back,” adding, “I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances.” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer elaborated on this statement Saturday, declaring, “These are real cuts that will save taxpayers money and have a real impact. Many will be painful and are to programs that we support, but the fiscal situation is such that we have to act.”

This talk of “painful” cuts imposed out of fiscal necessity is aimed less at feigning reluctance in order to placate popular anger as at reassuring the ruling elite that the White House is prepared to act with ruthless disregard for the social cost of its policies.

Continue reading at:  http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/apr2011/pers-a11.shtml

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