“This freeze would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, bringing this kind of spending — domestic discretionary spending — to its lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was President. Let me repeat that…."
That was our president announcing his 2012 budget. And indeed let’s repeat that — and note a few things he didn’t say.
While around 22 million Americans are looking for work…
And almost 62 million workers are working for sub-poverty wages…
While one out of three kids is living in poverty…
And nearly 3 million families have lost their homes last year alone…
While spending on war grows, another $118 billion this year, and military contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing see record profits….
And studies show that $2.2 trillion is needed to bring infrastructure to the basic level businesses need.
…Domestic spending will be at its lowest level since Dwight Eisenhower?
Between 1979 and 2005, the CBO numbers show, the average after-tax income of households in the top 0.01 percent quintupled — from just over $4 million to nearly $24.3 million. In 2009, as million of workers lost their jobs, on Wall Street at the thirty-eight biggest firms, investors and executives earned $140 billion — the highest sum ever.
James Madison famously wrote that the new American republic was to be "a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people," not aristocratic privilege or hereditary right. Yet in 2010 undisclosed private donors and multinational corporations funneled millions of dollars into our media, saturating the airwaves and skewing the election.
As all this has been shaping up, as Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson point out, government in our era not only failed to push back on the tide rising at the top but "put its thumb on the scale, hard. . . on the side of those who had more weight."
While all that: "This share of spending will be at its lowest level since. . ." Well, since Dwight Eisenhower warned of the anti-democratic threat of a runaway military industrial complex?
We should be ashamed to let our president get away with this. And he should be ashamed of proposing it.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv and editor of At The Tea Party, out now from OR Books. GRITtv broadcasts weekdays on DISH Network and DIRECTv, on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter and be our friend on