My friend Swamp Rabbit laughed all week at the speech in which the president, in typically stirring style, called for better treatment of low-wage workers:
Barack Obama warned that a “relentless, decades-long trend” of growing inequality and social immobility posed a fundamental threat to the American dream on Wednesday, throwing his support behind a grassroots movement to address chronically low wages across the US.
Attempting to regain the political momentum after a calamitous two months in which his healthcare reforms were plagued by website failures, the president said reversing the growing gap between rich and poor was “the defining challenge of our time…”
Unfortunately, this is the same president with the sneaky, pro-corporate agenda described Sunday in this report:
The Obama administration appears to have almost no international support for controversial new trade standards that would grant radical new political powers to corporations, increase the cost of prescription medications and restrict bank regulation, according to two internal memos obtained by The Huffington Post.
The memos, which come from a government involved in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations, detail continued disputes in the talks over the deal…
TPP, which critics often refer to as NAFTA on steroids, would deal another major blow to future attempts by progressives to cut big banks and mega-corporations down to size, and to stop the off-shoring of American jobs. One thing TPP definitely would not do is encourage corporate kingpins to provide wages that keep pace with the cost of living.
So is Obama using pro-workers rhetoric to distract us from his effort to “fast-track” an agreement that would leave workers with even less clout than they have now? Or does he really believe that a minimum-wage increase would compensate for the lost jobs and the decrease in workers’ bargaining power that would inevitably result from the passage of TPP?
It’s like asking if he’s grossly corrupt or amazingly naive. Swamp Rabbit thinks he’s both.
“A con man believes his own con when he’s in the middle of trying to con you,” the rabbit said. “Especially a con man who talks as good as Obama.”
One thing’s for sure: Another “challenge of our time,” just as defining as closing the income gap, is to dismantle the machine that, one election cycle after another, cranks out nothing but corporate-owned candidates for high office.