Glen Ford: Obama Inside Man
Black America and “progressives” lurched into self-imposed irrelevancy at precisely the time that finance capital was swallowing the American state whole. Barack Obama is the Great Facilitator of Wall Street's desperate effort to loot itself out of oblivion. Disaster is certain if we remain without a movement that confronts both the banksters and Obama.
Obama: Inside Man for the Greatest Heist in History
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford artilce link
Glen Ford delivered the following remarks to a panel discussion of the Left Forum, at Pace University, New York City, on March 20. The discussion was titled, “Race and Recession: Will a Rising Tide Lift All Boats?
“What we have witnessed since the Fall of 2008, is the swallowing whole of the American state, by finance capital.”
The old, rich man’s slogan, “A rising tide lifts all boats” – that Obama now claims as his own – has been discredited from any number of angles. I’d like to add another layer of contempt.
The phrase takes for granted, as a truism, that you can count on the economic tides rolling in, and then rolling out again, like the ocean. The phrase takes for granted that this system, with its ups and downs, is as permanent as the tides. The implication is that we are simply in a deep downturn in the economy – a cyclical situation – that will inevitably, at some point, lead to an upturn, like the tide coming back in. So, when one says that “A rising tide lifts all boats,” in addition to promising the poor that something better will be coming to them with the next upturn in the cycle, you are also expressing confidence that this capitalist system is eternal – as permanent as the push and pull of the tides.
When Barack Obama first said that a rising tide lifts all boats, his administration was only 100 days old. It had only been a little over half a year since the Great Crash of 2008. But there was Obama, saying essentially that nothing too much out of the ordinary had happened, after all. Yes, the tide was out, but it would be back in again, as always, to lift all boats. And, in the meantime, don’t rock the boat with questions about Black unemployment and other such nuisances and irritants. Just wait for the tide.
“We are at a benchmark in history, a Crack in Time.”
But, of course, we are not experiencing some cyclical phenomenon. We are at a benchmark in history, a Crack in Time. What we have witnessed since the Fall of 2008, is the swallowing whole of the American state, by finance capital, by Wall Street – a process presided over by Barack Obama. In the annals of history, it is the devouring of the American State, by Wall Street, following the Crash of 2008, that will mark this era – NOT the election of the first Black president, which will be seen as of relatively secondary importance when humanity takes the Long Look Back.
The times we are now living through will be remembered as the period when finance capital definitively captured and totally subordinated the American state, so that it could be systematically looted. By the end of July, 2009, the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve had made available to Wall Street $23.7 trillion, according to the Inspector General of the TARP program. That figure approaches the value of two years of the total economic output of the United States, whose gross domestic product is about $14.2 trillion.
When the U.S. government makes available to Wall Street $23.7 trillion, it has essentially transferred the full faith and credit of the American State to the financial sector. That is the swallowing of the American state. The public treasure that actually went to Wall Street is credibly put at $14 trillion, which is approximately one year’s worth of the total economic output of the nation. And virtually all of this happened on Barack Obama’s Watch. His executive branch and the Federal Reserve are the agents of this world-shaking event – this Crack in Time.
“The Obama regime has essentially transferred the full faith and credit of the American State to the financial sector.”
It is in this context that we must examine Obama’s statement that “A rising tide lifts all boats.” In effect, he is saying that a rising tide – a tsunami of tens of trillions of dollars of public money for the banks and the speculators – will eventually Lift All Boats.
It is also only in this context that we can understand why he has bet his political fortunes on a health care scheme whose main effect will be to transfer another trillion or so public dollars over the next ten years to private insurance corporations – who are an integral element of the Wall Street Casino. The Casino virtually owns the state and is looting it, with the Obama administration as the facilitator.
Wall Street is looting the country, because that is the only way it can survive. It’s not just about greed.
We now live under the absolute rule of finance capital, a class that produces nothing. Yet they must somehow create ever increasing rates of profit.
In their mad search for profits, they began laying bets and making deals that were many times larger than the economy of the entire Planet Earth, beginning in the Nineties.
The banksters created a kind of Monopoly Money of their own, called derivatives, that nobody could own or understand but themselves.
By the summer before the Crash of 2008, these derivatives were valued at at least six hundred trillion dollars, and possibly 1000 trillion dollars. The economy of the whole world is only about $50 trillion.
When Wall Street’s house of derivative cards collapsed, the entire world economy – the real economy of work and goods and services that the world depends on – went into a spiral. And in Black America, our little boats went straight to the bottom.
“They began laying bets and making deals that were many times larger than the economy of the entire Planet Earth.”
Who came to the banksters’ rescue? Obama and the Democrats, even more loyally the Republicans. Obama gave them the full faith and credit of the United States, and $14 trillion in real money to patch things up.
And what have they done with it? The value of derivatives is now back up to $600 trillion, again, because they must pump their profits up again, and to do so they must use phony money, and loot the real economy of real money through the mechanisms of the state. If they don’t continue to do that, they will die – as they should have in October of 2008. But if we allow them to continue, then the real economy will die – and us with it.
It’s them or us – and Obama works for them.
So, what do we do about it? More specifically, what do Black people do about it, in our shaky little boat?
Our mis-leadership class cannot even begin to answer that question, because all rational roads of resistance lead to confrontation with Obama – and this is something the Black mis-leadership class cannot and will not contemplate.
And Obama knows they won’t. The key to Wall Street’s triumph in the face of a disaster of its own making, is that the first Black president has neutralized the key progressive constituency in the United States – Black America. If WE do not confront his corporatist policies – we, who have been most gravely damaged by his friends on Wall Street – then there can be no effective resistance.
But Obama is confident that we will go down without a fight. That’s why he so arrogantly dismisses even the most politely phrased questions, like, “What about Black unemployment, Mr. President?” with Rich Man’s flatulence: “A rising tide lifts all boats.” He talks to us like Reagan, and we accept it like he’s a “brother” who has our interests at heart.
His friends on Wall Street committed mass, deliberate destruction of Black society, yet Obama demands that we shut our mouths about race.
Glen Ford is the executive editor of Black Agenda Report
If any of you ever actually read the Black Press you'd realize how very little the Obama administration is doing for the black community.
And if you actually knew what Socialism is -- you'd know that it ain't Obama.
[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (05-10-2010 06:17 PM).]