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Saturday, October 1, 2016

A More Progressive Budget, A More Progressive President?

It doesn’t matter what the president’s motives are for proposing better policies. What’s important is that progressives hold him to it.

A time-honored but largely useless exercise is trying to divine whether the actions of politicians are motivated by their core beliefs or by “politics.” For most successful politicians, the line between the two is murky. In fact, it has to be. Politics being the art of the possible, elected officials who try to exercise their power will always be navigating a circuitous course within a broad set of values.

So it is that some wonder whether the budget proposal put forth by President Obama is driven by the president’s belief that we need to take a more progressive direction to address the nation’s deep problems. Or is the president just deciding he needs to tack left in order to rally his base behind him for the upcoming election?

What matters is not the president’s motivation; what matters is what he does and how his actions are received. Having failed to reach a “grand compromise” with Republicans in the summer of 2011, including damaging cuts to core social insurance programs, Obama had no place to go but to his left. He was pushed there by finally realizing that his faith in his own ability to be an ideological bridge between left and right had been wrecked by the capture of the Republican Party by the extreme right. He was left looking weak to independents and a disappointment — if not a traitor — to his core supporters.

In many of his speeches since the summer’s debacle, and in many of the substantive proposals in the American Jobs Act and his new budget, President Obama has embraced a progressive view of the economy and put forth proposals that would revitalize the economy by creating middle-class jobs paid for by taxing the rich. The proposals are good policy — the only available course that offers hope to address our long-term economic problems — and good politics, popular with wide swaths of the public.

  • jlbrandel

    For the first time in my life I am becoming active to a degree that is assertive without being Aggressive. I am making a few cash donations to a few good causes that are actively working toward a Sane Solution to our Nations Problem. I fully intend to Vote for Obama again, since he has taken a very good tack to the left following his State of the Nation Address.

    I have made a $100. donaation to the National Memo, I thank you for your due diligence and by becoming a force for the Betterment of Most People. True Democracy in Action.

    I volunteered for 37 months of Duty in the Army Air Corp in 1942, and was willing to give my life for the principle of Freedom of Rights to Everyone. I’m 87 yrs old and too old to sit in the Parks with the Occupy Wall St. Movement.

    But I can give of my time and a few bucks, which I am doing, for what I believe is a Movement to Create Change in our Government and Corporate Policies of Feeding the Rich and Starving the Poor. It is just another way of enslaving ignorant people who haven’t thought this out properly.