The issue facing the Founding Fathers during the period 1787-1788, was the framing of the Constitution and how they would justify the problem of slavery. How could they reconcile the 1776 Declaration of Independence, with the need for a new Constitution based on their ideals of freedom from imposed rule, when they themselves were imposing rule over others?
Clearly, even back then, Slavery proved to go against everything the Revolution stood for. The Revolution itself can be referred to quite rightly as the Freedom Revolution. The Founding Fathers, Jefferson, Adams, Burr, Franklin, Hamilton, Madison and Washington are perhaps the most important and greatest political figures since Cicero, Caesar, Octavian and later Trajan. But that very issue of slavery which had no affect on the hearts of the citizens of the Roman Republic, would have a considerable affect on the brand new American Republic, purely because if ignored, it would suggest America was born on a gigantic contradiction, of epic proportions. Maybe so. But without that contradiction, and because slavery was so instrumental in the lives of the ordinary man pre-Revolution in America, the question of whether or not America could survive without it, was immeasurable.
America was of course built on contradiction. Built on paradox. The 55 delegates, often known as the framers of the Constitution constantly argued about how best to word it. Jefferson and Hamilton were the equivilant today of Liberal and Conservative. But they managed to frame arguably the greatest document of modern history, despite their differences. And America was born.
(Please excuse my simplistic overview of the American Revolution and framing of the Constitution, i’m young, and i’m from England, and haven’t been exposed to American history all that much, other than what i’ve taught myself from books. So excuse the simplicity.)
“In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis” – President Obama.
It strikes me as ridiculous that the very notion of big bankers and business owners who have been on the receiving end of bail out funds – tax payers money, should be allowed to do whatever they want with it. It strikes me as utterly inconceivable that they appear to try to justify six figure salaries despite destroying the economy. They should be in prison if anything.
It should absolute disgust us all, that the CEOs of Chrysler, GM, and Ford have the nerve to ask for $25bn yet will fly home in their own private jets. Those of us who keep the topic of social injustice at the front of our minds, who know people die every day because they cannot get the food they so desperately need, stand united in our absolute outrage at these disgusting, greedy human beings.
Obama, quite rightfully put a stop to it, by capping the wages of CEOs at $500,000.
Obama, The President, yesterday is quoted as saying…
“This is America. We don’t disparage wealth. We don’t begrudge anybody for achieving success. And we believe that success should be rewarded. But what gets people upset – and rightfully so – are executives being rewarded for failure. Especially when those rewards are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. “
Thankfully, some Republicans have actually supported the cap on CEO wages. Richard Shelby, on the Senate Banking Committee, and Senator for Alabama, said quite rightfully: “In ordinary situations where the taxpayers money is not involved, we shouldn’t set executive pay, But where you’ve got federal money involved, taxpayers’ money involved, TARP money involved, and the way they have spent it, with no accountability, is getting close to being criminal.” He’s correct, in many ways. It’s a pity those blinded by the aspect of competition in the marketplace do not have the same outlook. Those such as “Clarence” commenting on a piece on Swamppolitics.com merely, and quite ridiculously state “Obamas Socialism starts“. But then, to these people, if Sean Hannity mentions ‘Socialism’ then it’s pretty much unanimous within the limited intellect of the Fox News Audience that Socialism rather than responsible Capitalism, is on the rise.
Let’s address the issue of the so called “rise of socialism” being thrown into the argument by those such as John McCain, who as early as October 2008, was referring to Obama as Socialist. And up to and including, the mass of Right Winged bloggers, who insist on calling anyone who isn’t a ‘pro-life‘ (the most misleading concept since ‘Freedom‘), anti-homosexual, Religious, right winger a ‘Socialist‘. Obama is not Socialist. He is as far from a Socialist as a Left winger could be. He’s Centre-left, at best.
So is the stimulus Socialist? No…
….. Allow me to draw your attention to the second point…. “Job-creating investments tax cuts for small businesses: $21bn” – In what way, other than the mess of a Republican mind, can that be considered Socialist? Even if a video of Obama, dressed up in Soviet attire, speaking Russian, quoting Lenin was to come to light, it wouldn’t change the fact that $21bn in tax cuts for small businesses, is not Socialist.
It is not a Socialist ideal, to bring Wall Street back to levels of human decency and responsibility. Much like it’s not Fascism to allow those companies to exploit the World, make six figure sum salaries, and then run the company into the ground, whilst the government refuse to acknowledge that they’d done anything wrong; like the Bush Administration did and like the ultra-Conservative Republicans still seem to be advocating.
A socialist, says things like “Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners.” If you were to claim to be Socialist to Vladmir Lenin, or Per Albin Hansson, or Fidel Castro, and one of your main points to your Socialist agenda, was …. “We don’t disparage wealth. We don’t begrudge anybody for achieving success. And we believe that success should be rewarded“, you’d probably be punched in your ‘dirty capitalist face‘. If he were then to repeat what the White House website states about the apparent decay of the Capitalist system: “We must also work with the same sense of urgency to stabilize and repair the financial system we all depend on.” He’d be taken outside and shot, as a traitor to the cause of Socialism.
I shouldn’t have to explain the huge difference between Obama’s plans for America and Socialism. Those who support Obama, know that the Conservatives are trying everything they can to discredit Obama. Perhaps because he can put a full sentence together, which is something the Republican White House has lacked for quite some time. Or perhaps it’s to take the blame away from those who actually caused the financial mess in the first place; themselves. Either way, the fear tactics employed by the Conservatives wont work.
Capping the wages of the bail out CEOs is not an act of a Socialist agenda, it is the act of a President trying to make an irresponsible Wallstreet, accountable to the people who are now bailing them out. If the President were to simply allow Merril Lynch to hand out a mass of Corporate Bonuses, whilst CEOs who systematically destroyed the economy, think it’s perfectly acceptable to then take home six figure sums; not only would the bail outs mean absolutely nothing, not only would Corporate morality remain in the gutter, but we’d also be setting ourselves up for another major economic disaster further down the line.
John Thain, who used taxpayers money to redecorate his office and give out handsome $4bn bonuses after losing $15bn in less than a year, is quoted here as saying “If you don’t pay your best people you will destroy your franchise“. The problem I see with John Thain here, is that ….. you don’t have best people!! Similarly, the argument being used by the Conservatives is that if Obama restricts the pay of bail out CEOs to $500,000, those people will just move to companies offering more money. Firstly, why would any company offer a six figure sum of money, to a CEO who has ran his company into the ground? Secondly, if those CEOs do move on, great, give someone else a chance, they can’t do any worse than has already been done.
From a GOP which has pledged $150 million cut to the Violence Against Women Act, and would instead spend that money on tax breaks for the rich, I do not know how anyone can take their flawed, and rather despicable side in this debate. If a $150 million cut to the Violence Against Women Act, is the prevailing of a Capitalist society over a Socialist society, I think i’d rather live in what they consider to be a Socialist society.
Obama is being used by the Republicans and Conservatives through their tried and tested Fear machine. Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney specialised in it. Republican bloggers and members themselves have embraced it. The fear machine that relies on the idea that the past eight years just didn’t happen. It relies on being unable to acknowledge that it was actually the Republicans who caused this mess in the first place. It’s ignored. It’s ignored, because they know that the moment the word ‘Socialism’ is mentioned, the attention suddenly shifts from how a Republican Party in Government could allow CEOs and top bankers to systematically manipulate and destroy the system, and moves onto how the Democrats propose to fix it. When the truth of the matter is, the bail out Obama has proposed is unprecedented. No one knows how it will turn out. No one knows if it will succeed. It is a pity those same Republicans who attack the stimilus by suggesting they know for sure it will fail and kill America once and for all, didn’t have the same vision before they voted for Bush.
Is Obama really such a huge threat to the future stability of America? No. He is slowly already improving America, collecting it from the gutter in which it was left after the Bush regime. Will America survive Obama, despite Senators like Republican Senator Mel Martinez refered to Obama as a ‘threat’?. The answer, of course, is yes, America will survive Obama, and i’d suggest, America will come out of the Obama Presidency a lot better placed within the World than the isolation of America under Bush.
The paradox of the founding fathers in 1787; the fight for freedom despite the continued use of slave labour, is echoed down the centuries in the unforgivable paradox that the Republicans have created a mess of a system, in which CEOs and Bankers are taking public money that they have not earnt for themselves in absolutely huge amounts whilst the rest of America struggles to feed their families, who could have used that money for themselves. America was born on paradox. It will overcome it again, through the measures put forward by the Democrats, to bring morality back to Wall Street.