Eight years of bailouts for the rich

November 14, 2016

Guy Miller adds to the discussion about why Election 2016 turned out like it did.

TUESDAY'S ELECTION was decided in March of 2009.

Just weeks after his inauguration, Barack Obama was riding a crest of enthusiasm. He had political capital. He had both houses of Congress. He had a population crying out for change and hope. In short, he had a mandate.

It was then, in those dark days of fear and anger, that Obama called the CEOs of the most powerful financial institutions in the United States to meet with him at the White House. These were the men--and needless to say, they were all men--who were the immediate cause of economic pain across the country. They feared the worst: nationalization of the banks, heavy fines, or God forbid, relief to the homeowners who they had swindled into foreclosure. They had no need to worry. Obama pointed out to them, "My administration is the only thing standing between you and the pitchforks." That was as bad as it got, a tongue-lashing.

There was a little more to it. For their crimes they were "forced" to take bailout money. Their banks were made to undergo "stress tests," which they all easily passed. But for all intents and purposes, that was it. This set the tone for the next eight years. From endorsing Social Security cuts to his unqualified support of the Trans Pacific Partnership, Obama consistently took the side of big money interests.

Image from SocialistWorker.org

Over the years of his administration the effect was cumulative. The words were always soothing, but the results were always devastating. Gore Vidal dubbed America "The United States of Amnesia," but even so, the pattern was hard to miss. By the time Tuesday's elections rolled around the rhetoric of Hillary Clinton rang hollow in millions of ears. These same millions, worn out by years of a disconnect between politicians and their daily lives, just stayed home. Sadly, millions more. desperate for even the most unlikely of solutions to their problems, voted for Trump.

Readers’ Views

SocialistWorker.org welcomes our readers' contributions to discussion and debate about articles we've published and questions facing the left. Opinions expressed in these contributions don't necessarily reflect those of SW.

Further Reading

From the archives