The Government Shutdown: Who’s To Blame?

Karl Marx said 150 years ago: “The history of human societies has been a history of class struggle”. The history of the last 30 years in the US has been a history of the rich and powerful winning the class struggle against the poor and the working class, and the trend continues. Shrinking the government and cutting spending which Republicans championed and Democrats consented to is all about taking from the poor and giving it to the rich. And this entire trend is facilitated and made possible by both corporate parties.

What matters is not which of the two parties – Democratic or Republican – is more or less responsible for continuing to cut social programs that most Americans rely on for their survival. What matters is that under current political conditions, with the two parties in charge and sharing power between them, that’s what has been taking place, non-stop, regardless of which of the two holds more power. What matters is the results, and the result is that after all the back and forth and all the talk and the dance the two parties do, we keep losing benefits and rights and corporations and billionaires keep getting richer and more powerful.

The fact is Obama, since his first days in office, has routinely, not so much capitulated – since that implies an intent different from them – but agreed and moved in lockstep with Republicans to cut social programs, and went as far as even putting cuts to social Security and Medicare “on the table”. The current operating budget in effect, right now, is the “sequestration” budget Republicans wanted which Democrats pretended to not want, at first.

We’re not stuck in economic hardship and government cutting our programs. We’re continually sliding back, continually losing more ground. It doesn’t matter how the two parties do it, how they divide the job between them, who takes the first step and who follows. What matters is not how it’s done, but that it’s done. Getting focused on who’s at fault is a distraction and a trap for losing sight of how the two work together to impose on us corporate agenda. The fact is: the two are waltzing together in perfect harmony to the same tune played by their corporate bosses and are stepping all over us. Intentionally or not, the two parties are working in a team to keep taking from us and giving it to the rich.

The whole thing is being played out like a George Zimmerman trial where Democrats pretend to be on the side of the murdered teenager, but continue to go along with all the major points that matter the most in deciding the trial outcome. Has the case nothing to do with racism? No, they both say and the judge stresses. Should Zimmerman’s attack be described as out of hatred or ill will or racism? No, they all agree.

So what’s next? The Republicans now want “entitlement reform”, which means cutting Social Security and Medicare. That’s the new step in their dance. Watch the Democrats happily follow.

James Poulos of The Forbes Magazine which can hardly be described a progressive journal, asked rhetorically, on today’s “All In With Chris Hays” show on MSNBC: “Where are the progressives” to counter the Tea Party? And answered: “They are crushed and Obama helped them be crushed”. The Republicans have no pretense as to what they stand for. They need no exposing. They do it themselves. Those who need exposing are their Democratic demagogue partners.

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