Citizen Action Monitor

Don’t be fooled by Joe Biden. He’s no FDR, as two NYT journalists would have you believe

His promises have no more weight than those peddled by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. —

No 2728 Posted by fw, May 9, 2021—

“Don’t be fooled by Joe Biden.

He knows his infrastructure and education bills have as much chance of becoming law as the $15 minimum wage or the $2,000 stimulus checks he promised as a candidate.

He knows his American Jobs Plan will never create, as he says, “…millions of good-paying jobs; jobs Americans can raise their families on,” any more than NAFTA, which he supported, would, as was also promised, create millions of good-paying jobs.

His mantra of “Buy American” is worthless. 

He knows the vast majority of our consumer electronics, apparel, furniture and industrial supplies are made in China by workers who ear an average of one or two dollars an hour, and lack unions and basic labor rights.

He knows his call to lower deductibles and prescription drug costs in the Affordable Care Act will never be permitted by the corporations that profit from health care.

He knows the corporate donors that fund the Democratic Party will ensure their lobbyists pay little or no taxes.

He knows the corporate subsidies and tax incentives he proposes as a solution to eliminate the climate crisis or deal with it will do nothing to hold oil and gas fracking, shut down coal-fired plants or hold the construction of new pipelines for gas-fired power plants.

His promises of reform have no more weight than those peddled by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who Biden slavishly served, and who also promised social equality while betraying working men and women.”

Chris Hedges, Dandelion Salad / RT America

*****

“Don’t be scared.

Jam the stuff through that has majority support is such a way to guarantee Republicans can’t come back. The Republicans are a party that needs to be swept into the dustbin of history anyway. Do it!

But they [democrats] won’t. They don’t actually want to. They’re caught up in a co-dependent, mutually reinforcing relationship with an increasingly white nationalist, neo-fascist GOP. It’s a very sick game, and it’s being played on all of us, and the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”

Paul Street, Dandelion Salad / RT America

Above are two excerpts from a Chris Hedges video interview of history professor and author, Paul Street, about the Biden administration and its continuity with the Democratic and Republican administrations’ policies and programs to benefit the elite and corporate interests not working class Americans.

My repost below includes an embedded You Tube video of the 27-minute interview, along with my partial transcript of selected passages, time-indexed to facilitate access to their location on the video. I have also provided links to two articles Hedges mentions, by New York Times’ journalists, favorably comparing Biden to FDR.

To watch the video on Dandelion Salad’s website, without my partial transcript, click on the following linked titled.

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How Joe Biden is not FDR, Chris Hedges / Paul Street, Dandelion Salad / RT America, May 8, 2021

You Tube Video

Don’t be fooled by Joe Biden, Video RT America / You Tube, May 8, 2021 (27-min)

 

Partial Transcript of Selected Passages

0:00 – Chris Hedges (CH) — Today we’re going to discuss why Joe Biden is not FDR with a historian and author, Paul Street.

0:15 – Paul Street (PS) — When we look back at the ‘30s and the New Deal and how they happened, they happened because there was thunder on the left. There was dissent in the streets right before the Social Security Act and the Wagner Act, probably the two key progressive lynchpin measures – far from perfect when they excluded much of the minority and black population from their coverage, incidentally, we should not romanticize the New Deal – but they were breakthrough pieces of legislation for much of the working-class population: Old age pensions and the legalization of union organizing and collective bargaining.

The year before those happened there was a gigantic longshoreman strike all across the western coast. There was a general strike led by Trotskyist teamsters in the twin cities. There was a national textile strike. There were hunger marches from coast to coast. And every major city in this country had a resurgent left. Up in the twin cities it as often Syndicalist, IWW, and Trotskyist in Chicago, and Detroit it was Communist – probably the dominant tendency was the Communist Party – a lot of issues with the Communist Party but also a lot of great organizing.

1:34 – Chris Hedges – Don’t be fooled by Joe Biden.

He knows his infrastructure and education bills have as much chance of becoming law as the $15 minimum wage or the $2,000 stimulus checks he promised as a candidate.

He knows his American Jobs Plan will never create, as he says, “…millions of good-paying jobs; jobs Americans can raise their families on,” any more than NAFTA, which he supported, would, as was also promised, create millions of good-paying jobs.

His mantra of “Buy American” is worthless. 

He knows the vast majority of our consumer electronics, apparel, furniture and industrial supplies are made in China by workers who ear an average of one or two dollars an hour, and lack unions and basic labor rights.

He knows his call to lower deductibles and prescription drug costs in the Affordable Care Act will never be permitted by the corporations that profit from health care.

He knows the corporate donors that fund the Democratic Party will ensure their lobbyists pay little or no taxes.

He knows the corporate subsidies and tax incentives he proposes as a solution to eliminate the climate crisis or deal with it will do nothing to hold oil and gas fracking, shut down coal-fired plants or hold the construction of new pipelines for gas-fired power plants.

His promises of reform have no more weight than those peddled by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who Biden slavishly served, and who also promised social equality while betraying working men and women.

3:33 – CH — Joining me to discuss the Biden Administration and its continuity with the Democratic and Republican administrations that preceded it is history professor and author Paul Street. Paul, I know you, like I, have been stunned at the response by liberals and progressives endowing Biden with a kind of radical agenda that’s just not there. Explain to me what this is about and why it’s happening.

3:52 – PS – Well, some of what it’s about is branding. Nothing new. You may recall when Obama was elected in 2008 there were all kinds of, frankly, absurd analogies to FDR and The New Deal being made. I came to New York to sell my book “Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics” and just received all kinds of pushback from progressives, not just from liberals who wanted very badly to believe that this was a New Deal moment.

So this is kind of a recurrent theme. Christopher Hitchens once described the essence of American politics as the manipulation populism by elitism. I don’t know if the word is “populism” here, but “fake progressivism,” and the claim that there are all these things happening, or that might happen that really aren’t happening, and aren’t going to happen, and they’re certainly not the kinds of things new deal progressivism would have any reason to expect from Biden on the basis his very long-term political career in Washington DC. They used to call this guy the senator from Mastercard.

    • He rolled back bankruptcy protections;
    • he backed corporate price-fixing as a senator;
    • he helped Coca-Cola avoid anti-trust prosecution;
    • he was a champion of the North American Free Trade Agreement;
    • he helped champion financial deregulation in the 1990s;
    • and got behind the so-called welfare reform, in other words the elimination of basic family cash assistance for very poor families.

And I could go on. It’s all rather silly, but it’s part of the sales job. Right? And it may, to some extent, express a desire on the part of certain commentators and others for something like that. We are, after all, in a period of just absurd income and wealth inequality, which is intimately related back to rampant insecurity and problems of ecocide, and excessive corporate control, and oligarchy, and all those things.

So perhaps there’s some wishful thinking that’s involved in all of this as well.

6:13 – CH – Let’s talk about his address to the nation because he acknowledges that social inequality; he acknowledges the climate crisis. And then you have a response – Nicholas Kristof and Jonathan Alter in the New York Times, and others – but let’s look, as I know you have. — Let’s look at that speech itself because there are, in fact, some very disturbing, I think, trends within that speech – especially in terms of foreign policy – but let’s go through the talk.

6:40 – PS – talks about competition and competitiveness and other matters

 

14:18PROGRAM BREAK

 

14:33 – CHWe continue our conversation about the proposed reforms of the Biden administration with history professor and author Paul Street. Before the break you mentioned, quite correctly, that it matters far more who’s in the streets. And this was true for The New Deal and for FDR as well. Proclaiming that Biden is somehow going to deliver The New Deal is as false as the notion historically that FDR didn’t deliver The New Deal without serious kind of pressure: sit-down strikes in Flint; farmers’ revolts — But lay out that historical period because it shows how progressive legislation actually comes about.

15:18 – PS – Reply abridged

When we look back at the ‘30s and the New Deal and how they happened, they happened because there was thunder on the left. There was dissent in the streets right before the Social Security Act and the Wagner Act, probably the two key progressive lynchpin measures – far from perfect when they excluded much of the minority and black population from their coverage, incidentally, we should not romanticize the New Deal – but they were breakthrough pieces of legislation for much of the working-class population: Old age pensions and the legalization of union organizing and collective bargaining.

The year before those happened there was a gigantic longshoreman strike all across the western coast. There was a general strike led by Trotskyist teamsters in the twin cities. There was a national textile strike. There were hunger marches from coast to coast. And every major city in this country had a resurgent left. Up in the twin cities it as often Syndicalist, IWW, and Trotskyist in Chicago, and Detroit it was Communist – probably the dominant tendency was the Communist Party – a lot of issues with the Communist Party but also a lot of great organizing.

21:08 – CH – I want to talk about the consequences. Most of this money that Biden has proposed will go either to corporations or to the states with just a tiny miniscule amounts, one-time checks of $1400 of unemployment benefits which are about to expire, tax credit for children. But really that doesn’t in any way deal with the structural assault of the working class. Money is going to run out by the end of year. What are the consequences of that politically?

21:44 – PS —  Talks about possible of Republican party in 2024 and maybe even Trump himself. Here’s an excerpt of part of Street’s response to Hedges — 

“…unless Biden and the Dems were to get really serious — And to get serious would mean, among other things. embracing structural and institutional change in the policy system itself. They’re scared to get rid of the filibuster because then the republicans will get it in. Well guess what? – we can’t move forward without things like Green New Deal, and like a real federal minimum wage with the re-legalization of union organizing. Don’t be scared.

They’re not going to do this. I’m trying to get into a mindset of this [as] if I was a progressive democrat — but I’ll do that for a second: Don’t be scared. Jam the stuff through that has majority support is such a way to guarantee Republicans can’t come back. The Republicans are a party that needs to be swept into the dustbin of history anyway. Do it!

But they [democrats] won’t. They don’t actually want to. They’re caught up in a co-dependent, mutually reinforcing relationship with an increasingly white nationalist, neo-fascist GOP. It’s a very sick game and it’s being played on all of us, and the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

The top one percent had ninety percent of the wealth before Trump was even elected. God knows what the mal-distribution is now after COVID. I did hear Biden say something to the effect that 643 rich people became a trillion dollars more wealthy during COVID.

What are you going to do about that, Joe? Probably not much of anything.”

26:27 – CH – Well, the Democratic Party works for Goldman Sachs, Citibank. That’s who they work for and that’s who Biden has always worked for. And that is the fundamental structural problem with American politics.

END OF INTERVIEW

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