Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Anti-New Deal Hillary Clinton sides with the Tea Party, and supports a minimum wage DECREASE for young Puerto Rican workers. This is an early sign of how she will govern the nation, if elected president.

Above: Shortly before the New Deal, two large hurricanes hit Puerto Rico and caused widespread devastation. During the New Deal, policymakers made massive investments in the island's infrastructure, through the CCC, WPA, PWA and other work & construction programs. In the above photograph, we see houses in Tras Talleres, Puerto Rico, that were raised up by workers in the Civil Works Administration, ca. 1933-1934, to keep them clear of flood waters. Today, the policy approach is quite different. Instead of large amounts of assistance, the federal government says, in effect, "If you're hurting, we'll hurt you some more." Photo from the book, America Fights the Depression: A Photographic Record of the Civil Works Administration. Used here for educational, non-commercial purposes.

Anti-New Dealer Hillary Clinton has recently thrown her support behind right-wing legislative efforts to address Puerto Rico's debt crisis - efforts that include the establishment of an undemocratic oversight board and a decrease in the minimum wage for young Puerto Rican workers (see, e.g., the "PROMESA" bill summary here). 

These legislative efforts are also supported by the Tea Party group, "Tea Party Forward" (see, e.g., here, p. 6). This puts Clinton in partnership with the Tea Party, and is an early sign of how she will govern the nation if she makes it to the White House. She will consistently cave to the right, and cater to her Wall Street backers, just as her predecessor and political doppelganger, President Obama, has done. They call it "necessary compromise." Further, since Bill Clinton tried to privatize Social Security, and Obama offered to cut it, and Hillary hesitated on expanding it, we can be fairly certain that Social Security will be at great risk under a Hillary Clinton administration. She may very well offer it up as a sacrificial compromise to Republicans and Tea Partiers.

This is what Hillary said about the legislation involving Puerto Rico: "While I have serious concerns about several provisions in this bill, including the creation of an oversight board that would exert substantial control over Puerto Rico, I believe that we must move forward with this legislation." This is the style of language that Obama has used, over and over again, when caving to the right, and the style of language that Hillary will use, over and over again, when she caves to the right.

Why do politicians like Obama and Clinton consistently cave to the right? Because (a) they're conservative politicians, (b) they have no fight in them, even for the few progressive policies that they might be sympathetic towards, and (c) austerity has no negative effect on them personally, because they're multi-millionaires - the Clintons, for example, don't make minimum wage or struggle financially; they make millions of dollars giving worshipful speeches to banksters, Wall Street groups, and other financial fraudsters. As for President Obama, he can afford to send his kids to exclusive private schools and Ivy League colleges. In sum, their experience with the current state of poverty in America is extremely limited; and their empathy is even more limited.        

New Dealer Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, rightly condemns the Puerto Rico legislation as another round of foolish austerity: "We have an important choice to make. Do we stand with the working people of Puerto Rico or do we stand with Wall Street and the Tea Party? The choice could not be clearer."

Hillary Clinton has made her choice, standing with Wall Street and the Tea Party. And yet, many Democratic voters declare "I'm with her!" and claim she's a great progressive, and will fight hard for working families.

Isn't that amazing?

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