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Kiss Goldman Sachs Goodbye

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Photo credit: Robin Holland

For decades the Republicans won with tall, good-looking candidates who purported to represent the flag- and family-loving “little guy.” Romney seemed cut from the mold — an actual hereditary member of the 1 percent who spoke eloquently about the sufferings of the unemployed. But then he made his “47 percent” remarks and was revealed as a centi-millionaire who lives in his own bubble of super-wealth and has probably never ridden a city bus, punched a time clock, or dodged a collection agency in his life.

Part of the problem I think is that class polarization has gotten so extreme in this country that it’s almost impossible to find super-rich guys who can even impersonate regular people. We are a nation of the very rich and the very poor, with a lot overworked, stressed-out scramblers in the middle, who can occasionally be mobilized against “entitlements.”

Rhetoric about an imagined universal “middle class” won’t cover up the gaps. I’m waiting for Obama to recognize the existence of widespread poverty — not just the 15 percent who are officially under the poverty line, but the 30 or more percent who barely getting by from week to week. Mr. President, kiss Goldman Sachs goodbye and bail out your real constituency!

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, This Land Is Their Land, and Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America.

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  • Kipp Inglis

    You are 100% right, Ms. Ehrenreich – let ANY of our politicians walk in our shoes for a week or a month, on the money we work hard to live on – they wouldn’t be able to do it. It is LONG past time to get the GREED out of politics and get the work done that needs to be there to benefit EVERYONE in this country.

  • PMoser

    Amen to that, Barbara! I hope he will do just that, now that he doesn’t have to toady up to Goldman Sachs and their huge case of affluence poisoning.

  • Thirdcloud

    In 2008 Obama’s election was a referendum but he didn’t deliver. He was elected to preserve and protect the status quo not effect change. He has served the the centers of power but in this election he must do the bidding of the “people.”

  • Martha

    Yes And then go talk to Paul Krugman and Dean Baker about what to do next.

  • Patrick Jb Flynn

    It will take quite a bit more than a kiss goodbye.

  • Bob

    Mitt Romney, poster boy of vulture capitalism and a shape changer deluxe was the perfect president “with a enough working digits” to sign all of Grover Norquist’s dreams into law. The fact that he actually competed with Obama is a testament to the power of Karl Rove’s super pacs and other corporate bankrolling. Obama’s leadership during Hurricane Sandy showed that government IS relevant, and it may have propelled him to re-election and kept the corporate takeover at bay. But they’re still banging at the gate, and they already own a political party, the Supreme Court and a news network working tirelessly to spread misinformation and propaganda.

  • Old Uncle Dave

    Kiss Goldman Sachs goodbye?? You would not be suggesting that if you’d see the pre-nup Obama had to sign to get the job.

  • oblamer hater

    Obamas leadership?? He was doing his fn job!!! The benefit of hurricane sandy to his reelection was that it gave the press a cover story to draw attention away from his problems with Benghazi. Issa will be calling for congressional inquiry into what happened and who knew what when. Liberals should be worried at what may be found. OH that’s right, executive privilege!! If he does that, we’ll know he lied about Fast & Furious too.

  • AscendedHologram

    Um…Issa *DID* lie about “Fast and Furious.” The only scandal THERE was that Issa played up the deaths of two border patrol agents for the SOLE political purpose (and the solely political purpose) of politically assassinating the President, as well as attempting to paralyze his ATF thru fear.

    Also, three things:

    1.) The “Fast and Furious” program was one that was authorized by and initiated under the Bush Administration.

    2 and 3.) Essentially, the program that later became known as “Fast and Furious” was begun by ATF agents attempting to do their jobs of keeping guns from going over the border but were continuously stymied at *every* turn, NOT by clever criminals, but by cleverly WEAK laws (written and lobbied for by the NRA, of course) and prosecutors unwilling to pursue said criminals due to said weak laws.

    Basically, the ATF was legally *POWERLESS* to confiscate any guns to stop them from going over the border (because, after all, even tho you sign a release form stating that you are not acting as a “straw purchaser,” that doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind between the counter and the parking lot…yes, this is the ACTUAL LEGAL JUSTIFICATION for some of the pathetically lax gun restrictions in Arizona), so the agents, thinking along the lines of, “If we can’t STOP the guns from going over the border, well, can we TRACK them at least??? I mean, dear GOD, there’s gotta be SOMETHING we can do,” started a program which they dubbed “Fast and Furious” and for which they got the Bush Administrations approval and go ahead where they let guns go over the border (as they were LEGALLY REQUIRED to do before), only this time with GPS-based homing bugs attached.

    Attourney Eric Holder had NO knowledge of this program’s existence until notified via the news after those two federal agents’ deaths. As SOON as he was made aware of it, he shut it down and dismantled the program. The rest of the story you know.

    4.) If your beloved Issa was actually acting in good faith and NOT just taking MASSIVELY inappropriate advantage of the suphoena-power he’s given as a member of Congress to defame and attack this President for personal, idealogical, political gain, then why doesn’t he investigate…say…how Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA wound up in that bill? …or GOP obstructionism in congress? (Like the reports of Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConell, etc. meeting in that expensive restaurrant for more than four hours on the eve of Obama’s inauguration to swear a blood-oath to purposely TANK the economy and force Obama to take the blame for it by vehemenantly opposing EVERYTHING he attempts to do, so that, in the words of Newt, “you will remember this night as the night the seeds of 2012 were sown,” which, BTW, is also arguably TREASON.)

  • AscendedHologram

    Oh, and BTW: didn’t you get the memo? Election’s OVER. Your masters no longer need you to constantly parrot the Benghazi incident anymore.

    And speaking of which…

    You may be wondering why “the Benghazi incident” never really broke out of the right-wing bubble and Fox News and into the mainstream media, even tho the story was actually TRUE for once:

    It’s because Fox and the Right, in a rather PATHETIC display of dishonest, partisan political hackery, ONLY attempted to use that story to milk/exploit it for political gain. That’s IT, and the country KNEW it, and after how everyone fell for the LAST lie-filled scheme like this to come out of Fox and the right-wing bubble-press, “Fast and Furious,” they no longer had any credibility left, so NO ONE even gave them a second glance when it came to the Benghazi story!
    I suppose the lesson for Fox would be to pick their battles…and to NOT push their luck.

  • Anthony Thomas

    I agree, but its up to US to PUSH HIS BOOTY. A 3rd Party might be need to threaten the Democrats to stay on course but in the meantime we need to push and push hard and anybody that says give it some time/space needs to be kicked to the curb. This Fiscal Cliff is a serious issue but it will likely get kicked down the road again until the next Congress is sworn in. Gridlock is likely as well, we’ll have to wait until Mid-Terms to change the scope of Congress to the progressive side again, no Conservadems/Blue Dogs.

  • A.O.W.M.

    Ms. Ehrenreich has it right, I think. I have a friend who’s an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and who when I showed him this bit of opinion agreed with it completely. Just shows to go ya, as they say, that not every Angry old White Man (my buddy and I both qualify, regrettably) voted for the Governor. We’re all Americans, let’s get to work.

  • A.O.W.M.

    Liberals? Conservatives? Wasn’t that earlier in the week? I understand your concern, oblamer hater, and yes, there should be an investigation. There are good Americans who didn’t come home. But let’s also stop the pre-election language and let’s also get the country moving in the direction that satisfies and benefits as many Americans as possible. Or if nothing else, dissatisfies as few as possible. If we have to stay up later at night to get it all done at once, well, there’s always No-Doz. Let’s get to work. And this is an angry old white man talking!

  • DrBob Osenenko

    Disparity in American life has been on the rise since the 60’s but thanks to this author for stating the obvious. Reporters need to think about using the Studs Terkel model and get out of the office more if they think this is a new trend.

  • David Knight

    Cut from the mold? (Any of various fungi that often cause disintegration of organic matter.) As in something feeding on a stale crust of bread before being kicked down to the 47%.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve re-read your comment 4 times and still find myself impressed at how well you articulated these truths. I wish I could ‘fan’ you as we do at another web site. I do that to learn. I fan people who I might not agree w/as well; practicing an open mind and all.

    Anyway, thank you for such a well written, well thought out comment. Now I’ve got to research some of your talking points. Somehow I have a feeling that you won’t take offense from that either.

    Lost souls rembrd

  • Anonymous

    I hope you don’t mind but I just twittered your comment. peaCe

  • Sara

    you’re an idiot

  • Connie NoRomneyever Mauricio

    He kissed Goldman Sachs good-bye in this election. They gave Obama camp contributions in 2008, this time they went with Romney..and lost.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Ms. Ehrenreich. Not only the President, but Congress should be forced to live on the salaries of working Americans and then let’s see how fast the statistics on the cost of living would actually be forced to rise up! Not only that but I’m sure that SS which contributes NOTHING to the debt would be left alone. The GOTP complain about “entitlement spending” – well how about we cut out WELFARE (subsidies) for the rich & corporate – no more “carried interest”, no more welfare to big oil/coal/gas/pharma/agriculture, mortgage deductions for 2nd, 3rd, 4th homes needs to be cut, off-shoring your banking – you automatically should be required to pay a 25% penalty, I’m sure that there are a whole lot more deductions within the tax code that the rich & corporate avoid paying that should be lined out! Not to mention we need to do away with Too Big Too Fail!

  • Lee Rowan

    Anybody who wants to run for public office above mayor of a city under 1 million people should be required to live on minimum wage for 6 months to a year — in low-income housing, with NO handouts from or visits to better-heeled friends or relatives. If they can’t hack it for 6 months, they aren’t tough enough to do the job or well-educated enough to understand the problem

  • Lee Rowan

    He was doing his job. A pleasant change from the “leadership” during Katrina, wasn’t it?

  • Lee Rowan

    A kick in the butt would be useful.

  • Sharon Johnson

    Oh sure — bring up the Katrina issue. Then you need to face the fact that the mayor of NO was a big issue on that one, not Bush. And what about Issac that recently hit NO? Romney was there. Where was obama? Oh, that’s right, he was in Vegas and didn’t go to NO for a couple of days.

  • Last Eye of Odin

    Absolutely right, ma’aam… but, first things first. we had an election to win. we won it. we had a plutocracy to discredit. we discredited it. we had an oligarchy to overturn. it is upside down, and has wasted billions trying to buy the election. Now, it is time to systematically clean the rats out of the house. I suggest we start with the despised vermin governor of Florida, rick scott. we want our trains, ricky. we want our Sunshine State back. We do NOT want you.

  • Last Eye of Odin

    B.S. – Bush took the seat, Bush takes the HEAT ! in case you weren’t watching, President Obama had a little lesson for you on how it SHOULD be done… just ask the governor of jersey, if you missed it.

  • Last Eye of Odin

    B.S. – well over seventy different peices of reconstructive legislation was filibusted and torpedoed by an obstructionist treasonous republican congress who had sworn to keep Our President from accomplishing anything he tried to do. And that will be all of that… sure, they’re going to keep trying to overthrow our constitution. sure, they’re gonna try to rape the country. sure, they’re gonna hold on until NOT ONE OF THEM IS RE-ELECTED. What we see here is a failure to communicate. what we see here is the beginning of the end of the old weasels ruleing the hen house.

  • Judy L. B. Chojnackska

    I could not agree more! We are sitting on the verge of disasters daily, unable to use our jobs to build a future, we are barely getting by, or are not at all.

  • heidi jo bean

    Where was your outrage when 11 embassies and consulates were attacked under GW’s presidency? 43 were killed and over 90 injured. We were attacked. Have some respect for the dead patriots families and follow their lead when they say “‘t politicize their deaths.” Issa is wasting resources…like Fast & Furious.

  • DragonTat2

    Cory Booker, 2016.

  • Guest

    Americans die every day in unsecure zones of the planet, even in the US 2000 people get shot by luntaics or should we call them terrorists?, as Obama did in the Rose garden the day after the event.

  • Debbie Fields

    And how did these guns wind up in Lybia???

  • Debbie Fields

    This is not just a political story to the American people. The whitehouse had time to gather in the war room, watch the whole thing as it unfolded on TV and watch it from outside via a US drown but they didn’t have time to get those four men any help? Political obama and the rest may want you to think so but as the families of these four men and the American people!

  • Debbie Fields

    Then they freakin lied about it!

  • Debbie Fields

    Has he done ANYTHING to help those people in the past 4 yrs besides sending in the military because their police department is so corupt?

  • Herman Morgan

    Thanks to Bill Moyers and Barbara Ehrenreich for a short but astute article that focuses on US, the Working Poor, that used to be America’s fabled Middle Class. While I believe that the “Grover Norquist Pledge” is illegal, and certainly unconstitutional, Let’s start our own Pledge, to Vote Out Everyone of the TeaLiban who slithered into Office during the 2010 Mid-terms, and Every other Representative that doesn’t tear up and disavow that Pledge to work for the Wealthy, and not for the Constituents who sent them to Washington with Hopes for Change, and instead got a rebirth of the old “Know Nothing” party.

  • Herman Morgan

    Well Said Angry Old White Man, I’m one of those too, and agree that it’s time to stow the rhetoric, and get down to the business of The Future !

  • Mel Haun Sr

    Considering the obstruction, with only 133 days of filibuster proof Senate, and the amount he did get done, that is so unfair The sad thing is, we still have a problem with the House and a no Filibuster proof Senate. Till at least the mid term, when Maybe, just maybe we can get rid of the rest of the teabaggers.

  • Mel Haun Sr

    Well, to start with, there are too many errors, despite what seems to be good intentions.

    ONE Goldman Sachs went with Willard this go round. TWO The inference that Obama has not been poor is false. Whether he still relates to that I cannot say.

  • Sue Christensen

    In 2016 I want a LEADER to emerge.

  • Anonymous

    Goldman Sachs is our Government…

  • Cindy Hurd

    Acsend…what an amazing post..truly an eye-opener. Thank you!

  • Dana

    I have come across a number of people who voted for Obama, but couldn’t pinpoint 3 reasons why…what they did describe wasn’t so much an affection for Obama, but a distaste towards the rich, white, starchy, religious candidate that they truly don’t believe accurately represents the America we live in today, or Americans, more specifically. In my very limited experience talking about politics at all with anybody, it almost seems like less “Pro-Obama” and more so “Anti-Romney”…just an observation, limited as it may be.

  • Anonymous

    How bad is it out here? I lost my last good job in 2001. My husband leaves for work each morning convinced he’s going to be laid off that day.

    I turned our small 2.5 acre-double wide mobile home place into a small, sustainable, working farmette. I’m organizing with others in my community to get as many people as possible doing the same. From apartment dwellers with container gardening, to home owners on postage stamp lots, and ‘real’ farmers with 5 or more ares.

    While my husband still has a job, we’ve got at least 3 projects expanding the potential to actually live off our place.

    The election was secondary to these efforts, no matter who ‘won’, most of us are still sitting in the same leaky, rotted wood canoe, paddling furiously with a garden rake up the proverbial s**t creek.

    Come a rebellion, we’ll bring the eats.

  • Logan John Davis

    Great words and I hope the President actually sees this letter.

  • beebop22

    BRAVO :)

  • Calden Jones

    Debbie, Google Bengazi timeline, CBS. The Fox version is a lie.

  • Dean Osborne

    I hope the president hangs tougher on negotiating with Republicans this time around. DO NOT GIVE IN! Let the Republicans take us to the fiscal cliff. With an approval rating of 9%, I certainly think they have more to lose in 2014.

  • abutterflybreeze

    Our citizen education and commitment to watchdog/insist is inherent to empowering ourselves and our leaders. A shredded semblance of democracy remains, it must be strengthened and the ideology of human decency and tolerance fortified. We cannot sleepwalk as U.S. citizens through the next 4 years ~

  • abutterflybreeze

    hear hear!

  • James O’Flaherty

    The meeting that you referred to was never denied and a two of their number even boasted about their participation.It took place the night of the inaguration at the Caucus Resturant in Washington D.C. Included among the conspirators were: Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.) Senators Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). Newt Gingrich, and Frank Luntz were also in attendance. Mc Connell subscribed to the outcome of their plans but never attended the meeting.
    The plan was to Go after Geithner with regard to failing to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes while at the International Monetary Fund(And Kyl did that the very next day: ‘Would you answer my question rather than dancing around it—please?’)
    Show united and unyielding opposition to the all of the president’s economic policies.
    (Eight days later, Minority Whip Cantor would hold the House Republicans to a unanimous No against Obama’s economic stimulus plan.)
    Begin attacking vulnerable Democrats on the airwaves.
    (The first National Republican Congressional Committee attack ads would run less than two months later)
    Win the House in 2010.
    Obstruct and critisize the Obama administration relentlessly and Win the White House and the Senate in 2012.
    Mitch McConnell waited until October 2010 to state that his party’s primary goal in the next Congress was to make Obama a one-term president.

  • Dirk Faegre

    What IS it with people who believe the sun rises and the sun sets on the “Benghazi issue”? They seem to want to believe that this is the defining moment of the Obama administration.

    I rather think they happened upon an “ah-ha” moment for them. An opportunity to have their own personal IED which would hopefully blow the president out of the White House. Unfortunately, for them, these failings happen in every administration — no matter the party in power.

    They thought they had one with the birther issue …. after running that one into the ground for years and years, along comes this one and …. bingo. A new false bead upon which they can aim their feeble minds. Cute. But dumb.

    PS And what about Romney’s comment that was premature and inappropriate regarding Benghazi? Doesn’t that count for something?
    PPS If you don’t like Obama’s executive privilege because it implies “coverup”, then you should be exasperated over Mitt’s refusal to release his tax returns — talk about someone with something to hide!

  • Dirk Faegre

    Debbie, Debbie, Debbie, you’re not paying attention. You appear so wrapped up in “proving” your point, you’ve dropped the facts.
    Here’s one for you. The Administration DID send troops ASAP. Problem was the closest ones were far away and it too long to get there; but get there they did.
    Time for you to quiet down, get the real facts and approach this with knowledge and calm. Stop trying to find the failures and ignoring the successes. It’s this sort of thing that marginalizes the Tea Party and now ALL Republicans. …. and most of all … YOU.

  • Dirk Faegre

    Yep. Fully supported the building of very expensive barriers so it won’t happen again. And supported supplying material to be ready if it happens again. How’d you miss that, Debbie?

  • Dana

    That would be amazing…they should also have no health insurance and no vehicle…bus only

  • Kay Finley

    Yes, Yes, Yes, Barbara, but I do not expect it to happen. I think Paul Krugman’s “End this Depression, Now” tells us we do not have to have our people suffering – we can stop it now. But even NPR had Republican after Republican on this week spreading their disinformation. And half the population is listening constantly to the lies of FOX news. Propaganda is propaganda whether it comes from a government or the corporations.

  • Joanne Freda

    And Elizabeth Warren

  • Joanne Freda

    We need to encourage the fiscal cliff and here is why. Tax breaks for everyone will expire so then come Jan 2013 Dems can propose tax breaks for under250,000 income only and force Reps to decide whether to vote against that bc they want tax breaks for the super wealthy too. They vote against that and they will be voted out of office and we know power trumps everything.

  • Jon

    Obama IS the corporate takeover. His policies have expanded the federal government beyond our wildest nightmares. This country has become a nation of misinformed and misled people. This election, we had the opportunity to elect a man with the EXACT set of skills, knowledge, and previous experience to cut through this progressive, socialistic shape shift our country has undergone under president Obama. I just can’t believe the American people didn’t recognize it. We need less government NOT more. This is why America was founded in the first place: to live in a nation run by the people we can do a much better job than the federal government can and unfortunately we have just lost that chance. Pay close attention to what happens over the next eight years due to what this president has put into action. You called also take a look into Greece and some other European countries for a bit of forshadowing. Mitt Romneys principles for growth and stimulating the economy were everything that America needs and we didn’t elect him based on his skin color, finacial status and the Obama administrations murderous (character killing) campaign. I have never heard so many lies come from just one politician. Unfortunately, I don’t believe we will get any truth out of this president. So America, you got what you wanted: four more years of wasteful spending, another round of unemployment, a healthcare law that many businesses can’t afford, and free birth control. Sadly, many of you have put your own personal desires before the good of the country and you are responsible for this step towards the end of the America we used to love.

  • Winter Green

    In the mid1980s 13 countries agreed to coordinate The Great Global Restructuring. It was done under Thatcher, Reagan … the same thing: break Unions, put jobs in direct competition with shareholder profits, cut costs by reducing the work force, sell off government assets, privatize and contract out government agencies and services, reduce tariffs, run government agencies like businesses …. should I go on? Probably not. The Free Market became the ONLY worthwhile perspective. Making money from money, a debt economy, leveraging, arbitrage, private equity, stripping assets, corporations with no national loyalty, mergers/acquistions. It’s all the same.

    This is no way to run a global economy if a global economy should be run as ‘one thing’. Without a focus on healing our planet there will be no economy

  • SoWhat???

    Here’s what is coming from the “success for everyone, not just for the few” idiot progressives. First will be a national Value Added Tax (sales tax) to provide “more revenue for important investments”. Then will come some sort of Wealth Tax. Everyone will pay an annual tax on all assets…homes, savings accounts, IRA/401k accounts, etc. All in the name of “fairness” and “economic justice” since it’s unfair that some people live well below their means so they can put some money aside for savings and investing. Uber-leftie “charitable trusts” will be exempted of course, so they can keep funding socialist propaganda like Bill Moyers’ show.

  • Maryellen

    Thanks for these comments. Barbara. Having long ago fallen from the middle class, I now consider myself one of the working poor, living from paycheck to paycheck. Many people I know are in the same situation and I think most of us voted for Obama. I’m hoping for just a little relief, too.

  • Anonymous

    Shame on your pathetic money-centric greed–money you probably don’t even have, but would shill on behalf of uber-CEOs, who play you for the sucker that you appear to be. The American dream is not an individual mandate for self above all others. *is* off…

  • Anonymous

    Nonsense. If anyone is misled, it’s you. You would have picked a Romney over an Obama. Greed. Disgusting. All about you, nobody else. Dream on.

  • John Allison

    Blah Blah Blah , Yada Yada Yada Fox Speak Nonsense….SHAME ON YOU….