After a decades-long drumbeat led by the Peterson Foundation, corporate media, Wall Street and their minions of both parties, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are under attack. The current raid is being led by nobody less than Barack Obama himself. Only Nixon could go to China, only Clinton could end welfare, and only a black Democrat can undermine Social Security. But where is black leadership? Why are they silent? We think we know…
Top Ten Reasons Why Black Leaders Are Ignoring President Obama’s Good Cop-Bad Cop Attack on Social Security
by BAR Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon
In the full week following the November 10 release of draft proposals by President Obama’s Commission on fiscal Responsibility, also known as the Cat Food Commission, the silence of black leadership has been deafening. Among other things, the president’s commission would cut Social Security benefits and exacerbate unemployment by raising the retirement age, would lower taxes still further for corporations and wealthy individuals, while instituting co-payments for all veterans medical services, all in the name of austerity and stabilizing the national deficit.
The president’s political strategy, as Glen Ford pointed out last month, is clear. Obama’s commission and its draconian cuts will be the bad cop. President Obama will then play the part of “good cop” offering some “compromise,” a point between actual hell, and just a very, very hot and uncomfortable place. When Bill Clinton did this, it was called “triangulation.”
But the burning question is this: Why is there no visible opposition among black leadership to these awful economic measures, measures which penalize every working and poor person in the United States? Since an outsize number of these are African Americans, that ought to make it a black issue. Nevertheless, black advocacy organizations, the black churches, who, to hear them tell it, were the sole authors and inventors of the Freedom Movement, along with virtually all the black politicians, journalists, academics and opinion leaders, are silent. Why?
We think we know. Hence and herewith, we offer the top ten reasons black leaders are silent on Obama’s campaign to cut Medicaid, Medicare and social security.
Quite a few black “leaders” have no idea the Cat Food Commission even exists.
This kind of radical cluelessness says a lot about the content and style of their “leadership.” Let’s just say their eyes are elsewhere. Watching God, maybe, in some cases. Lots of prominent black preachers, for instance, are busy campaigning against gays and vying for faith-based funding for their ministries. Both these pursuits consume copious amounts of time and energy, and the latter can be quite lucrative
Some black leaders with a vague idea that the Cat Food Commission exists haven’t read its recommendations or just aren’t paying attention.
Like the ones who have no idea at all, these are busy and important people. You can’t expect such folks to spare the time to read a 50 page report, or even talk to anybody that has. There are just so many more important things to do.
Some others are silent because they DO KNOW the Cat Food Commission exists.
Black leadership these days, such as it is, is dependent on corporate and foundation largesse. SCLC’s Atlanta headquarters was paid for by a major utility company. The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation is run by corporate execs and puts on its annual CBC Week with funds from Wells fargo, Lockheed, Bank of America and Wal-Mart. Telecom, insurance and other corporate execs on the “business roundtables” of everyplace from the NAACP to the National Association of Black State Legislators fund the activities, provide the “research” and literally set the organizational priorities. Even the black church, once financed solely by contributions from the faithful, has become shamefully dependent on faith-based taxpayer dollars. The corporate sector which bankrolls them all has unalterably opposed Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare since their inception. None of these “leaders” will bite the hands that feed them.
Some of what are called “black leadership” actually believe the corporate okie-doke about Social Security already being insolvent, a Ponzi scheme, or immoral.
For a significant share of “black leadership” being a leader means getting your opinions from the Washington Post or CNN or the New York Times. These established “leaders” value being accepted by the folks they regard as their peers, their donors, their party leaders, their professional colleagues, golfing buddies and the people that fly them to conferences and endow their departments. Not foolish enough to bite the hands that feed them, many black leaders regard it as their job to take the cues of the business world and corporate media, rather than to respond to the multiple crises of debt, incarceration, housing and joblessness experienced by the great mass of ordinary black families. Corporate media and their peers say the deficit and “entitlements” are the problem, and plenty of “black leaders” actually buy this crap.
continue reading this over at Black Agenda Report
You can also peep the Hard Knock Radio Interview we did with Bruce Dixon by clicking the link below