Cui bono?

President Obama today addressed here the Second Stimulus question — "Should we or shouldn't we do it?" — as well as the criticisms directed towards his First Stimulus program, criticism that mostly originated on his right flank:

But, as I made clear at the time it was passed, the Recovery Act was not designed to work in four months — it was designed to work over two years. We also knew that it would take some time for the money to get out the door, because we are committed to spending it in a way that is effective and transparent. Crucially, this is a plan that will also accelerate greatly throughout the summer and the fall. We must let it work the way it's supposed to, with the understanding that in any recession, unemployment tends to recover more slowly than other measures of economic activity.

But, Barack, millions are now out of work and out of luck….

Anyway, when we ponder Obama's next move, we may wish to keep in mind the following thought: As David Harvey once wrote, "Neoliberalism has meant…the financialization of everything." Given the apparent efficacy of this political totalization when compared to the relative powerlessness of those who would oppose it, "In the event of a conflict between Main Street and Wall Street, the latter [is] to be favoured. The real prospect arises that while Wall Street does well the rest of the US (as well as the rest of the world) does badly" (p. 33). And Barack Obama, like the disgraced George W. Bush, has surely sought to affirm and secure the neoliberal order shaken to the bone by the recent economic crisis. He has not attempted to undo the work of the last generation; he has only tried to save capitalism from itself. It is due to this bipartisan commitment to finance capital that the pertinent question of the moment is: Who would benefit from a Second Stimulus program, Wall Street or Main Street? Only by giving a credible answer to this question — the Cui Bono? question of the day — could one then move on to making an informed guess about what the President will do with respect to a Second Stimulus.

No comments: