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Obama, No Longer Facing Obstructionist Republicans, Still Acting Like A Republican

Former President Barack Obama on Monday night cautioned freshman members of the U.S. House against pushing for broadly popular, sweeping reforms by suggesting that voters will reject progressive policies due to their supposed high costs - despite evidence to the contrary.

At a meeting organized by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Obama told several first-term members that they should continue to pursue "bold" policy ideas while tempering their hope for change because of the (perceived) cost of those ideas.

Puzzling, predictable and problematic.

Some slammed the former president for appearing to try to tamp down the ambition, passion, and sense of urgency many freshman, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib have brought to their work, hoping to combat a climate crisis fueled by corporate greed and politicians' complicity; a for-profit health insurance system which has left tens of millions of Americans without healthcare; and rising economic inequality. You know, saving lives and saving the planet.

Obama's remarks put him at odds with a number of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, at least 10 of whom support a Green New Deal and a majority of whom have backed a Medicare for All plan, including several who have co-sponsored Bernie Sanders' bill in the U.S. Senate.

According to the Washington Post, the former president mainly expressed concern with how voters will react to progressive policies that require financial investment.

However, the majority of the public supports the proposals, and most Americans surveyed by YouGov in January said that the wealthiest people in the country and corporations should be taxed at a higher rate in order to fund a Green New Deal. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed by The Hill also said that the top marginal tax rate should be raised to 70 percent in order to combat inequality and fund progressive policies.

On social media, some critics added that Obama's comments crystallized the results of his two terms in the White House, during which he pushed for healthcare reforms that insulated the private insurance industry; bailed out the U.S. financial system without holding big banks accountable for causing the 2008 financial meltdown and leaving working Americans still struggling through a foreclosure crisis; and failed to propose ambitious targets for reducing fossil fuel emissions.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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See also:

* Splinter: Barack Obama's Just Asking Some Questions That We Already Have the Answers For.

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Plus:

* Sun-Times: Taxpayer Tab For Roads Around Obama Presidential Center: $175 Million.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on March 27, 2019


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