31 thoughts on “Bill Clinton’s attack on British Labour leader

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  11. August 3, 1993: In a nationally televised speech, US President Bill Clinton declared war on what he called the “politics of entitlement,” defending an austerity budget and reaffirming his pledges during the 1992 election campaign to “end welfare as we know it.”

    The speech came as the Democratic-controlled Congress was passing a budget which marked a political watershed for American capitalism, as the Democratic Party scrapped the last shred of reformist pretense and openly proclaimed itself the instrument for the destruction of social programs. There was not a penny of the spending on public works which Clinton claimed to support in his first State of the Union speech six months earlier.

    In his speech, perhaps the most reactionary address by a Democratic president in the 20th century, Clinton denounced those who wanted “something for nothing,” by which he meant the poor, the unemployed and the elderly. He was not referring to the billion-dollar handouts to the super-rich contained in the budget, which passed only thanks to flagrant vote-buying, with rival corporate interests fighting over various changes in tax provisions.

    It was symbolic that the “swing” vote in the US Senate, whose support ensured passage of the budget, was Democrat Dennis DeConcini of Arizona. He was the leader of the “Keating Five,” the five senators who received substantial campaign contributions in return for lobbying on behalf of savings & loan magnate Charles Keating, a billionaire swindler who went to prison for robbing thousands of elderly people of their life savings.

    DeConcini was given a slap on the wrist—censured by the Senate—but retained his key position on the Senate Finance Committee, where he shepherded the Clinton budget through, and then was rewarded with lavish praise in the president’s televised address.

    Two days after the speech, on August 5, Clinton signed an executive order that for the first time set limits on spending on such entitlement programs as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Any spending above the limits would have to be reported to Congress, along with specific proposals for offsetting spending cut or tax increases.

    The only “progressive” fig leaf on the budget was a small increase in taxes on the highest income bracket, the top 1.2 percent, whose rates would increase from 31 percent to 36 percent. This was still far below the 50 percent rate that was in effect for most of the 1980s, but which was drastically slashed in the final years of the Reagan administration and then under President George H. W. Bush.

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/07/30/twih-j30.html#top

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