At a press conference on the economy held Friday, President Barack Obama exuded
indifference toward the plight of American workers, declaring that “the
private sector is doing fine” and adding, “We’ve seen record profits in
the corporate sector.”
With the official unemployment rate once again rising and job-creation virtually
grinding to a halt, the president heaped praise on corporate America.
“Overall,” he said, “the private sector has been doing a good job creating
Even by the debauched standards of American politics, these are remarkable
statements coming from a president presiding over the worst economic crisis
since the Great Depression. Recalling the “let them eat cake” outlook of the
Ancien Régime on the eve of the French Revolution, they epitomize a president,
party and political system wholly divorced from the people and entirely in the
service of a financial oligarchy.
It evidently never occurred to Obama, himself a multi-millionaire and long-time
political asset of corporate interests, that such statements would arouse anger
among the tens of millions struggling to survive in the midst of a campaign of
layoffs, wage-cutting and austerity.
Ironically, the White House called the press conference in large part to stem
the political and electoral damage resulting from the disastrous employment
report for May. The report, released on June 1, showed a net payroll gain of
only 69,000 jobs and a rise in the official jobless rate from 8.1 percent to 8.2
percent. The same week, the Commerce Department downgraded its estimate for
economic growth in the first quarter from 2.2 percent to 1.9 percent.