An open letter to President Joe Biden, as his broken promises pile up

On May Day, immigrants and supporters protested in Washington, D.C., against new “Deporter-In-Chief” Joe Biden. Photo: Movimiento Cosecha

Dear President Biden,

Your broken promises are piling up. I took note of these headlines in just the last couple of weeks: “Joe Biden Surrenders On Federal Unemployment Benefits,” “Biden Drops Student Loan Forgiveness From Latest Budget,” “Biden offers to keep 2017 Trump tax cuts intact in infrastructure counteroffer to GOP,” U.S. Says It Will Not Rejoin Open Skies Treaty With Russia.

Whew! Your haste to screw over the people who voted for you is breathtaking, I’ll give you that.

It seems like your Democratic White House hasn’t met a Trump policy it didn’t like. 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You’ve continued deporting migrants and refugees and refused to defund ICE; you’ve upped the Pentagon’s war budget yet again; you’re planning to give more money to Israel after it carried out its brutal May assault on the Palestinian people; and you decided to keep the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, where Trump moved it despite an international outcry — an added slap in the face to the Palestinians.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which you said you wanted to revive, has gone nowhere, since you refuse to drop the illegal sanctions on Iran. You’ve even picked up Trump’s bogus “Wuhan lab leak” story, blaming China for COVID-19, to further the new Cold War. No points for originality there.

You’ve continued to let Louis DeJoy wreak havoc on the Postal Service and threaten the very existence of one of the few major unionized employers of Black and Brown workers. You twiddle your thumbs and release nicely-crafted statements while the right-wing continues its attacks on Black voting rights, trans youth’s health care and education, and women’s reproductive rights. 

George Floyd’s family came to the White House on the anniversary of his murder by the Minneapolis police. All they got was another load of vague, empty platitudes with nothing to back it up. (Shoot ‘em “in the leg instead of the heart” was your campaign’s solution to racist police terror, right?)

You won election as the anti-Trump. You said you were going to reverse his bad policies. 

Despite grave doubts among the masses, the Democratic Party leadership pushed you forward as the “more electable” alternative to Bernie Sanders. Remember? 

And the publicity hacks at the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, CNN et. al. have been trying to paint your administration as the second coming of the New Deal.

So what happened? One might say, based on your record thus far, that you’re just trying to put a human face on Trump’s inhumane program. 

It seems like the only promise you’ve kept is the one you made to super-rich campaign donors in 2019, when you said that if elected, “Nothing would fundamentally change.”

Now I think we’re on to something.

The ugly truth

Elections under the U.S. two-party monopoly are all about money first, and personality second. First get the money from Wall Street and Big Business — your real employers — to fund your campaign. Then sell a personality and some promises to get people to vote for you, usually against their own interests.

You’ve been part of that system for a long, long time, President Biden. 

Here’s the part you and your colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, White House and Congress, don’t want people to know:

Your loyalty is to the profit system and its super-wealthy owners. It’s not to any principles, much less to the voters. 

This explains your actions in office. 

A substantial part of the capitalist ruling class — the owners of the banks, online stores, shopping centers, factories, real estate, Big Oil, the military-industrial complex — got tired of the racist bluster and open thievery of Trump and his entourage. They felt it was a danger to their rule, especially after the massive uprising for Black Lives in the summer of 2020.

But here’s the thing — they liked his policies.

They liked his war on immigrants and poor communities. They liked his war-mongering abroad and repression at home. They liked his privatization of public resources, and especially his tax cuts for the rich.

All of those policies were picked up and extended by Trump from earlier presidential administrations — Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc. — Republicans and Democrats alike.

And the job you were hired for by the super-rich, as their political CEO, is to continue those anti-people policies — only with a little more tact and skillful deception.

But there’s a problem with this well-worn scheme. U.S. imperialism is no longer a rising system, and world capitalism is in an ever-deepening crisis. Your bosses are no longer willing to trim their profit margins to buy a little class peace. 

You can only sell empty promises for so long.

You’re joining the Republican campaign to cut off pandemic unemployment benefits. That’s meant to force more unemployed workers to compete for the relatively few jobs available, driving down wages and benefits for everyone. 

The pandemic ban on evictions will end soon, with no plan in place to wipe out the billions of dollars of owed back rent. Food prices are rapidly rising as money gets harder to come by.

I do want to thank you for one thing. Your shallow veneer of being something other than a Trump clone is quickly melting away. 

Last Election Day, millions of working-class people were already aware that they were being sold a bill of goods when they voted for you. But they felt they had no choice but to get Trump out. Those numbers are only going to grow as your broken promises — and the system’s inability to provide even the most basic needs of the masses — pile up.

The working class will have no choice but to learn to organize independently to abolish this awful, racist, anti-people system that breeds monsters like Trump — and you. And there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

Sincerely yours,

Greg Butterfield
June 6, 2021