Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

State of the Union not getting fixed fast enough for left and right

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“Reinventing the wheel” is probably one of the lamest phrases used today. But when it comes to fixing the economy, why are we reinventing the wheel?

The “good news” about the Great Depression from the 1930s is that we now have a blueplan for what to do in troubled times, and what not to do in troubled times.

So why aren’t we following these plans?

The State of the Union is really not good. And it doesn’t feel like the focus has been on the economy. This isn’t one of those right-wing rants against fixing health care. Fixing health care would have really helped the economy.

The first stimulus package was more juice cocktail — full of water and high-fructose corn syrup — than juice. It wasn’t strong enough even without the unneeded tax cuts. We have Obama’s 3-year spending freeze proposal.

Both elements were watered down to please Republicans. Did that work? Uh, no.

That President Obama wants to make jobs the highest priority in 2010 sounds nice. Even encouraging. But where has that fight been, and why wasn’t it stronger from the start.

We have a game plan that brought in success back in the Great Depression. Years later, we applaud FDR for what he did, and even put his likeness on the dime.

We applaud Franklin Delano Roosevelt for his true political courage, for doing what was best for the country, politics be damned. Roosevelt didn’t cajole to the Republicans or the banks. He stood up for the people, not Wall Street.

Obama has repeated to us that we saved the worst from happening. This is true, but in the beginning of 2010, hearing this once again is starting to be tiring. We’re tired of “saving jobs”; we want to start creating jobs.

He talks about how we inherited two wars. Well. Obama escalated one war and hasn’t shut down the other one. And his spending freeze won’t change that. If we are worried about money, let’s reapportion it back to the people of the United States.

Would FDR be hesistant to push banks to loan money to businesses willing to employ more people. Letting those banks do what they wanted, instead of what the people needed.

FDR wasn’t afraid to be radical in times of desperation; Obama seems hesitant. Here’s the cruel irony: the more Obama would take charge, and go against the desires of the rich and Wall Street, the more political support he would get from the left and the right.

Oh, Obama could be Superman and not get support from the Republican establishment. The concept that President Clinton got some GOP support, mostly by bending toward their needs, has disappeared from the mindset of the Republicans.

But Obama could get support from conservatives, small c conservatives, if he would show political courage and stand up for the people.

The other advantage for Obama to show more courage is that the Republicans would be scared enough to go along. Their “strategy” of saying No to Obama is “working” because President Obama is letting it work. Offering a hand to the Republicans was genius for Obama. The problem is that the hand is still out, collecting dust waiting for a response.

We have long, long, long gone past the point of waiting. We needed action 12 months ago.

This isn’t to say Obama has done nothing. His green jobs initiatives are wonderful, short-term and long-term. High speed rail is one desperately needed infrastructure area we badly need. There are ways to use money here in the United States to invest in us and our infrastructure.

His words and actions are a considerable turn of events from the previous eight years. Obama’s enthusiasm is necessary. And there are success stories that aren’t getting enough positive press in the MSM.

But we don’t see the big, bold necessary moves to help the economy. Obama said in the speech that 1 in 10 are looking for a job. Officially, this is true. But when the President of the United States underscores how many people are searching, closer to 20% of the people need a job or full-time work and health insurance, we need stronger leadership from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

“I don’t accept second place for the United States of America.” — President Obama from the State of the Union, 2010

Let’s start coming up with policy that reflects that. It should be more than just a catchphrase once a year in late January.


Written by democracysoup

January 29, 2010 at 7:54 am

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