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Closing arguments – Why I Continue to Support Barack Obama, Economy

I continue to be amazed at how some Americans will believe just about anything. Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Barack Obama was born in Indonesia. Barack Obama is a Muslim. Barack Obama is a communist. Over the last five years, I have heard it all. I’m sure somewhere I read that Barack Obama is really a space alien from the planet Alpha Centurai.

President Barack Obama has led the country in truly trying times. It’s only been over the last 15 years or so in which our political discourse has deteriorated so much that it doesn’t matter what you say or how you say it. Fierce opposition will arise. Take, for example, a truly simple problem – the collapse of Chrysler and GM. This should have been an easy bipartisan fix. Sure, there are some folks on Capitol Hill who are the ultimate idealists and believe that government intervention is never the right answer. But there only a few of those true ideologues. There are some these idealists on both sides of the aisle. President Bush started the process of helping the auto industry by giving them a bridge loan until the new administration could take office. Barack Obama took this initiative and ran with it. Almost instantaneously Republicans were against it. From a truly economic standpoint, the collapse of GM and Chrysler would’ve been catastrophic to an ailing American economy. Instead of Americans being able to rally around one of our signature industries, this quickly dissolved into a huge fight. Suddenly we had the great big, huge government takeover of an industry. Barack Obama was painted by his opponents as a Marxist or a socialist because he did the sensible thing. GM, Chrysler and Ford are now back on the right track. Their loans are paid back. They’re more competitive than ever. Millions of Americans now have jobs because our government stepped up and stood up for the American people.

When Barack Obama took office our economy was shedding over 700,000 jobs per month. It was the worst economic nosedive since the Great Depression. For many Americans, the Great Recession came out of the blue. Most of us were unaware that our economic boom in 2005 and 2006 was standing on a very precarious foundation. The housing market collapsed. Millions were laid off. Great Wall Street firms were folding like a deck of cheap cards. First Bear Stearns. Then Lehman Brothers. Merrill Lynch, a household name, was pulled from the brink of extinction by Bank of America. The stock market was tanking. It was ugly. It’s only with 20/20 hindsight that can we step back and look at how close we came to a real, honest to goodness depression. In my opinion, we were this close to unemployment rates of 15%, 18% or even 20%.

Barack Obama decided we needed an economic stimulus. Many economists were talking about a stimulus that was somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% of GDP. That would’ve been $1.5 trillion. Christine Romer, chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, had $1.2 trillion as her starting point. By the time the plan bounced around the administration and before it got to Capitol Hill, the plan was trimmed to $800 billion. This price tag was simply too much for many conservatives in Congress. They went crazy. There’s no other way to describe their response. In order to win bipartisan support, the president and his advisers removed some of the stimulative projects and inserted tax cuts. They continued to insert tax cuts until they were able to get enough Republicans on board to pass the stimulus package. Let’s remember that not all government spending is going to stimulate the economy in the same way. In spite of the wrangling, the administration was able to get an economic stimulus passed. It wasn’t the best package, but it appeared to be enough to stop the economic free fall that we were in.

Over the last two years, our economy has been the little engine that could. Slowly but surely gaining momentum. Wages remain stagnant but we’ve seen an economy that has gained private sector jobs for 31 straight months. We’ve seen an economy that has gained over 100,000 jobs per month for the last eight months. Things are getting better. Consumer confidence is up. Home prices have stabilized and they are beginning to rise. New-home construction is improving. Things are getting better.

The reason I voted for Barack Obama (I voted early) is that, he has guided our economy from the depths of despair to today when all Americans can see that things are getting better.

By |2012-11-04T21:42:08-04:00November 3rd, 2012|Congress, Economy, Elections, Party Politics|Comments Off on Closing arguments – Why I Continue to Support Barack Obama, Economy

Thursday Afternoon News Roundup

The Swing

  • I took some golf lessons with my grandson yesterday. We then played a couple of holes of golf. Playing with a seven-year-old is clearly different than playing with my normal partners. πŸ™‚
  • President Barack Obama announced a loose timetable for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. I’ve talked about Afghanistan on a number of occasions on this blog. In 2006 and 2007, I referred to Afghanistan as the “good war.” That was probably a little naΓ―ve. If our goal remains to make sure that there is no sanctuary for Al Qaeda, I’m not sure that we’ve achieved that goal. I don’t think that we have the ability to remove lawlessness from the world. (Al Qaeda will always look for pockets of the world where government intervention is minimal. There remain vast spaces of Asia, Africa and the Middle East where this is still true.) So maybe our strategy should be to infiltrate pockets of extremism and strike when they become a threat. Anyway, I believe that President Obama has made the right step in drawing down our presence in Afghanistan.
  • The McKinsey healthcare study has been widely panned. I think that healthcare needs to be a basic right in the United States. We need to extricate employers from the health-care system. Employers need to stick to what they do best. We need to be able to pay for basic healthcare services (we can argue or discuss what those basic healthcare services are) through a government based program.
  • Denny Green, as coach of the Arizona Cardinals, had a famous tirade after losing a game. He stated, “They are who we thought they were.” I think the same can be said for Godfather Pizza CEO and Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. The former CEO was asked about oil production and he said his solution would be to appoint oil executives to a commission or a board and they would tell him which regulations they would follow. Mr. Cain, we have been through this before. This was a core belief, a core principle of George W. Bush. Let industry police themselves. Sounds good, if it weren’t for all that money they would make by skirting the rules. Bush implemented such policies in Texas as governor and of course he implemented the same policies as president of the United States. What we got was lawlessness. Air quality worsened. Water quality worsened. Oil prices increased. The reason that we had several food recalls was that we weren’t policing the food industry any more. They cut corners and people died. We saw none of the benefits that Republicans have touted.
  • More on the Justice Clarence Thomas ethics scandal. I have no idea how we can make this guy resign. He will not bow to pressure. Congress has little or no stomach for true investigations. Everything seems to turn into a political circus on Capitol Hill. I doubt the Justice Department wants to take on something so controversial. Therefore, Justice Thomas and his shady ethics will continue.
  • Oh, let’s get back to Herman Cain. He’s happy to play the race card whenever it suits him. I think that suggesting that Jon Stewart is attacking him because he’s Black is not a good strategy. I think when you say something stupid like all bills should be no longer than three pages, you should expect to be late-night fodder.
  • House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is pulling out of the deficit reduction talks. I think it’s a wise move. If you have no intention of compromise you shouldn’t take part in a discussion which requires compromise.
  • Harvard study finds that peanuts are good for you and potatoes, not so much. If you want to stay slim, stick with peanuts.
  • It appears the United States and several industrial allies are going to tap their oil reserves to release somewhere around 60 million barrels of oil over the next 30 days in order to compensate for the loss of Libyan oil.

Claude Monet's water lilies

By |2011-06-23T12:10:23-04:00June 23rd, 2011|Afghanistan, Healthcare, Military, Party Politics|Comments Off on Thursday Afternoon News Roundup

5 big statements of the week

I found this on I thought that it was worth commenting on.

I’d like to take a few moments and go over these five big statements of the week.

  • Let’s start with this report from Moody’ This report attempts to analyze the unprecedented steps that were taken both by the Federal Reserve, Congress and the Bush/Obama administrations in order to stabilize the economy. They use a modeling technique in order to stimulate the economy. They estimate that 8.5 million jobs have been saved. They also estimate that the Gross Domestic Product would be approximately 11.5% lower without the intervention. Wow! Basically, they’re saying that government intervention worked to avoid the Great Depression 2.0. Now, I know that this will not be the last word on this. I find this paper very fascinating. For those who are interested in the economy, please read the whole paper.
  • Just as in the United States, Europe has performed their stress tests on their financial institutions and found that the vast majority of their financial institutions are fiscally sound. From a political standpoint, what else could they have found? Just for a moment, imagine that the European Union announced that the majority of their banks were unable to stand a significant stress. The panic that would ensue would cause distress and the banks will collapse. The purpose of the stress test is to calm the fears of investors.
  • There should be no surprise to anybody that the housing market remains depressed. In my opinion, the housing market has overbuilt and will take several years to alleviate that oversupply. In the meantime, there will not be much building. As I mentioned earlier, the economy has to find another fuel to drive economic engine. The housing sector just can’t do it anymore. This is why I have been pushing green energy.
  • The Democrats are unable to push through comprehensive climate change legislation. There’s almost no Republican support. The conservative Democrats have too much to lose by supporting such legislation. In my opinion, Democrats need to split up this legislation into small pieces. Small portions can pass.
  • British Petroleum has put Tony Hayward up on the shelf. They haven’t really fired him. With the amount of money he is getting, it’s hard to say that he’s really been demoted. He has just been removed from public view. To be honest, Tony Hayward is not the problem. The problem is a sense of entitlement that many of these executives have. The chairman of BP had the nerve to say that they look out for the “little people.” Really? Instead of feeling lucky or deep sense of humility for running a multibillion dollar corporation and taking home a multimillion dollar salary, they seem put out and upset that one of their wells has contaminated the Gulf of Mexico. It is not the person, but the culture that is the problem.
By |2010-07-30T21:26:48-04:00July 30th, 2010|Bush Administration, Economy, Obama administration, Senate|Comments Off on 5 big statements of the week
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