Sunday, February 21, 2010

Economic Priorities of 2010 - Part Three

Of the many strong reasons I have for resenting the Tea Party movement, perhaps the most significant is that they drown out intelligent criticism of this president with their avalanche of bullshit. In the world of the Tea Party protesters, there is a very simple dichotomy which exists - one must either SUPPORT Obama out of stark raving liberalism, or one must OPPOSE him on the grounds of conservatism. The fact that there may be a more nuanced reality to this situation not only eludes them, but seems to be booed and hissed at by them as the political equivalent of speaking in tongues.

That is very unfortunate, because while I feel obligated to defend President Obama from the sundry outrageous and fatuous charges regularly levied against him by the Tea Party movement, developments such as the one described in "The New York Times" fans my own anger against the administration:

President Obama will draw on the power of his bully pulpit to mark the first anniversary of his economic recovery act at the White House on Wednesday, as administration officials fan out across the country to spotlight jobs created by the stimulus package.

It's an irony so absurd that, were it not for its tragic consequences, it would be humorous - even as conservatives all across America claim that Barack Obama is intending to turn America into a socialist state, Obama himself is trying to pass off the fact that he has done NOTHING as somehow being ENOUGH. The main reason for Obama's flagging approval ratings is because Americans, though not blaming him for our current crisis, feel that his administration has not done nearly enough to solve it. A leader with a modicum of political common sense would recognize that the way to solve this problem is to aggressively address the issues that his or her constituents are complaining about. Instead, in what can only be described as brazen arrogance and thick-headedness, Obama has decided to convince that the American people that they're wrong - that his policies HAVE worked and that, despite the suffering we experience and see all around us, that he really HAS been successful.

Let me explain, one more time, what Obama should be doing right now (I will refrain from going over what he should have done since January 2009, since such matters are currently irrelevant):

- He should pass a $1 trillion stimulus package, including $700 billion in private investment spending, $200 billion in aid to state and local governments, and $100 billion in a second WPA, all within the next three years.

- He should pass legislation that strengthens regulations on banks and large businesses (the ones that were reversed during the Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II presidencies), re-empowers labor unions (so as to give the American working class control over its income, work hours, and workplace conditions which they have sorely lacked since the Reagan era), and compels banks (the ones we technically own anyway) to stop sitting on the money we gave them and start giving out loans to small businesses.

- If Congress supports such a bill through traditional means, great. If not, he should try to force the bill home through the process of budget reconciliation, so that it will pass with 51 votes instead of 60. Should that fail, he should implement these measures via Executive Order, citing our current worsening crisis as justification for his drastic actions.

- He should accept the following political realities:
- Yes, your enemies will accuse you of seizing too much power and pushing for a socialist agenda. Guess what? You have been pitifully timid so far in your presidency, and they are already accusing you of these things. Anything short of adopting their approach hook, line, and sinker is going to be branded by Tea Partiers, Republicans, and so-called centrists as "socialistic" and "excessive" because you are (a) a Democrat and (b) black. Stop modifying your actions so as to avoid being depicted in this way, because the people who would be inclined to view you in that manner are going to do so no matter what you do.
- The average American WOULD have supported you wholeheartedy had you pushed for these measures when you first became president (I know I said I wouldn't dwell on what he should have done in January 2009, but I had to let out this jab). Now that you have had more than a year of failure on the economic front, those Americans are going to probably oppose what you do, NOT because they have any inherent ideological disagreement with your proposals but because they will suspect that such measures will simply amount to more spending with little if any discernable result. This is something that you will need to endure for the time being BECAUSE...
- Those measures would work. Let me repeat that sentence: Those measures would work. If you did what I propose - that is, if you passed a second New Deal - Americans would, believe it or not, see an immediate and noticeable improvement in their economic circumstances. Because Americans prize results more than they do the ideological mechanisms used to reach those results AND because they care more about being gainfully employed than they do about the budget deficit (which is not to say that they don't care about the deficit, but they do know how to put first things first), the positive outcome of your policies will cause you to become very, very popular. Don't believe me? See: Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson (pre-1966).

This is the last installment in the three-part series I have created, "Economic Priorities of 2010". I know that each piece has repeated many of the points made in its predecessors; this was perhaps avoidable, but I am too frustrated with what I am seeing to refrain from hammering home what needs to be said. Perhaps my greatest regret is that, because the voices of racist reactionaries are crowding out those who actually care about the welfare of America (and I stand by that comment - Tea Partiers, and their sympathizers, clearly care less about their country than they do in propogating outlandish baloney about Barack Obama because they can't stand the fact that their president is a black man), legitimate criticism of this president is being muffled.
Another victim of the economy. Thanks to Marni Blank for allowing me to use her socially conscious snowman for comedy.

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