Posted: 08 February 2009 at 9:29pm | IP Logged
Ok dokies, long weekend done, time to defend Obama as I had promised.
What stimulates the economy? What is the trick to get the markets booming again? Even award winning nobel prize winning economists will not be able to give you the answer. The fact is economics is not an exact science. There are way to many variables and they never behave the way they are intended too.
The two political parties of the United States have two contrasting opinions on how such economic policies should be handles. The Republicans believe in decentralization and strengthening the private sector. Hence the 2008 bill focused on reviving the private sector. It makes sense because large financial companies have a higher stake in economy.
The democrats on the other hand lean more towards centralization and letting the government take charge. The private sector owes no loyalties, but the government is accountable to people. So it makes sense that the government take charge of a crisis.
If you look at economists - libertarian economists who beleive in
market freedom oppose the bill. Economists beleiving in macroeconomic
importance of the government support the bill. There are lauded
professors and nobel prize winners on both sides.
Personally, I feel that as long as scales are even the free market is feasible. However, in the current situation - the government ought to take control. This is just the ideological difference. Any person can see otherwise and feasibly defend it.
Regarding the accusations of Obama lacking communication. Communication cannot occur in a deadlock. That is the way Congress runs. Opposing parties force their ideologies, till a result is forced. I have always felt that Democrats lack a backbone. Too many democratic congress reps gave into Republican demands for the Iraq war spending bill. Too many democratic reps let Republican senators insert very myopic clauses that served their own state.
Obama finally is a Democrat who is showing some spine. I was initially rooting for Hillary because I thought Obama lacked experience. However, I was compelled to pick Obama because I did not think I could sacrifice my ideology and Obama showed the quality of standing by his ideology. The economic bill is not something I think he ought to have sacrificed on. In fact I was very upset to hear all the tax cuts planned. I am not one who voted for him for bipartisanship - I voted him in for integrity to his ideology. He is sticking to it and for me it makes a world of difference.
Besides the Republicans were pre-determined to be hard on him and oppose him. Losing the house and the senate stings them and they will try to hurt the democrats in any way they can. It just amazes me at the audacity of so many Republicans who passed so many prize pork projects for themselves whine like babies that they cannot do it any more because there is a new kid on the block.
For example Republicans oppose the funding to the 'Arts', because they oppose it as frivolous. We have a beautiful city owned 'Overture Center' struggling due to the economy. Arts funding will help it rehire people, increase staff and organize more programs. The arts is not just pretty pictures on the wall, but real people behind them too. They oppose education spending. Too many schools have cut back extra curricular activities, too many universities have hiked fees, the average college debt is increasing alarmingly. Teachers are being underpaid or forced to retire early. Putting back money in education will change that and education is the greatest investment in the future. They oppose funding to green business. For me when telecommunications and the bigwigs outsourced it was a small local agbusiness that gave me a job. Green business is a source of livelihood for us and hundreds and thousands across the country. It is a growing local industry and potential to create many jobs. It is evident that they are opposing factors that they do not believe in.
However, I will want to add there are two senators I truly respect for always thinking the big spending picture and avoiding pork - Russ Feingold and John McCain. Yes I disagree with McCains economic sensibilities, but I appreciate his effort of avoiding pork. Then again pork barrel projects are relative terms. Jonathan Cohn has an excellent essay on questioning if pork is really as bad as it is made out to be.
As for Obama owning the bill. He cannot. The president can set legislative agenda to introduce the bill. He can give his input. However, he is not constitutionally allowed to "own" the bill. Passing a bill is 100% congresses responsibility. Of course he could do what FDR did for the New Deal era and do twist his arm around everything. That is just not right though. The constitutional process is there for a reason. Try as he might a President cannot keep hundred percent track of a bill. He may tell the appropriations committe what he wants to see. The appropriations committee may do as the president wishes. But once the bill hits the house debate floor - so many changes can take place. Jeez the American Recovery and Reinvestment act is 647 pages long. I bet even the opposition does not know more than what they picked to oppose.
What the President does do is sign the bill into law or send it back with ammendments or veto it. We know that Obama wants to sign it into law, hence his urge to push it through the way he wants it.
As for being being bipartisan. He was speaking at a Caucus. A caucus is a party gathering. It is intended to boost party morale and increase party unity. It is to set party agenda for the next session. Neither Republican nor Democrat speaks bipartisan at a party caucus.
As for his speech he ditched the teleprompter. He spoke from his heart. He is a man with conviction. He does not go by mere written speeches, he feels what he says. His slow deliberate speaking style is indicative of a person who thinks, feels and speaks. Spontaneous speakers are more deliberative.
For the spend spend spend. Do not worry the money is not coming from the 'treasury'. It is coming from the 'reserve'. It is not your money. It is the 'reserves' money. It will most likely result in devaluation of the dollar, but it will initiate circulation into the economy. Republicans also would have spent money - just in a different way.
Now I do not 100% agree with the bill. There are aspects that are not needed, there is a lot I do not like. I disagree with welfare increases, medicaid increases as well as the expenditure on the analog to digital switch. However, 80% of the bill makes sense. We cannot really predict outcomes, the best thing we can do is take a chance and let what we know will work fix it.