It started with hope and change during the 2008 elections. He was a bright star rising out of nowhere, his speeches inspiring to millions of people. He convinced independent voters he was a moderate. He was elected to the Presidency of the United States of America. His popularity extended past Americas borders.
Around the world he was seen as changing America.The perfect storm was already hitting the shores of America. Years of special interests concessions, Representatives and Senators “helping” citizens get loans for homes they could not afford, bank regulators looking the other way and on and on. The previous administration had left with the economy on the brink of collapse and America involved in two wars that were not going well. The American voter had already voiced its displeasure with the Republican party and the Democrats controlled the Congress.
The main stream media appeared to be basically an extension of the Campaign during the elections and afterwards an extension of the White House. The majority of Americans were just plain disgusted with all things Washington. This man said he had a plan, he offered hope and change. He had his filibuster proof majority in the Senate and a major majority in the House, what more could he ask for?
The left wing of the Democrats appears to see his election and their control as a mandate by the people to implement every program they ever envisioned to make America into their vision of what is fair and better. They called his election further proof of this mandate. He did win the popular vote by about 9 million votes.
During the first months of his administration the economy was a mix of confusion, some said improving as the stock market began to climb and the GDP went up a bit, but unemployment was at 10% and climbing. Mircosoft laid off over 5000 employees for the first time in the history of the company.
What are our expectations of this President? In a divided country it becomes very difficult to define what the majority really wants. We as a people are driven by many different concerns and beliefs. We span the political spectrum from extreme left to extreme right. I do believe most Americans live more to the middle of the scale than in either direction.
The Democratic majority in both houses is moving forward with several bills “designed” to help the American citizen. Health care and clean energy are currently moving through the legislative process. We are still waiting for Card-check and the financial reform bill.
The Senate version of health care reform is currently being debated and as I watch, it struck me that both sides have very convincing arguments and it is very hard to discern what is accurate or what is misleading.
I don’t have an answer to the worlds problems. As I watch the debates, listen to the news, watch the Presidents speeches and read what information is available on these matters it becomes clearer to me the we are heading towards more government control of our daily lives and higher taxes. What is not clear to me is why.
I don’t believe that the TARP by was a take over of the financial system of this country by the Obama administration, I do believe that it was mishandled from the start by the Bush administration and Congress. The major financial entities should have had many restrictions placed on the public dollars they received. It struck me that every piece of legislation concerning any expenditure of public dollars typically comes with many pages of law governing how the money can be used and very harsh penalties for non compliance. The TARP did not appear to have many if any controls. It seems the Obama administration is continuing down the same path as his predecessor, wonder why?
While I think the auto companies should have left to succeed or fail on their on and let the bankruptcy court sort it out, I don’t believe this was a take over by the Obama administration either. I do believe it was a waste of money. I don’t understand how the auto unions got a piece of ownership in the companies but they did. That will make for some interesting contract negotiations won’t it?
The stimulus is an interesting subject. I read the Summary American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This is a very interesting document, I referenced it in a previous blog, Government Stimulus: “Political or real” . This document clearly defines how the stimulus money was to be spent. If you read this document or the actual bill you will wonder how this administration can claim any of the stimulus has contributed to improving the economy. Yet they do and the claim is just ridiculous, it’s really to soon to make that claim. What are jobs saved? Why are most of the funds for government projects that are typically funded via the general fund? Here are some examples of questionable job creators from the stimulus bill , DTV Conversion Coupons: $650 million to continue the coupon program to enable American households to convert from analog television transmission to digital transmission. Medicaid Coverage for the Unemployed: Provides 100 percent federal funding through 2010 for optional. State Medicaid coverage of individuals (and their dependents) who are receiving unemployment benefits or have exhausted those benefits and have no health insurance coverage. Other optional coverage groups are individuals (and their dependents) who are involuntarily unemployed and uninsured and whose family income does not exceed 200 percent of poverty, and unemployed uninsured individuals who are receiving food stamps.” Compassion Capital Fund: $100 million for grants to faith- and community-based organizations to provide a critical safety net services to needy individuals and families. Most of the Recovery act job creators do have the potential to improve the infrastructure and will employ folks for perhaps a few years, none will create any permanent or lasting public sector jobs.
The money is being spent, contracts are be awarded and one would assume some folks are going to be employed to perform the tasks specified in the recovery act bill, so I guess you could say jobs will be created. I wonder why we are hearing rumors of another stimulus bill, what is left for the government to fix and how will we pay for it?
It has become clear to me that our country has diverse opinions and beliefs on many of the subjects we have been discussing. I firmly believe that the best form of government is the one that governs the least, to paraphrase a one of the founding fathers. We seem to have a segment of our population who believe the rich are evil, corporations are evil, insurance companies are evil, and anyone with millions of dollars made it off the backs of labor and should give back to labor. They also believe that the government is better qualified to provide them with the basic things in life they need.
This segment of the population also believes everything that the government has done wrong is a republicans fault, mostly a republican president. The following is taken from a comment to one of my blogs. It is typical of what I described in the previous paragraph.
“As for the economics, under “Reaganomics” we had an increase of trade and a loss of jobs in America. The workers got poorer and the business people got richer. Since WW II we have gradually, but steadily, lost our standing in the world as a nation that produces things that can be sold. (The one area in which we still excel is agriculture – thanks to foreign workers.) We are no longer the leader in steel production, textiles, automobiles, TV’s, etc., etc.. Part of the problem is our long-standing trade policies and part of it is the American proclivity to buy what is cheaper – not what is better. As a consequence, America produces less steel than Japan and about 20% of what is produced in China. There are no TV’s, stereos, or Levi’s produced by Americans. It has nothing at all to do with a free market. As for the energy suppliers of the world, you tell me what Saudi Arabia is going to sell us when their oil runs out. Sunshine?
What I find interesting is that the commenter never mentions Clinton and NAFTA, what’s more is his concern for Saudi Arabia. I would ask him what will Saudi Arabia sell when we have converted to alternative energy? Does he support a country who treats women as property, is a monarchy and has a court system that no way resembles the one we have and has punishments that he considers torture or inhumane?
It is clear to me that many people believe that this country should be changed to resemble the european model of government. I disagree and ask once again, Why would we want to be like the rest of the world when we have set the standard. It seems to me that the immigrants who are coming into this country are the new entrepreneurs. They are doing the jobs some Americans won’t do and then finding a way to succeed, start a business or get an education and excel. A lot of these folks left a place where the government was in charge of their lives so they came here and took charge of their own lives.
The segment of our population that wants all this government sustained entitlement also seems to believe that if you earned something they should be entitled to it also, but of course it should just be given to them. If they cannot have it you join the evil or lucky group of people they hate.
I guess my biggest concern is that we are amassing an unbelievable amount of debt to support all these programs. At some point I want the leadership to wake up and stop writing checks we can’t cash.
We started Yes-23 as a forum for discussion and it has achieve that end. We publish all comments to our opinions and enter into discussions with most of the commenters. It is an interesting exercise. I have learned that we as a people are more than simply disagreeing on issues, we are angry, both sides are very angry. There can be no civil discussion or compromise when both sides are out to discredit and destroy one another simply because they disagree on certain issues.