Tag Archives: President Obama

A Quick Read of 2012 Election Tea Leaves

The President has won a hard fight. Congratulations Mr. President. Congress will edge blue with the Senate gaining some Democrat seats but it will remain divided with the House gaining Republican seats. And a tight popular vote difference of of one percent difference will add to the confusion of interpretation of campaign results by the parties.

America is divided. Some in both parties may claim this close vote as victory of their message and point to the failings of personalities or tactics as excuses for such a close result. The preponderance of evidence says otherwise, that neither message was enough to draw the nation toward a firm direction for our future.

Yet will the Democrat Party be propelled toward compromise? The President did not show the propensity to negotiate even within his own party over the past four years. After staunchly defending his agenda against old, powerful white men for most of his adult life, my hope is that a much more reflective Obama will emerge from the fires of this tough election with a strengthened purpose enveloped in moderation.

This vote might likely cause the Republican Party to collapse in infighting for control of its imploding power structure of ideals. Republicans will be challenged to keep from splintering in two. This dark horse potential, however slight, could actually result in a brighter era of tri-party party politics that could emerge from this turmoil. At the very least, Republicans will emerge from the shadows of this election in disarray.

America hopes that the Republican Party will realize that if it could not win with a strategy of asking America to turn back the reins of power to the party of business in one of the worst economies of the last century, that its tactic of non-compromise will fail further as the economy continues to improve. This was not a loss of Mitt the man, his religion, or his party’s perception of his hidden liberal agenda. It was not his statements about the 47% or his choice of vice president. And it wasn’t the last week fluke of Hurricane Sandy. It was a failure of his party to put forth a viable and clear strategy that could unite employers, employed, and unemployed.

The President did not win, however, because America was convinced of his grand vision. Yet, his genius skill as the organizer of his emerging coalition of the future, young and Hispanics in support of traditional Democrats, held strong. His support for unions who lashed out at the 2010 Republican tactics, his support for immigration and Medicare reform, and his state-of-the-art ground campaign all helped his re-election. However, a decidedly important factor was that our nation’s unemployed needed temporary respite from the economic storm and the party of the people offered that respite.

The American public instead has spoken a narrow message. We will not change party power. We will give no party a mandate to run ramshod over the other. We will give the President a reset button to reach out to Congress. We will remain patient another election cycle in hopes of gaining compromise (perhaps the President might even recognize his weakness and bring a great compromiser like Bill Clinton, a powerful ally in his campaign, into his cabinet as business czar to make compromise a priority). We will expect sacrifice from everyone, including the 1%. Hispanics will not be allowed as a subtle scapegoat for lack of jobs but jobs must be a top priority. And Republicans will pay in 2014 if they follow McConell’s lead again.

With Republican’s certain infighting for control of their party’s future, they may likely not coalesce around the realization of this simple post. In their turmoil however, America may have the opportunity to have the results of this election realized, if only confusingly. We may indeed see compromise, if only temporarily.

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Filed under American Governance, American Politics

Paul Krugman was a False Prophet

Some claim that President Obama sacrificed restoring the economy to get Obamacare through Congress. Others claim that he didn’t sacrifice anything, that he really did not know what to do, and that Obamacare was simply a diversion. Neither have defined this time as it will eventually appear in the history books.

It wasn’t that he didn’t know what to do. It was the he believed so much the theory perpetrated by liberal economists like Paul Krugman that it was the Republicans who got it wrong in the Great Depression. They held back FDR from going BIG and from the ensuing undisputed greatness he would have achieved. The President believed these heathen prophets when they told him to spend trillions and then to hold tight and watch the miracle happen.

A diversion, perhaps….this magical incantation needed time to stew. Give the people bread in the Coliseum. They will be happy with the spectacle, You will be revered in History as the first President to have provided universal coverage, and in the mean time, these sorcerers of classical Keynesian economics will have the time to do what their earlier brethren were kept from accomplishing in history, prove Keynes RIGHT! A pithy seduction indeed….

It just so happens that their concoction was wrong. No stimulus, not even one several trillions large that would indebt America’s grandchildren and their grandchildren, could spend America’s way out of our credit collapse. It was a counterfeit messiah.

The President fervently thought his advisors had it right and that all that was needed was time. We see it all the time on American Idol and X Factor, these singers that come on stage believing to their depths that they can sing. And when the judges simply say no, these would be idols’ faces sink into the shock of disbelief.

QE1 was the initial song. QE2 was the singer begging to have a second shot at glory because he just knows he can do better. Now we have QE3. Its purpose is not to continue the classical effort. No that false dream is long over. Its sole goal now is to hold course until America fights its own way out of our depression in spite of our now $16 trillion-dollar debt. Its purpose is to take over the bread-feeding role and to appease the American public that all is ok through this election cycle. Its job is to somehow hold the West together until another crisis hopefully shocks us out of our stagnation.

So, not surprisingly, the President was caught off guard during the first debate by the weight of this reality. No matter….by round two, both actors were in fighting form and the hopes of America were restored. On to the election…

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Filed under American Governance, American Politics, Economic Crisis, U.S. Monetary Policy

“Oops”


In the 2008 election, 122 million people voted, 65 million for Obama and 57 million for McCain. Seven million people decided the election. In 2011, 50 million voters are unemployed or underemployed or are voting spouses that are directly affected. Quite simply, 2012 will be overwhelming about one issue, JOBS! It will not be about the important issues of debt reduction, tax fairness, or business environment restructuring, although those are critical issues to America’s future. It will not be about social issues, moral issues, or fringe issues. It will simply be about putting America back to work. If this is obviously the case, why isn’t political dialogue focused like a laser on this topic?

Words sway elections and shift the nation’s path. In the throes of the Great Depression during the 1932 presidential campaign, Herbert Hoover attempted to shift America’s focus from his handling of political affairs by discoloring Franklin D. Roosevelt’s proposals. Nonetheless his own words defeated him as Roosevelt went on to win a landslide victory with 57.4 percent of the popular vote and 90 percent of the Electoral College. From Hoover, America heard a lack of hope, vision, and backbone and concluded that Hoover would not lead us out of the depression. In his own words:

Lack of hope:

“The depression has been deepened by events from abroad which are beyond the control either of our citizens or our government.”

Lack of vision:

“I am able to propose an American plan to you. . . . We plan more leisure for men and women and better opportunities for its enjoyment. We plan not only to provide for all the new generation, but we shall, by scientific research and invention, lift the standard of living and security of diffusion of wealth, a decrease in poverty and a great reduction in crime. And this Plan will be carried out if we just keep on giving the American people a chance.”

Lack of backbone:

“I requested the governors of the Federal Reserve banks to endeavor to secure the co-operation of the bankers of their territory to make some advances on the security of the assets of closed banks or to take over some of these assets, in order that the receivers of those banks may pay some dividends to their depositors in advance of what would otherwise be the case pending liquidation. Such a measure will contribute to free many business activities and to relieve many families from hardship over the forthcoming winter, and in a measure reverse the process of deflation involved in the tying up of deposits.”

President Hoover’s words sealed his fate. And now after 40 years of Post Gold Standard Fiat Currency and Globalization, America is in the midst of another Hooveresque moment. Will our candidates’ words lead them to victory in 2012 or will they join the ranks of Hoover in the junk heap of failed elections. History shows that when candidates foretell their lack of vision, display their lack of character, or demonstrate their lack of desire to fulfill the true needs of America’s citizenry, their candidacies end well short of their life’s aspiration. During the last 40 years of campaigns in their own words:

1972 George McGovern

“Listen, you son-of-a-bitch, why don’t you kiss my ass?” George McGovern to a heckler late in the campaign

“The people don’t know McGovern is for amnesty, abortion and legalization of pot. Once Middle America – Catholic Middle America, in particular – finds this out, he’s dead.” – Senator Thomas Eagleton stated off the record about McGovern, his running mate for 18 days.

1976 Gerald Ford

”There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” —President Gerald Ford, in a 1976 presidential debate with Jimmy Carter

1980 Jimmy Carter

“I had a discussion with my Daughter Amy before I came here what the most important issue was. She said she thought it was nuclear weaponry” – Jimmy Carter / Ronald Reagan debate answer before slipping 10 points in the poles the following day

1984 Walter Mondale

”Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.” – Walter Mondale, accepting the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination

1988 Michael Dukakis

“I think you know that I have opposed the death penalty during all of my life, uh, and I don’t see any evidence that it is a deterrent and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime. We’ve done so in my own state. It’s one of the reasons why we have, uh, had the biggest drop in crime in any state in America.” – Dukakis showing both his aloofness and his opposition to gun control when asked if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered would he favor the death penalty?

1992 George H. W. Bush

“Read my lips. No New Taxes” – Campaign promise made in 1988 that was used against President Bush in 1992

“I did it, and I regret it” – President Bush responding to raising taxes during 1992 campaign

1996 Bob Dole

“Something is wrong with America. I wonder sometimes what people are thinking about or if they’re thinking at all.”

You know, a better man for a better America. That’s sort of our slogan.

2000 Al Gore

“During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” – Al Gore in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer when asked to cite accomplishments that separated him from another Democratic presidential hopeful, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey.

2004 John Kerry

“You bet we might have.” – Sen. John Kerry when asked if he would have gone to war against Saddam Hussein if he refused to disarm.

“I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it.” – Sen. John Kerry, on voting against a military funding bill for U.S. troops in Iraq

2008 John McCain

“The fundamentals of our economy are strong.” – John McCain’s remark at a rally in Florida on Sept. 15, as Lehman Brothers was filing for bankruptcy

“Make it a hundred…That would be fine with me.” – John McCain to a questioner who asked if he supported President Bush’s vision for keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for 50 years

“We have sort of become a nation of whiners.” – McCain economic adviser Phil Gramm, on worries about the slumping economy, adding that the current downturn is a “mental recession,”

2010 Tea Party Rise

“But we have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it, away from the fog of controversy.”
– Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking March 9 to the 2010 Legislative Conference for the National Association of Counties.

Now in 2011, our field of Republican and Democratic hopefuls have the opportunity to wisely use words to sway Americans toward their vision, an America that hopes of returning quickly to productivity. Have our potential leaders demonstrated vision, fortitude, and alignment with the needs of Middle America or have they already condemned themselves to the sidelines of history with their words. You decide.

Rick Perry

”Oops”

Mitt Romney

“Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? People’s pockets. Human beings, my friend.”

Herman Cain

“Go home and get a job and get a life!…Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself. It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded, it is someone’s fault if they failed,”

Newt Gingrich

“I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time [my grandchildren are] my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

Ron Paul

“A lot of people will say, ‘well cutting a trillion dollars in one year is radical.’ Well, I operate under the assumption that the radicals have been in charge for way too long….They’re going to raise the debt limit, and then they’re going to print the money, and then they’ll default by inflation, and that’s much more dangerous than facing up to the facts of what’s happening today.”

President Obama

“We can no longer wait for Congress to do its job. So where Congress won’t act, I will.”

“You should pass it right away.”

Harry Reid

“It’s very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it’s the public-sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers, and that’s what this legislation is all about.”

John Boehner

“As I read the Constitution, the Congress writes the laws and you [Obama] get to decide what you want to sign.”

Eric Cantor

“If you read the newspapers today, I, for one, am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country. And believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans….”

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Filed under American Politics, Full Employment, Jobs

CONGRATULATIONS PRESIDENT OBAMA!

You have signaled to all that you will use the powers bestowed on you by the United States Constitution to fight for the American people. Wield your executive power to needle Congress to act. Force this stalemating, stodgy, strategizing Congress to rise from political muck to help America return to work. Stare Congress in the eye and dare them to repeat such silly statements as those spouted by an unnerved Speaker John Boehner who said “This idea that you’re just going to go around the Congress is just, it’s almost laughable.” Put the Honorable Speaker and the rest of our bloated Congress on the ropes, then jab and hook for our future.

When you say, “we can’t wait”, the American people chant back determinedly, “Go, Dog, Go”. So press onward and, “SIGN, BABY, SIGN! Sign executive orders for student loans, housing refinancing, research and development, veterans’ jobs and drug shortages. Direct your administration to turn over every stone for more aggressive executive orders that can aid America’s crisis. Do not be discouraged by political backlash. Be emboldened.

No-one expects that your early executive orders will create major shifts. Yet, you are in there swinging, shaking things up, and exposing Congress’s folly as even more foolish and obstinate in their flat footed, rabbit punching retorts. You are acting on the will of the people and are forcing disruption among the purveyors of the status quo. Yes, bolder action is required of you. When you find that the political upper cut responses to your latest executive orders are much less painful than the thrills of maneuvering your vision through the morass, you will swing harder.

Bill Daley, when you support the President, stating “Let’s re-emphasize what powers we have! What we can do on our own! Push the envelope!” America is chanting, “Push on!” Do not be sidelined by a do nothing Congress who would keep the American people unemployed for political gain. Fight for us. Let Speaker Boehner keep “a very close eye” on your bold moves to make sure you “are not doing anything unconstitutional” and then press forward with rope-a-dope for jobs.

And when organization spokesmen like “Americans for Limited Government” President Bill Wilson respond by accusing you of sidestepping the political process and “consent of the governed.” stare their rhetoric down, for you are mandated from the governed to enable a government for the people, not for the governors. This Constitutional Republic can no longer suffer tolerantly our elected officials placing their own interests of re-election above those of their constituents. We demand more.

Congress, let President Obama’s actions be a harbinger for politicians from the Right and Left. Real change is inevitable. If the young people who elected President Obama weren’t a ringing bell of freedom, if the Tea Party movement was not a plague of locusts to change hardened hearts, if the Wall Street Occupiers battling snow and police retaliation do not represent an insurgency for change, will the President’s executive orders be enough of a challenge for you to re-examine you pre-election strategies and tactics? Will you insist on holding firm, stalling the President’s job program and evading a direct, bold, and immediately effective jobs programs of your own? At least 30 million swing voters are watching and will aggressively vote a response.

President Obama, my three pronged plan to exchange bank equity for housing debt, to force credit amnesty to quickly spur economic growth capacity, and to institute a bi-partisan, private sector, domestic job voucher plan is critical to for an American turn-around. Your battling Congress now to put American jobs first is critical for America’s future. When you have my attention, you have the attention of the swing voters. Do not retreat. Be bold. Congratulations.

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Filed under American Governance, American Politics, Bureaucracy, Economic Crisis, Full Employment, Job Voucher Plan, Jobs

Advice to President Obama from a Middle American That Cares More About Jobs Than Politics…

President Obama has to be convinced through his allegiant social media supporters that he has a much better alternative to win re-election than his current strategy of pushing a weak jobs bill onto an embattled Congress just to have it fail to amass enough votes to pass so that he can then campaign against “do nothing Republicans”.

His current strategy will be heavily countered by Republicans that may partially pass some of his provisions to show that they are working with him. The effect of his bill however, even if Congress passed all the provisions, would be a negligible increase in jobs and might even trap him just as his stimulus package did before, because he might have to explain why it didn’t have any appreciable difference due to being implemented just as the economy was entering into a second dip recession. No, his current strategy will be doggedly dragged through the dumpster of politics before the elections so following it will surely cause him, and his not so merry band of Democrats, to lose in 2012.

If, on the other hand, President Obama tries to go around Congress with executive orders and proclamations as I have suggested, but with left of center policies that attempt to create Keynesian gains through an additional tax burden, Congress will simply refuse to fund his orders and the Republicans will gain fodder to defeat him in the 2012 elections.

Instead, President Obama must issue bold, sweeping executive orders and proclamations that change history, yet that can be claimed to be taxpayer neutral and that therefore cannot be claimed by Congress to be beyond the President’s fiscal authority. My job voucher plan is revenue neutral. Forcing banks to accept equity in exchange for marking down housing debt is revenue neutral. Forcing rating agencies to provide credit amnesty is revenue neutral.

These three bold policies are grand opportunities to create simultaneous, revenue neutral , but implementable dynamos to quickly turn our ailing economy. Yet they are totally defendable against Congress’s whine, and they will quickly bring hope to the American people, swinging momentum of the 2012 election in favor of the Democrats, and giving President Obama four more years to change the course of history.

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Filed under American Politics, Job Voucher Plan, Social Media Democracy

Can the Job Voucher Plan Create Renewal in America?

A sense of purpose is as important to one’s work fulfillment as the financial reward that work provides our family.  I am reminded of the story where a passerby asks a stone mason who is chipping away at a cornerstone what he is doing, and the mason replies not that I am cutting a block, but that I am creating a cathedral.  Here in Florida, I am surrounded by neighbors who have lived in their homes for 30 years only to turn them over to the bank because of hard times.  Their share of the “cathedrals” they created for our country was stored in their home. When the banks foreclosed on them, they lost the results of their life’s work. 

Losing their home is just one step down the painful road that millions of Americans are enduring during this Great Recession.  With the loss of so many millions of jobs, the difficulties of just one jobseeker can get lost in all the noise.  How do jobseekers cope when they have become part of the 99ers, those whose extended unemployment has run out?

During this Great Recession, as each month passes, the job seeker begins to realize that somehow this recession is different. In the first days after he recovers from the shock of losing his job, he determines to quickly pursue businesses which best meet his career and geography requirements. As the months go by, he realizes that opportunities are diminishing, and he must now lower expectations if he is to cover expenses and keep the kids in the same schools.  As unemployment compensation comes closer to the end, he recognizes he may have to move to open up more job possibilities. He reluctantly lists his home only to find over time that it is competing in a surplus market, and that its value is lower than the mortgage.

Yet he persists, getting up each day to comb opportunities till dusk with a hopeful heart of scheduling a job interview. His efforts pay meagerly because interviews are not plentiful in this stagnated market. Each month, more people transition to the unemployed, and they are being called in before him. He has similar qualifications, but somehow because he has been out longer, employers begin questioning why he has not been hired. Sensing their skepticism on the phone, he shows a lack of self confidence in the few interviews he gets, further lessening his chances for hire. His wife and kids quietly grow anxious with him, and he fears they are wondering what his “failure” will mean to their lives, their friendships, and their futures.

At some point, any job would be better than grieving through this spiraling loss of self worth. Then one surprisingly sunny spring 2011 morning, he turns on the TV to see President Obama, surrounded by leaders of both parties on the White House lawn, announcing the “Job Voucher Plan”. As promised, within weeks, the internet and local papers begin filling with job offers in all areas of employment. His spring is renewed with hope.

After several interviews, he begins working again, and not in some makeshift job, but one with career potential and purpose. The owner of a small business has painted a picture of an innovation in need of an American with the skills to make his dream a reality. Now purpose driven, he sets about to create real value for his employer and his community.

He knows that small business ventures are not always successful and that there are no guarantees this job will turn into something permanent. But the American people have committed for the next two years to give him 25 hours a week to help his employer and product to success.  Each morning seems brighter as he gains control through his efforts to build a career in this new small business venture. Not only is his family experiencing this change; he sees a purpose growing in the entire community. There is a belief that we are all working for something larger, for a renewal in America.

While this spot is not where he had hoped he would be in the years leading up to the Great Recession, he now has a sense that things will get better. He is being paid the same wages as before the recession but with fewer hours. He will help this company with hope and loyalty of purpose, and will have done his part to dig America out of its slump. As the economy improves and competition for employees heats up, his small business owner will compete to keep his new, valuable employee. Nonetheless, the job seeker will diligently use his 15 extra hours a week to once again pursue the American dream.

The above chart shows unemployed broken down by time of unemployment.  It does show a slowdown in newly unemployed.  However, it does not accurately depict all unemployed because many have fallen off the curve and are no longer counted.  Unfortunately, it does show that the mean time of staying unemployed is growing.

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Filed under American Innovation, Full Employment, Job Voucher Plan