Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A humble list of suggestions to President Obama

Scarecrow has some suggestions for how President Obama could begin to regain the trust of American voters who voted for him in 2008:

1. He can explain that our economy is huge and the near depression he inherited turned out to be far more serious than he and his advisers imagined; he didn’t cause the depression, but he has to take responsibility for that miscalculation. So just as many of his liberal critics claimed, we needed a much larger, more effective stimulus and a Plan B to redouble and refocus that effort if it wasn’t enough. We still need that.

2. He needs also to concede he and his advisers put too much faith in the ability of the private sector to recover from such a serious financial collapse and loss of individual wealth. Market deregulation failed, catastrophically, so stop defending it. It was a mistake to assume that if we made the banks prosperous again, that would also take care of Main Street. That benevolent trickle down view was wrong, again. It’s time to discard it.

3. Further, since his advisers knew that jobs always lag other aspects of recovery, especially in recessions linked to financial collapse, he and they should have realized we needed massive direct jobs programs, to complement and focus the stimulus. We don’t need foolish symbolic gestures like leaving government positions unfilled. Instead, we needed then and need now more direct hiring by government to perform dozens of public functions, including much greater support for states to avoid layoffs of state funded teachers, firemen, police, and so on. He should have refused to compromise on this just to please a couple of timid, misguided Senators; they needed to step up.

4. The President apparently agrees we need to start rebuilding America’s infrastructure. He can now make a commitment to tackle the trillions in investment backlog we’ve accumulated over recent decades. Go big, and tell the hypocritical deficit hysterics that Bush’s $700 billion tax giveaway to the richest 2 percent should instead be used to rebuild the country.

5. He needs to acknowledge that tackling the nation’s problems requires a more fundamental challenge to the economic power, greed and corruption of America’s major institutions, particularly America’s largest corporations. They will not willingly give up their power nor willingly protect consumers or preserve the middle class. The resulting concentration of wealth at the top is destroying the middle class and systematically corrupting government, using Karl Rove, the US Chamber of Commerce and their conservative friends to launder billions to buy elections to maintain their power.

Without a formidable public challenge to the mega-corporations’ economic power, concerns about individual liberty, which supposedly motivate libertarians/Tea Partiers, will be overwhelmed; ordinary real people can’t hope to compete against multi-billion dollar corporate “persons.” Nor can the public expect government to pursue policies in the public interest, let alone rescue the middle class from an inexorable decline and the increasing transfer of their wealth to the richest one percent.

The voters need to hear their President say these things, so they understand the problems they see in their lives are real, but have an identifiable cause — instead of just letting right wing demagogues blame and demonize blacks, latinos, muslims, or nonexistent “socialists” and “others.”

Such a statement would signal that the President understands it is he who much change and he who must step up, get engaged, and act more boldly. Without showing he’s both honest and mature enough to admit these things, voters will find it hard to believe any of his new initiatives, even if well intended, are anything more than electoral opportunism.

Once he’s done that, the President can ask the voters to support him and any members of his Party prepared to fight for a better agenda. He can explain that the opposition party is not merely in denial on most of these problems; they are accomplices. Their “solutions” would make every problem even worse, and the country can’t afford that.

What does he have to lose?

People have every right to feel disappointed. I believe that President Obama wants to do good things in office, he just needs to listen to his friends who want to show him a better way.

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