The First 20+ Days

Well the first 20+ Days of Barack Obama’s Presidency have certainly been eventful to say the least. He’s keeping the Blackberry, put together a “team of rivals” like Lincoln, set up his economic advisory panel, and signed orders closing Gauntanamo, reversing Bush’s abortion-fund policy, and directing the EPA to set stricter auto emissions and fuel efficiency standards. More recently, he’s answered main street’s call for blood on Wall Street by imposing restrictions on executive pay for banks accepting funds funds from the TARP, has gotten the Economic Stimulus and Recovery Plan through a round each of House and Senate votes, is continually working on his plan to deal with our financial system with the Treasury Secretary and the Federal Reserve, and has his sights set on plans to deal with Housing and Foreclosure Mitigation, and the ailing auto industry, who’s Big Three executives are due to have a viability plan together for Congressional review next week. No matter who you voted for in November, you’ve gotta admit there’s something refreshing about having a leader in place that’s doing his job 24/7. Even President Obama’s meals and social events are targeted at inviting his political opposition so that he can continue to work to get what we, the American people, need done to pursue our dreams, and live up to our full potential.

On the Economic front, there appears to be some closed-door meetings going on between our feuding political parties, and it’s looking more likely that this Stimulus bill gets passed sooner rather than later. We are getting more and more details on Treasury Sec. Geithner’s plan to deal with the ailing banks, as the top 8 CEO’s addressing Congress today certainly took a note from the second round of Senate hearings for the Auto Company CEO’s, and showed some signs humility and responsibility for their actions that have led us into these dark days. I’m sure the next huge wave of news stories is waiting for whatever is going to happen on the regulatory front for our financial services industry, and it’s coming soon. But at the end of day, I don’t think anyone can deny that sentiment now is much more positive in terms of the stability and durability of our American economic system, than it was even a month ago.

For the next few months, people will continue to lose their jobs and their homes. Businesses will continue to struggle and fold into bankruptcy, and some of those will still be big name brands that have been around for years, even decades. However, the progress President Barack Obama and his Administration have made in the face of staunch opposition from the right, has already begun to have a positive impact on the future of this country. If things keep going the way they have over the last 22 days, Republicans will have only dug themselves a deeper hole in fighting the Administration’s policies, and will find themselves in an even worse position come 2010 and 2012. Trickle-down economics does not beat equality-of-opportunity based economics. The 3 republican Senators that supported the Stimulus bill at least seem to understand that. My sense is that the rest of the republicans better get in line and re-evaluate their values if they hope to remain as representatives of the people. Do you really want to continue complaining about how funding for Medicare, Medicaid and other State assistance programs doesn’t create jobs? With more and more criticism of our battered health care system, do you really want to keep fighting to keep spending out of this bill that would go towards increasing efficiency within the system itself, thereby reducing costs for all involved including the government? Do you want to keep selling the lie that you represent “America” when you argue for tax breaks for the top 1% of this nation, and zero dollars to assist the “safety net” programs that help the other 99%? (Check out this article on the huffingtonpost.com and watch the video of Rachel Maddow debate the defenition of “stimulus” with Republican Senator Ben Nelson.)

 These are the questions that have to do with core values that many conservative republicans claim to hold near and dear to their hearts, and these are the issues they will need to reconcile when the recovery comes, which almost every economist now sees on the horizon for the end of 2009, beginning of 2010. You don’t have to renounce yourself as a Republican altogether, but I would strongly suggest adopting more of a willingness to compromise, and get rid of that “us vs. them” mentality you guys have, if you hope to get elected to anything over the next few years. If you come out of a negotiation with 50% of what you wanted, at least you got something!

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