Don't Be Fooled Obama's Policies Have Been A Disaster


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Mike Swanson's picture
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Don't Be Fooled Obama's Policies Have Been A Disaster

"On Friday the White House blamed the third slowdown of its four-year term on Republicans for blocking the President's policies, but what policies are they talking about? In his first two years in office, Democrats gave Mr. Obama everything he wanted, save for cap and trade and union card-check, which would have done even more harm to job creation. They passed stimulus, ObamaCare, multiple housing bailouts, Dodd-Frank and more.

Even after Republicans took the House, they gave Mr. Obama the payroll tax holiday he demanded first for 2011 and again for 2012. Far from some new fiscal "austerity," overall federal spending hasn't declined. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has delivered monetary stimulus after stimulus—QE I, QE II, Operation Twist, and 42 months of near-zero interest rates with the promise of 30 months more.

Mr. Obama has had the freest run of policy of any President since LBJ. So maybe the problem is the policies. "

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230355210457744034285027766...

Patrick Michaud
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Obamas Policies

The policy of "Globalization", global interconnectedness, began long before Obama. Obama is criticized for trying to stimulate the economy, or doing things to create jobs. Everyone has a "plan". Romney has a plan, Obama has a plan. There's the Ryan plan. And many other "plans". Romney wants to "focus" on jobs and "cutting the deficit". He even offers "balancing the budget". The one thing I never hear from anyone are details. We all know we need to "create jobs", "reduce the deficit", reduce our national debt. Has anyone ever heard any details about how they're going to acheive this? I sure would appreciate it if someone could spell out the DETAILS of these so called plans. We've had low tax policy for ten years begining with the Bush tax cuts and Obama extending those tax cuts. There is a payroll tax cut too. If tax cuts are the solution then why have we been bleeding jobs these past ten years? Every politician over simplifies our loss of jobs. They blame "over regulation". Well tell us which regulation, in detail, is to blame. (I for one like breathing clean air and drinking clean water). (See unregulated China for air and water quality). They, anti Obamaists, blame "Dodd Frank". Does anyone even know what that, Dodd Frank, means except that Barney Frank is gay and Chris Dodd is a "Liberal" and anything from them has got to be the Devils spawn? At least that's what is implied everytime a conservative mentions "Dodd Frank". They, Conservatives, blame a lack of confidence for the lack of business "investment". Well tell us what is causing this lack of business confidence, aside from blaming Obama for this lack of confidence. Are businesses afraid of the economy, just like every other red blooded American is afraid, or are businesses just afraid because the foreign born muslim radicalist Obama is the president and as soon as Romney is elected then businesses will miraculously start "investing" and creating jobs again regardless of what is going on with the American consumer or all the shit going on in Europe? If it were only America that was in an economic slump, then I would agree that maybe it is "all Obamas fault". But the entire world, except for China, is in a crippling economic slump. Well, China may be slowing too but only because they have a manufacturing and export based economy. (What is America's economy based on)? If everyone buying their exports are in decline, then China will feel some pain too. My arguement is that if we, America, Europe and every other industrialized country, have all outsourced our jobs and manufacturing capabilies to China, and we are all in economic decline and China has been in economic boom for 15 years, is blaming Obama for all these woes assigning credit where credit is really due? Could it be that the "policy" of outsourcing, "globalization", is the real culprit? Not Obamacare? Does anyone even know anything about Obamacare anyway, other than it is a "Government takeover" of national health care and that Uncle Sam is going to pull the plug on Grandma and dictate who gets "free" health care. Really? And the Republicans want to repeal Obamacare? Only to replace that "health care plan" with their own health care plan? Does anyone know any details about the Republican health care plan? Like that's not going to cost $$$$$. No, I don't love Obama. I certainly don't love whatever it takes to get elected Romney either. I don't love Government stimulus either. The only thing I love is Gold. And even that has been a bitter relationship. I don't know what the solutions are. How about bringing our manufacturing jobs back here? That's never going to happen. Remember, corporations are people too. I certainly don't want to lower my profits or income for the benefit of the greater good of my country. Yes, really. I'm a capitalist too. Yes, really. So what's Romney going to do? Redistribute the wealth? Just the other way around? Ultimately, isn't that what the fight is really all about? "Government can't create jobs", but once Romney is elected, he's proposing to use government to create jobs? Is it just me that's crazy?

abeoquendo
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Very well put, Patrick.

As you clearly point out, all this talk about Obama's faults is mostly all very broad and general, as are the solutions that the Republicans are supposed to bring. Like if Democrats and Republicans were all that different. Like if both parties were not supporters of Corporations and big banks.

You point us in the right direction, globalization, exporting of manufacturing jobs, etc. I want lower taxes too, but lower taxes will not reactivate the economy. Where was the government when corporations decided to make their products abroad, so they could pay crappy salaries abroad, and still sell us the stuff for the same price they were selling it before the cheaper manufacturing? Was that in the best interest of the nation? Sure, private enterprise always know best!

When banks starting lending irresponsibly and designing all this financial instruments that they knew will burst sooner or later, where was government then? Who created this? Why was it allowed?

We argue endlessly among ourselves and we all fail to see the big picture. Government is no longer on the top. Government not only doesn't represent us, but even if it did, wouldn't be able to determine all the policies and make all the decisions. Who creates money in the US? A private institution not subject to government regulation. Why don't we start by changing that? Is that in Romney's plan?

In a globalized world, with global businesses, national governments don't have the necessary tools to regulate the global arena. There is a global arena where global companies reside were there is lack of government. Corporations move globally for their own interest and the will of the people can't reach them there. National governments, even when they are so powerful as the US is, are inadequate and limited to deal and regulate this new reality. Globalization has moved beyond legislation, is a new reality that has outgrown our political systems.

We have deep structural problems worldwide that go way beyond the US, and that can't be blamed neither in Bush or Obama, or the next clown. Governments have facilitated a phenomena that has now moved beyond their control. The few international organizations that we have, the UN, the G8, G20 are all completely inadequate to confront this new situation. They are still working from within the old nationalistic frame work, and unable to cope.

Old timers can't help dreaming of how thing were in the US and wish they could go back. Sorry, that will never happen, there is no going back, your nostalgic world is gone for good. Unfortunately, education in the US has been incomplete in some arenas, particularly world history. Still today, world history in schools is very lacking compared to Europe and South America. This has given many Americans a very self centered and self contained view of the world. Because of this, they have a very hard time looking at the big picture. They still think the US is the world superpower and they believe it can all be fixed from within the US. Nothing farther from the truth.

There is a structural antagonism between national organization and global capital, between global cultural and local culture. This has nothing to do with Obamacare or whatever. Being unable to identify the core problem will condemn all our attempts to cure the symptoms to failure. We need to treat the illness not each symptom separately. But first we need to identify the illness. It is not just someone's incompetence, we need to stop being so naive.

All the best, Abe

Zheng Guo
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Mike's and Abe's and Patrick

Mike's and Abe's and Patrick's thoughts got my mind to thinking, and I finally got around to writing something:

I agree that Obama's policies stink. But will the Repubs do better? I doubt it. Because the policy that needs to happen is much bigger than interest rates and treasury notes and regulations.

And as to identifying the illness rather than simply treating symptoms . . . there is a first question that needs to be answered.

It took many years, maybe decades, to dig this hole we are in and so it could concievably take time an equal amount of time to climb out. I read where it wasn't until 1954 that the DOW recaptured it's 1929 high!

The question, then, is ... do we have time? Do we have the luxury of time to turn the economy around before it hits the rocks? If you think we have already bottomed (ie., things won't get much worse from here) then you probably think we do have time. If you see things getting worse from here, then perhaps you think that more time, ie. further financial deterioration, makes time our enemy.

I think the latter, that our situation is still slipping downhill and that we risk tipping past a point of no return. I've said before, that I think money printing is papering over the problems, making it appear that things are healthier than they really are. I still think that.

And nobody knows for sure that the Krugmanite solution, to stimulate to whatever it takes to get things off the ground, will really bring our economy eventually back to sound footing. Stimulating might work under certain circumstances, but we are in a situation that is different even than the 1930s. What I think I can safely say, though, is if we stimulate to the moon and it doesn't work . . . that the blow back will be severe.

Since I think we don't have the luxury of time, then I do think we need to 'rip the bandaid off' soon. Not that I want to, but because I think we have to. I see this as the lessor of evils. I don't like the idea of hitting people while they're down or anything like that. BUT, if hitting them while they're down means not killing them later, I'll take it. And if I could see even a tiny light at the end of the current QE tunnel, I would probably not say that.

Ripping the bandaid off means, to me, facing up to our debt, and getting rid of it the old fashioned way . . . with a Depression.

I see 3 basic possible ways to go from here. More QE (inflation), drastic budget cuts, or a muddled combination of the two . . . like is happening. We are currently still hoping that the stimulus gets things going again so that the rather tepid budget cuts that have been happening so far don't have to cut any deeper. I think trying to get back, via QE, to our roaring economy of yesteryear - which was itself running on fumes due to serial bubbles - is going to fail. So if more QE is going to fail to bring in real sustainable jobs, what are we left with? Inflation that cuts deeper and deeper. Leading to where???

That is how I see it, FWIW. I would rather do the 3 year extreme restructuring because I don't see a better outcome any other way.

And, yeah, I know - we won't take our medicine voluntarily. But I'm just saying that swallowing the bitter pill now will be less bitter, in the long run, than not swallowing it.

Now, having said all that, I think the financial situation we find ourselves in is itself just a symptom of something else . . . and just one symptom among many. So what is the illness that we need to cure?

IMHO, it's us. It's our lack of civility, our lack of personal responsibility, our lost work ethic ... in short, our lost values (and folks, I'm not saying it's everybody, but I am saying that a tipping point has been reached in the aggregate). I thought about including greed, but I'm of the opinion that greed is a given . . . it's always present, and I'm not always sure where greed leaves off and ambition begins. Anyways, we should have structures in place where greed is punished when it goes too far (instead, bailouts simply encouraged it - how insane).

And why have our values eroded? It's a long, drawn out consequence of America's staggering success since WWII, and the mental laziness that such success brought with it. People often start to think they are smarter and wiser than they really are when they're on top. The problem is that the ones who got us to the top were smarter and hard working, but the people now at the top - a generation of two later - are not. The Chinese have a saying: "The first generation creates the wealth; the second lives off it; the third squanders it". In other words, it's human nature at work - where ever it happens. There's nothing quite like an easy life, not having to work and sweat much for a living but taking too much credit for it, to kill off ambition and bring on the valueless life.

And for this, I just don't see it as a Dem or Repub thing. I see it as a human problem that cycles through history.

Americans, as people, are no different than anyone else in the world. We don't get to escape our nature any more than anyone else does. BUT, I do buy into the idea of American Exceptionalism . . . that we Americans have inherited a system, an idea about human freedom and governance, that IS unique. And so, a little bit contrary to what Abe said, I think we do need to go back and at least understand where we came from, what worked in the past (and what didn't).

So, to me, the thing that I think needs to make a comeback are those values that made Americans do great things and become what it became over its history. I think the nanny state has overshot. There's nothing wrong about lending a helping hand . . . WHERE NEEDED. But that line between 'where needed' and 'where not needed' needs to be defended vigorously, else you get what we have today . . . a weakened value system. Handouts, excuses, all sorts of leveling the playing field initiatives, slaps on the hand where much more is needed . . . all this needs to go. Personal responsibility and at least to some extent family responsibility need to make a comeback.

And no amount of talk will bring back these values. It will be done when there are clear consequences, both good and bad, for behavior. I know you can't undo this moral/value problem as I've identified it overnight, but I'm for any gov't that can see that it is the issue. Consequences . . . I could write a book about this.

IMHO, there is no return to greatness without re-strengthened values. All else will follow.

So, back to the theme about Obama's economic failure. It's as much our failure. We elect these guys because we have yet to figure out what is good for us.

-GZ

Ps. I feel like I'm taking over for Kaibo . . . rambling on a little too much.

abeoquendo
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GZ,

Is good to ramble once in a while, specially during these times of uncertainty, when we all have our own interpretation of reality, but no one is certain of anything.

I like what you say, and sympathize with a lot of it. However I would like to point out an analogy.

In all religions (for the most part) there is this basic notion that human nature is flawed, call it the primal sin of the Catholics/Christians or the obscuration of Buddha nature for the Buddhists. In all forms and colors, there is this difficulty to accept ourselves just the way we are, so we assume that something went wrong along the way, but no one has been able to clearly explain what went wrong and why.

As with many things, I have my own interpretation of things (reminds you of Kaibo?). I don't really believe in any primal/original sin or in any obscuration of our goodness. In a way that defeats our rational mind, I tend to think that always things are just the way they are supposed to be at any given time. In religious terms, it's always God's will, if you please. The fact that this matter of fact reality necessarily includes suffering is something for what I have no clear answer yet.

But from this pervasive notion that there is something bad or flawed or missing in our own true nature, we get this "mea culpa", this notion that if things went the wrong way, we must have messed up. I am not saying this is never the case, but you've got to be careful. You can also be manipulated, through education, to think that way.

Are we in this financial mess because we messed up, because we got complacent, or because we were set-up to act this way? Have you paid attention to advertising, to the entertainment arts and to the politicians, among other things, during the last 20 or more years? What has our "culture" been feeding us and our kids? Why do we allow fast food, and processed food and all kinds of toxins in our diets? Why do schools make deals with soda vending machines? Etc., etc., etc.

When corporations focus only in profits and are willing to move their whole operation abroad, not because they were not profitable, but because they want to be even more profitable at the expense of the communities of workers and buyers that supported them, did WE as people messed up? When we were assured by lending institutions that we could borrow more because the prices of our property will keep increasing and not because we were in a bubble, did WE messed up? When we were assured that we needed to go to war because someone had weapons of mass destruction, and we agreed, did WE messed up? I don't think so (Well, maybe going to war we did mess up).

OK, I am not saying that we are not part of the problem, we are. But we are not in this mess because we are bad boys and girls. We are in this mess because the system in which we live has shifted. And a few are undoubtedly benefiting from this mess. So why our politicians keep perpetuating the problem? Why do they are more concerned with lobbyist's interests than ours? Because someone is making big bucks on their apparent incompetence.

It's always been that way throughout history, at some point power always get hijacked. The problem with this extreme concentration of power is that it erodes the principles of the society it feeds from, it needs to do it to grow and strengthen. After all, there is only so much food on the table. And that's how a good thing, and a very good thing like the US and the principles upon which it got founded, could turn into a bad thing.

We can't go back, life never goes back. If there is hope is in going further, beyond the short sighted interests of those that will push us through the abyss if that is what they feel they need to do in order to protect their own interests. Or their perceived own interests, I should say, as there is no real happiness to be found in such an excluding vision of self interest.

The next stage should be more wealth for all, more freedom for all and more happiness for all. True democracy and the blossoming of the principles of the founding fathers. And that future lies ahead not behind.

Are we going to get closer with more QE or with a depression. I don't know for sure, but we are not going to get there unless we start envisioning the well being of the whole humanity as precious as our own.

Best, Abe

el stevedore
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rosanne barr for president
986may
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I was looking for a viable

I was looking for a viable 3rd choice. I'm pretty sure this isn't it. Got any others?

el stevedore
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eat more cookies

have some more of her special cookies, i'm sure you'll see the love and light behind her campaign. :)

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