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Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

10 March 2009

This week’s criticism of the Obama Administration is that they’re not coming forward and telling Wall Street exactly what they’re going to do about the mess that the same Wall Street has plunged the entire world into.  “What’s wrong with this guy?” they whine.  “He’s had 50 whole days to fix the mess that we made over at least eight years of unregulated greed and corruption.  Come on just give us the $2 trillion plus that we need, get off our backs, give us more tax breaks, and we’ll make it go away.  Is that too much to ask?  Oh, and while you’re at it, tell the American people that everything is okay now so they’ll start giving us more of their money to steal.  That’s what we need.”

Incredibly, the greedy bankers and investment houses that have already received all that federal largesse, are trying to nose their way back to the front of the line for some more.  Never mind that those who have lost their jobs and are on the verge of losing their homes, which is worrying them sick enough to put them in hospitals they can’t afford, and are sending their children to crumbling schools have been waiting in line longer than those who stole their way to the front of the line during the Bush Administration.  Wall Street is using the media and Republicans to send a very clear warning:  If you don’t fix us first, we’re taking the rest of you down the drain with us.  Every man, woman and child in America is being held hostage by the greedy manipulators of Wall Street.  And while the Republicans rail against pork, they do what they can to push the agenda of the overstuffed pigs of Wall Street.

Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet

Now, much has been made of Warren Buffet’s comments over the weekend, among which was a complaint that President Obama was sending a muddled message.  Of course, he had much more to say, like the Republicans need to stop being so obstructionist and assist the President in this crisis.  But the so-called liberal media all but overlooked his criticism of the Republicans and have opted to play the sound bite against the President every hour on the hour for two days now.  Yeah, that liberal media is a menace to conservatives, all right.  They have made much of the Dow’s dismal performance since January 20th, using percentages to portray it in the worst possible terms.  But what about the numbers – that is the points – that represent the average value of stocks?  During the slide that ended the Bush Administration, the Dow lost around 6,000 points.  In the 50 whole days since Obama took office, the Dow has slid a paltry 1,600 points by comparison.  I regularly show my mathematical incompetence, but I believe that 1600 is somewhere in the neighborhood of one quarter of 6,000.  And these aren’t mere percentages; these are real dollars.

To add to Republican woes this morning, the Stock Market opened strongly upward, and the head of Citigroup reported gains over the first two months of this year despite bestowing $13 million in bonuses on their employees.  Could it be that Obama’s plan is working?  Nobody can really say at this point one way or the other.  And that is the crux of the matter we are faced with.  Nobody really knows what to do right now to fix the economy.  That would include President Obama and his economic team.  But Republicans, the media, and Wall Street are SCREAMING at the top of their lungs for him to tell them exactly what he plans to do.  I agree that would be a nice thing to know.  But aren’t they actually asking him to do what George W. Bush and John McCain did in the face of a sliding economy: come out every day and pronounce that “the fundamentals of the economy are sound”?  That lunacy is what helped Wall Street keep blowing the bubble of the market higher and higher beyond a realistic level of value.  Today we are seeing that insanity paid for in a painful downward adjustment.  But, hey, why can’t President Obama wave his magic wand and fix it?  More lunacy!

Joe Scarborough of Morning Joe

Joe Scarborough of MSNBC's Morning Joe

Morning Joe showed us why the Republicans can’t be trusted to work towards a reasonable solution to this mess.  While comparing the Republican Party to a person in a 12-step program – Alcoholics Anonymous, for those of you unfamiliar with such things – Joe Scarborough proclaimed that the first step that a recovering addict must face is admitting that there is a problem and what that problem is.  Then he took it upon himself to speak up as to what problem the Republican Party has.  “They spent and borrowed too much when they were in control of the government,” he proclaimed.  Not one word did he utter about the turning off of government regulations that protect the American people from the greed of Wall Street.

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA)

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA)

Mr. Scarborough was not alone in this madness.  In its continuing attempt to find a spokesperson other than Rush Limbaugh, the Republicans trotted out Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia to explain their position on the banking system.  In a long list of things that shouldn’t be done, Rep. Kingston demanded that healthcare, education, and all other social programs that might be helpful to millions of Americans be put aside while focusing on fixing the banking system.  When asked by Scarborough if he would be willing to join the President if he advocated $2.3 trillion to bail out the banking system, Rep. Kingston hemmed and hawed around and then laid out the same, old, tired Republican line as the solution: repeal investment tax credits, lower income taxes on the investor class, and of course, relax the regulations that are strangling our upstanding banks.  In other words, if we will just return to the brilliant strategies of the Bush Administration, the entire problem will right itself and we can all go about our business.

The Republicans are still in way too much denial to even be thinking about Step One in a recovery program of any kind.  I advocate a new group for them: Hardheads Anonymous.  That would give them time to sit still for a moment and reflect on what they have done to the American economy with their “tested” policies.  Until then, I’m just not interested in listening to anything they have to say.

President Obama

President Obama

Now, as for my guy, on the other hand, I am confident that when he has something to say, he will come forth and do so.  But the last thing I want to hear is a bunch of “happy talk” a la George W. Bush.  There is no single cause of our dilemma; thus there is no single solution.  President Obama in his own thoughtful way is refusing to be bullied into coming to the podium with an answer he is not sure of.  I salute his cool head in this crisis.  We would only be further harmed by a pronouncement of policy that is wrong and has to be backtracked on within a few months.  And as for the criticism that he shouldn’t be “wasting his time” on healthcare, education and even peace in the Middle East, something I heard this morning, that assertion is ludicrous.  He said during the campaign that he is fully capable of multitasking.  Just because the biggest pig in the pen, Wall Street, is not happy with its share of the trough, doesn’t mean that everybody else should go hungry.  Don’t forget that these guys threatened catastrophe if we didn’t rush to their defense last year.  They are beginning to look like the boy who cried wolf in their greedy demands for all the attention of our government.

And in defense of Obama’s “muddled message” because he dares to talk about issues other than the economy, he is doing exactly what he told the American voters he was going to do during the campaign.

The real muddled message is coming from the Republican side of the aisle where you have a bunch of them calling for more help for their buddies on Wall Street, a bunch of them calling for the government to let the banks fail, and of course, the rest who are just saying no to anything whatsoever.  I’m sure they’ll figure out which side they’re on as soon as Rush Limbaugh tells them.  We’ll just have to wait for Rush to make up his mind.

As for me, I’m sticking with President Obama, along with 58% of my fellow Americans.  In the chaos that surrounds us, it’s nice to have a guy with a cool head in charge.  Let the rest of them rant and rave.  When they are bankrupt of ideas, that’s all they can do.


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