“It’s the long-term economy and jobs, stupid.”
James Carville would not complain about this paraphrase of his 1992 campaign assessment.
As President Obama takes his seat in the executive office, the echoes of times past reverberate through the halls of government. We are reminded of the Great Depression, the post-World War II repression, the Carter/Reagan/Bush recession/depression/stagnation and the Clinton/Bush years of falling stocks.
The United States in this decade alone has suffered bad times and exhilarated in good. So much so for the latter that we have over indulged yet again with corporations and governments now digging themselves out of ever-deepening financial quagmires.
It was the conservative leaders whose belief in free enterprise blinded them to the possibility of greed and corruption. New calls for reform are chiming from the darkened woods.
Republicans, without extremist conservative support, are changing their tune and asking for governmental oversight of the country’s financial systems. Everyone is seeking to “stimulate” the economy, though taking different tracks, to save the American dream and ideals. Both parties say they have the answer, but the answer is much more difficult than we want to admit.
On the Sunday talking-head shows, the two sides sat in their corners, waiting for the bell to ring. The era of bipartisanship has come to an end before it begun. This was not more evident than on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The combatants: Obama’s National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers and Republican leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH).
Each man took his seat, separated by a commercial break and by ideology, and prepared for the battle to come in the chambers of Congress. Each man took a position on how a proposed $825 billion stimulus plan should be carried out.
I did review the summaries of the president’s and the Republicans' proposed stimulus packages. At least the summaries provided by the White House and the Republican Senate Caucus. Each has its highlights; each has its faults. The main difference is that the president’s proposal looks long-term, while the conservative counterproposal is myopic. I have also been reading news and op-ed articles from around the country and listening to my students during discussions on “argument and persuasion.”
Paul Krugman of the New York Times, editorials from the Washington Post, news from NECN.com and the Dallas Morning News. The statement that caught my attention was in the last, made by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), who stressed the conservative position clearly: "What we're looking for is a jump start. This (the president’s plan) is not going to be a jump start."
Insightful but, in my humble opinion, wrong. Spending is not the solution. Jobs are the solution.
Not only jobs, but jobs that will survive well beyond the current crisis, well beyond this administration, well beyond this decade. Jobs that are designed to improve our infrastructure and reduce our dependency on foreign supplies of oil. Jobs that will improve the education of our children, including as many as 120,000 new jobs in the nation’s Head Start program, the key to our future.
With almost 100,000 jobs lost on Monday alone, tax relief makes no sense when 8 to 10 percent of the country is not working. This is the hole we must plug, putting Americans and Missourians back to work, to bring pride back to families and the nation. Putting money in the pockets of American workers, not once or twice, but every month in the form of a paycheck is the only way to bring this nation back to solvency.
I urge you to support the president’s economic plan. I urge you to write senators Kit Bond and Claire McCaskill and our nine members of Congress to support the president’s economic package. The $825 billion spent on jobs today will bring more jobs, security and education for decades to come.
David Rosman is a business and political communications consultant, professional speaker and instructor at Columbia College. He welcomes your comments at ProfDave1011@netscape.net.