Monday, February 9, 2009

Historic Press Conference

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself." "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." When most people hear those words, a sense of hope, real hope emerges.
Those words are meant to inspire people, to make them think of a better tomorrow. It gives people a real sense that anything can be accomplished.
Failure to act "could turn a crisis into a catastrophe." The tone set by the Obama administration is a very dire and depressing one. When he says it's only going to get worse, people don't look to a brighter future. They only look to a bleak, bumpy road ahead. There are arguments for Obama being pragmatic and telling people what they need to hear. There are of course arguments for trying to inspire people and give them hope. I believe both are valid. Of course I didn't run the entire campaign on a message of "Hope" and "Change."
"Change" is dead. It was put on life support with Tim Geithner's tax problems. It died when Daschle stepped down for failure to pay his taxes. Now of course "Hope" is being put on life support.
Let me be clear, I know why Obama is using doom and fear to sell his bill. He has too, it's the only way on earth that the bill could pass. It was loaded wall to wall with Democrat pork. Obama said tonight during his first press conference, that there were no earmarks. Yet, what Obama failed to mention is that there doesn't have to be. Giving how many billions to bail out states like California, Michigan, New York, all big democrat leading states. It is all one big earmark, paid to Democrat special interest groups. How many millions for "global warming research?" That only makes Democrats happy, of course that it fails to create any jobs is irrelevant. If we don't give it money will will have a "catastrophe" on our hands.
Obama did what he needed to do. He has to sell his bill and he went back to campaign mode to do it. It's what he is good at. I'm actually really delighted that he laid out some guidelines on how to measure the stimulus bill.
  • It has to create 4 million jobs.
There is no timetable of course, he is smart enough to give himself some wiggle room later on. Have to remember 2012 is just around the corner.
  • It has to get money flowing through the banks.
Meaning that, we have to see an increase in loans to individuals to buy that ugly Prius after all. The stimulus bill doesn't do anything for lending organizations at all. Facts can be a distraction after all.
  • It has to stabilize the housing market.
Other than the billions going to Community block grants (For future Tony Rezkos to exploit the poor to get government money), the Stimulus does what for homeowners? The only relief so far is in the Senate bill as a tax credit for buy new homes. The best idea, I thought, was in the Republican amendment to refinance houses on the market. It would decrease interest costs and put more money into homeowners pockets, to invest or spend as they see fit. I'd love to refinance at a 4% rate. Since I bought my house a month to early to qualify for this years first time home buyers tax credit, I could use the extra cash for a new floor, bed, pavers, whatever. The point is I would be using that cash and injecting it into my local economy. That's real long term stimulus.
This all brings up another point. This stimulus bill is only focused on jobs. That's my take on what Obama said at his press conference. He already is passing the buck to Geithner to do something about the credit crunch. Who is going to be in charge of fixing the housing problem. More importantly. How much money are we going to throw around? How many bills will have to be passed to do it? Obama is trying to label the current Stimulus bill as an omnibus for all three problems. He even says that's how it will be measured. The reality is that we (You, me and every person who pays taxes) will be spending even more money on TARP. The last 300 billion isn't enough. Obama pulled out his Ali impersonation ducking that question. We will have to have yet another bill and another couple hundred billion to do something about the housing problem.
I think it's very disingenuous for Obama to portray to the American public that this one bill will solve all those problems. Please Mr. President, how will $1.7 billion for the National Park System, help anyone in foreclosure or trying to get a car loan? How will $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects, create any new blue collar jobs? $1.5 billion for green-technology loan guarantees, will only give loans to a very few and soon to be very wealthy friends of Al Gore, not for Joe Blow trying to buy a house.
All that being said, I think Obama is doing what he has to do. Pelosi and Reid dealt him low cards and Obama is trying to check. Hoping the "turn" gives him gives him a pair or 3 of a kind. Obama knows his name will be on the bill. He is in a bind. He should have done a lot of things, but hey rookie mistake right? I just hope this one doesn't turn out to be as bad as JFK's. How does the old adage go, with friends like these, who needs enemies.

1 comment:

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