Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Borrowed From Eugene Robinson and The Washington Post

This is a presidency on steroids. Barack Obama's executive actions alone would be enough for any new administration's first month: decreeing an end to torture and the Guantanamo prison, extending health insurance to more children, reversing Bush-era policies on family planning. That the White House also managed to push through Congress a spending bill of unprecedented size and scope -- designed both to provide an economic stimulus and reorder the nation's priorities -- is little short of astonishing.

And yet I read liberal bloggers criticizing him for not doing it a certain way. His been mocked in the blogosphere here for making nice with the Republicans only to have them stab him in the back and vote unanimously against the Stimulus package.

This week, executives from General Motors and Chrysler are reporting on their progress in transforming themselves into lean, mean carmaking machines, capable of leading American industry into a new golden age. They will also explain that they need some more money, and fast, if they are not to crash and burn. GM, which got a $9.4 billion cash infusion from the government just two months ago, wants the remaining $4 billion that the Bush administration approved; Chrysler, which got $4 billion in December, urgently needs $3billion more.

I have mixed feelings about the American auto industry. Why have they been so slow to adjust to changes in the market for smaller, more efficient, better made cars and trucks? It is not the problem created by union workers making too much money for working on the assembly line. It's the fault of the executives who have been unwilling to lead the industry with hybrids and other alternatives to the big bloated gas guzzlers of the past. It's the salaries of the men at the top and the poor decisions they've made that have made the U.S. auto industry a failure. Off with their heads. Keep the workers, fire the CEO's and designers. Start over.

Thanks to an amendment that Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) inserted into the stimulus bill, Washington now has control over bonuses and severance packages at financial companies that have taken funds from the Bush administration's $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP): No more eight-figure bonuses for Wall Street "geniuses" whose cleverness helped drive their companies, and a good deal of the economy, into the ground.

Dodd added a measure that makes it easier for firms that chafe at Washington-imposed restrictions -- on executive compensation, for example -- to pull out of TARP. The details are complicated, but what's important is that banks and other financial institutions that are relatively healthy may well begin to leave the program. The impression would be that the firms remaining in the program are relatively sick -- and people tend to be uncomfortable keeping their money in banks that can be described as relatively sick.

I'm in favor of nationalizing failing banks. I want no more gobbling up of smaller banks by the likes of Citibank. The only healthy banks I know about are the small local banks. I've heard of no problems with the credit unions, like the one I am a member of. It's the big bloated financial institutions that are causing the problems. So nationalize them or let them fail.

Then there's the housing problem, which may be the most difficult of all. Foreclosures and plummeting home values are at the heart of the economic crisis. Either millions of Americans are going to lose their homes or millions of mortgage contracts are somehow going to be modified. That's not an attractive choice.

All Barack Obama wanted was to be president. He may have to become an auto executive, a banker, a mortgage broker and who knows what else before this crisis is done.

So what do we expect of our new President who has yet to be in office one month? Miracles it seems to me. I'm happy with his work so far. My complaint is with the Congressional Leadership. I say if the Republicans do not want to be part of the solution, do not offer them plums to sweeten the deal for them. They will take credit for the weakening of your legislation and then stab you in the back. Let the bastards filibuster. I don't really believe that's a spectacle even their deep south and Utah constituents will find helpful in keeping a job or keeping a home or a car in a rapidly shrinking economy. The South is relatively poor compared to other parts of the country. I doubt the filibuster will play well no matter how conservative you think you are when faced with the possibility of moving your family into you mothers home or living in a shelter.

In Utah we have the second richest church in America to run our government. Too bad they won't pony up--they could bail us all out if they wanted to. $500 million to pour into passing Prop 8 in California was just one tiny drop in the bucket for them.


Naj said...

Re Auto industry: I totally agree with you that their 'collapse' is totally owed to their laziness with developing better line of products. And also failing in advertisement! They do have some good cars, but they have such stupid "product image" that embarrasses you out of your wits!

Up here in Canada, driving an American car is slightly mocked! I am very happy with my Ford Focus, but I only bought it because it's European-designed and winter customized. It runs like a charm but the fuel consumption is RIDICULOUS!

Amos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amos said...

Very well said.

MRMacrum said...

I have been ranting about how I would like to see some cooperation between the parties. I think I am done now. Let the Republicans do what they do and the Democrats do what they do. It seems no one wants to fix things, they just want to run things.

Obama has been damn impressive so far in my opinion. I have no regrets at all about voting for him. He was the best we could come up with at the time. Hell, he is the best we have come up with in a long long time. Hopefully he continues to make any obstructionist, right or left, look like boneheads. Good post and breakdown.

Utah Savage said...

Naj, If I recall correctly Ford is the only one of our Big Three Auto makers that didn't take bailout money. Nice choice if you have to own an American car.

Amos, thanks.

MrMacrumm I keep hearing so much criticism of Obama for the failure to twist arms in the congress. It looked to me like he made all kinds of concessions to the good old boys across the aisle and it got him zip. So stop the reach around. Give them nothing.

Linda McGeary said...

There is an old saying, the moment someone does something constructive, someone is bound to say one of four things.
It shouldn't have been done in that way.
It shouldn't have been done at that time.
It shouldn't have been done at all.
And someone else should have done it.

I'm with you! He is impressive. He's real. What I see in him is a man who wanted to be president for the people. Not to pound his chest and say I'm king of the hill.

You laid out all your points clearly and thoughtfully, wish I could do as well.

About your fictionalize entries, you caught me. I had missed that.
I found all the back and forth interesting, though.
If you learned what you needed to know from that experiment, either on a personal basis or on a writing basis, all the better, you accomplished what you set out to do. And if your reader and commenters were helpful, isn't that what this is all about?

Utah Savage said...

Yes Linda, I did learn a lot from all of you. I'm going to post some fiction I'm working on, since I seem to be running out of real life to post about. So with fiction and politics maybe I can stay out of trouble for awhile.

Your comments are so welcome, very thoughtful and smart. I'm sickish and laying low, trying to get well. So I haven't been getting around much. Glad you made it to my place.

SaoirseDaily2 said...

He's done so much in a short time. All that and leading the way for stem cell research! I am very happy with our new president.

How are you? I hope you are doing well. We had sun and brightness for the short time today. Made all us wish for spring!


Comrade Kevin said...

The best thing that can happen is if this stimulus works wonders, proving that the GOP complaints were representative of a failed ideology regarding economic recovery.

Lisa said...

I do believe that we are living in the time of non-stop hyperbole. Best. Worst. Now. Never. Always. Never.

I actually heard a caller to C-SPAN say that Obama was the worst president ever because he hadn't achieved anything yet.

If it weren't for the wonders of dvds and the service it provides regarding electronic babysitting, I would have shot holes in the television ages ago.

Oh, yeah. I don't own a gun either. Okay, I would have delivered a flying kick to the television.

P.S. Does Rachel know you're cheating on her with Shuster? I'm tellin!!!!!!

Utah Savage said...

I'm Cheating on Sushter with Don Lemmon. Shhhuu. I tried to find Rachel first, but she's not tweeting.