Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Stimulus Package: What They Are Not Telling Us

President Obama is expected to win his House vote
President Barack Obama, accompanied by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs,
waves. The $819 billion stimulus bill passed the House 244 to 188, but not a single Republican voted for it.

"If there is somebody who is disgruntled, so be it...Republicans are talking about process. I think when you lose the argument on substance, on policy, what do you do? You talk about process and you talk about personality." --House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Listen up. Because some of you have been e-mailing about the stimulus package, the daddy is going to step away from celebrating Black History Month and outline his view.

So where has Obama failed and where has he succeeded?

1. President Obama failed in two ways. First, he failed by promoting the notion of bi-partisanship over the economy. So, when not a single Republican voted for the passage of the stimulus package, some pundits saw it as a failure, when, in fact, it was a success. They got the votes they needed. Now, when he gets the stimulus plan passed in the senate soon, maybe this week, pundits are going to say, "Yeah, but he only got 3 or 4 Republicans to go along with him. It wasn't bi-partisan". But bi-partisanship is not a goal so much as a dynamic, never-ending process. The goal is to pass the stimulus plan.
2. President Obama failed by first negotiating with himself. He began by putting too much tax cuts: about $300 billion, I believe. This only caused Republicans to sharpen their knives and try to get more. he should have started at $200 billion, placing that other $100 billion in infrastructure.
3. President Obama developed good strategies to get the stimulus packaged passed, but he has not thought more broadly about how to make it work. For example, rather than give money to banks that were part of the problem in the first place, banks with the same CEOs running it, why not start up the government's own public bank? Why not appoint people to run this bank whom we can trust, people were not associated with banks that failed?

Why not use this new public bank to deal with foreclosures and to ensure that money is loaned to small businesses and for start-up businesses on main street? So President Obama, former community organizer, remember this: Over fifty years ago, Jackie Robinson started a bank in Harlem with very little money, crumbs compared to what you have. If he could do it about fifty years ago, why can't you do it now?

So where did President Obama succeed?

1. President Obama has succeeded in fulfilling many of the promises he talked about in his campaign, such as doing more to correct the inequity in pay to women. His signing of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was not just a bow to labor, which supported his candidacy. It was the right thing to do; and it should have been a long time ago. His signing a bill to help third world countries get funding for family planning was another good example. His hiring of women, women of color, people of color in general, at all levels of government, is noteworthy.
2. Though his staff did not vet closely some folks with tax problems, and though neither Gov. Dean nor Senator Kerry was appointed to cabinet-level positions, overall, President Obama has hired good people for the cabinet.
3. President Obama has been true to his desire to change the tone in the beltway by putting practicality and bi-partisanship over ideology and party loyalty. Frankly, this is a significant reason he is the best president for our times. Ultimately, he will not change the climate in Washington, but he may change it enough to get some important legislation passed during his presidency.

What about Republicans?

More than President Obama, it is Republicans in Washington who are practicing party politics and failing this country at a time when bi-partisanship and a spirit of cooperation is needed the most. For example, after Democrats and Republicans complained that enough was in the stimulus package for infrastructure, the Obama tried to put $20 additional billions in the budget, and Republicans rejected it because the budget was just too huge. Of course they need said this President Bush was getting us into debt. And, as the daddy recalls, this was on the same day that a report came out saying about 600,000 Americans had lost their jobs in January.

The daddy sees four things happening here:

1. Republicans have failed because they have no plans. Their idea of cutting taxes was a failure under Bush and, for that matter, under Reagan, which is why he raised taxes in his second term.
2. Republicans have failed because they have no plans to help middle and low-income people. Telling people to get private accounts when they don't have jobs is silly. Telling people to rely on tax cuts when they don't have a job or health insurance is idiotic. What these ideas demonstrate is that Republicans have no sympathy or empathy for middle and low-income Americans-- that they can't get past super individualistic ideology to a job plan and a safety net for those less fortunate than they.

And though they want say it publicly, what they resent more than anything are the sums in the stimulus that goes out for the poor: the $300 per person for those on social security; the extended unemployment insurance; the additional amounts for those on welfare, even the tax cuts for small businesses (as opposed to large corporations, their true friends for whom they make work after leaving congress). Kanye West said last year that President George Bush hated black people. No, Kanye. President Bush and the Republican party hate poor people.
3. Because they have no real plans, because they don't care about poor people anyway, the Republican party is failing this nation by engaging in obstructionist politics to the bone. What else do they have? They've lost ideologically: the Reagan revolution is over it. President Bush lost it. Now, they only have a strategy of obstruction until they can find something new or repackage. So they fight on against ideas by Obama (good or bad), hoping to stall him long enough until the 2012 presidential elections.
4. Beneath party politics and a failed Reagan ideology of government as enemy, the Republican party has failed the American people by continuing the discussion of race. The real deal is that it is not just filthy-mouth right-wing radio talk show host Limbaugh who wants Obama to fail. Most Republicans and many white Americans who listen to them want him to fail as well. They say "How dare this upstart, this skinny black guy with the big ears run for president of our country? How dare he and other democrats promote these socialist causes equality for women, and those tree huggers? How dare they work with that Nancy Pelosi and those San Francisco liberals {gays} and communists (anyone with a trace of progressive in them, like that economist Paul Krugman of the New York Times).

But no pundits, right or left, will say that publically. Nonetheless, this dirty secret is what helps pompous, right wing idiots and drug addicts like Limbaugh and Savage on radio and right-wing-milk-the-kool aid-drinker preachers continue to hold sway over a still-powerful Republican base. They are the ones holding together what’s left of a Republican party. That’s why you couldn’t get more than one or two Republican senators or legislators to criticize Limbaugh for saying he wants Obama and administration to fail, a truly un-American thing
to say.

President Obama has made some mistakes. But it's the Republican party which continues to fail the American people the most. For President Obama to succeed in his first term, he will need liberal, progressive or regular down-home folk to support him beat back the forces who only want change on terms that benefit themselves, other Republicans and their rich friends the most.
Note: Don't forget to check out the photos on my sidebar of black leaders who made a
difference in moving this country closer to a just land.


rainywalker said...

I'm not interested in talking Democrats, Republicans or Stimulus.
There is a section in the bill that has to do with seniors and the poor which will limit surgery based on cost. If the cost is more than they would expect you to live [a formula] you will not get the operation. I have a friend that is 83 and going to have three by-passes and to heart valves replaced tomorrow. Under this bill she would not be allowed to have the operation. I don't care about me, I'm concerned about the elderly and poor people of this country. This is madness and someone needs to stop it. We can have a debate on socialized medicine later when the people know waht is coming their way.

MacDaddy said...

Rainy:I honestly didn't see that in the bill. Sorry to hear this about your friend. It may be one of those changes put in to appease Republicans. This sounds so important that it shouldn't even be up for debate. Democrats like Keith Ellison and Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota think that we have unnecessarily gotten rid of too many good things to get this bill passed. This looks like one of them.

What I'm hearing is that Obama has gotten so much criticism for this that he is trying desperately to put them back in doing delicate negotiations the rest of this week. Given the lack of Republican support, they may put a few things back into the bill and took some things out. I hope they take another look at this section. There is still time.

Question: Does she get Medicare? My understanding is that, if she gets Social Security is on Medicare, she cannot be denied treatment. Due to my software, I can't get into your blog, so I hope you'll come back and update us. I'm sure all the folks here wish her well.

MacDaddy said...

Rainy: I've been checking at this section. Here's what i've found out so far: that this section was slipped in Tom Daschle before he had to resign as a candidate for the HHS position in Obama's cabinet.
And this section is consistent with the recommendations he made in his book in terms of how to keep down rising costs in healthcare. My understanding is that people on medicare can get help for operations and doctor-prescribed medication for their illness. However, if the stimulus packaged is put into law, their operation and medicine will be measured against how long they will benefit from this medication. People are understandably critical of this idea because it puts the government further into the operating room and hospital room guiding medical care.

Here's an article I just read by Betsy McCaughey entitled "Ruin Your Health With Obama's Stimulus Plan." All I know about her is that she does commentary from Bloomberg. But she makes compelling arguments.

rainywalker said...

You must have read the e-mail and article I sent you. I want a good bill just like you and other Americans but would never approve of any bill that would hurt seniors, children or the poor in our country. We are starting another program on Friday for veterans. Being in Vietnam was one thing but these groups were off limits. I could not live with myself if I had ever became involved in hurting or the killing of these groups. They are the people I came from, the poor.

MacDaddy said...

Rainy: The article I referenced was the second one I saw online about the healthcare section of the stimulus plan. I hear you, and I agree with everything you're saying. But I'm doing further research.I'll be in touch.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Re: your first question found in the title: What are they not telling us?

Maybe that any stimulus package or bailout will only delay the death of this already comatose economy...

MacDaddy said...

Kit: Japan came out of its deep recession. We came out of a depression. Besides cuts in education for building repairing schools (that would really put people to work) and the health section that uses the elderly to cut costs (as Rainy states), I'm more concerned that enough money for infrastructure could delay recovery for sometimes. Ultimately, the U.S. is going to get its own public bank and deal with foreclosures through them or nationalize banks. A great economist named Stigliz believes that that is the only way to save the economy.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Daddy, Spot on as usual with the political/social commentary. MSNBC could use you.

This stimulus package is becoming something it shouldn't. Why are these politicians having such a hard time addressing the real needs of the country.

MacDaddy said...

Sagacious:Thanks for the kind words, but I'm beginning to feel like an idiot. I went over the outline of the stimulus bill. But it has changed since then. For example, the pieces about healthcare now has all this stuff in it that came from the recommendations from Tom Daschle's book. It was deliberately slipped at the end so people like us wouldn't see it. It's terrible. Same thing with education. That would have provided lots of jobs, but Obama's people took it out to appease Sen. McConnell and his folks. Obama's folks need to show more guts. They can pass this thing without big Republican support anyway.

I'm still checking into the latest version.

Christopher said...

I think Obama's heart is in the right place: he really thinks he can bring a new style of bipartisanship to Washington.

Call it idealistic or naivety but I think this is how he views his election to the presidency.

The problem for him is (and I think Obama is 100% correct on this stimulus package), the current GOP leadership of Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn would rather see this country go down the toilet, just so long as Obama fails.

I think they hate him for the following reasons:

1. he's African American
2. he defeated the Old Coot
3. he's smarter than them
4. he commands the support of a majority of the American people
5. they're afraid of him

Just my opinion, now.

MacDaddy said...

Rainy: I've read Media Matters and the Progressive Report, and both say the article I referenced by McCaughey from Bloomberg is is inaccurate. First, they say her notion that a new board was created to provide a new bureaucracy to control doctors is not true. They say the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology already exist. They say it was created by President Bush in 2004.

Second, they say it was established to provide HHH Secretary leadership"provides counsel to the Secretary of HHS for the development and nationwide implementation" of "health information technology."

They say it does not monitor doctors, provide treatment plans or guides or protocols. "providing appropriate information" so that doctors can make better informed decisions. Media Matters says it is about about developing "...electronic records system so that doctors can have complete, accurate information about their patients." They say it is about "adopting money-saving health technology (like electronic medical records), reduce costly duplicate services and medical errors, and create jobs."

I've been going to these blogs for some time. I trust them. But I still wonder where McCaughey got this information? So, I'm going to write her. I have her e-mail address. This information so important. I will continue to update.

rainywalker said...

Thanks for the research and may you be right. Once something is passed, it will never go away. But I'm sorry the loose wording could mean anything and I put little credence in the talk from Washington.

judy said...

wow - i learned as much from your comment conversations as i did from the original post! i do agree with christopher that obama's intentions are good. but i too worry about a stimulus package that becomes simply too little, too late. we need big, bold action to reverse the free fall our country is in, and it's time, i think, to stop dancing with the republicans and do what has to be done.

Jay said...

Dr. King Deserves Better in Charlotte, NC!