Do the Right Thing

This is why Democrats are actually a party and a people of integrity: I’m now going to attack Barrack Obama.

May’s job numbers just came out and surprise, surprise, they’re disappointing.  Yes, jobs were actually created, but because more people are looking for work, the unemployment rate went up, and now, Mitt Romney and the Republicans are going to have a hey-day saying what a horrible person the President is (as if they haven’t done that enough already).  Of course, they have no solutions for our economy, and they seem to forget that they control the House (which, ironically, they won by campaigning on jobs that they haven’t created) and could pass legislation that would create jobs anytime they felt like it.  However, you can read nearly any of my other blogs if you want to learn about how the Republican party is totally corrupt and without a shred of dignity or integrity.  Besides, the fact is that none of this would be an issue if President Obama would have actually behaved like a Democrat, which means that you do what is right, whether it is politically popular or not.

A little background first: the crash of 2007-8 put this country in a deep recession that led to massive layoffs and a high rate of unemployment.  On top of that, and as a result of 30 years of trickle-down economics, the distribution of wealth in our country was, and is now, massively unequal.  When the richest 1% of our country owns more wealth than the bottom 90%, it’s bad, and it’s bad because it means that most Americans cannot afford to buy things, or at least can’t buy as much as they used to; look, we can argue until the cows come home about income redistribution—which usually gets Republican panties all in a bunch—but regardless of how we tackle the problem of wealth inequality, the bottom line is that it is terrible for any nation’s economy.  This is especially true in this country, where as much as 70% of our economy is based on consumer spending.  So, long story short, when Obama came into office, he inherited a depressed, consumer-driven economy, with massive inequality and high unemployment.

We should have had a jobs program.  We should have had a four year stimulus package that contained no tax breaks, and was three times bigger than the one we had (2 trillion at least).  We should have been hiring construction workers to rebuild and strengthen our infrastructure.  We should have reformed our educational system so that it was providing the best education in the world. We should have really fixed the health care system, by providing some sort of competitive, single payer option to drive down insurance costs.  We should have raised the minimum wage, and offered to forgive or defer student loan debts.  Indeed, there are a lot of things we should have done, but at the end of the day, we got a flaccid stimulus package full of tax breaks instead of real spending, and a watered-down health care bill that hasn’t even really taken effect.

Look, I get that during the last 4 years, Obama has faced the single greatest effort to obstruct progress in the history of mankind from the Republican Party, but quite honestly, he hasn’t fought like he should have—instead, he’s gone along with conventional wisdom (which is anything but), trying to beat the Republicans at their own game rather than changing the game entirely.

See, by compromising with the Republicans and conservative Democrats to gain passage of the Stimulus and the Affordable Care Act, Obama gutted his biggest weapon—which was, and still is, righteousness in the face of opposition; after all, the legislation passed.  The problem is that they didn’t work as well as they should have, and so, the Republicans can sit there and say that neither worked, because well, it’s largely true (which is what happens when you bring a knife to a gun fight).  And now, the economy is stalling out, and everyone is going to blame Obama, which is exactly what Romney and the Republicans wanted all along.

Luckily, what Obama should have done is still on the table.  He needs to get out on the stump and argue for a stimulus.  He needs to argue for education and infrastructure spending.  He needs to point out that we need to get this economy back on its feet before we worry about paying down the deficit.  He began to do this last summer with his jobs bill, but gave up, likely because political strategists told him that if he was out there reminding people that the economy wasn’t very good, they would blame him.

Which brings us to the real crux of the problem in Washington: politicians, including Obama, are cowards that simply want to be re-elected, and instead of doing what is right and risking the chance that it won’t work, they triangulate, postulate, and calculate how they can stake out positions based on focus groups to remain in office.

So Democrats, if you want to win in the long run, just do what’s right.  Advocate for what’s right.  Use your political power to help regular people, whether they reward you for it in the short term or not.  In the long term they will reward you, because progress and effective government when the other side is corrupt and ball-less, is pretty damned impressive.

The bottom line is that the U.S. economy is going to suck until we figure out a way to increase the spending power of consumers; in the short term, that means we need a big stimulus package, we need to spend on infrastructure and education, and we need to reform our health care system.  Until we do, our economy will be stagnant, if not at risk for a double dip recession.  The bully pulpit is yours for another precious 6 months before the election, Mr. Obama.  Just do the right thing, tell people the truth, advocate for pro-growth policies, and come November, win or lose, history will remember your name fondly.

About The Author: Jay Scott

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