Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obama Bi-Partisanship Not Working Stop Trying to Appease Republicans & Centrists Time To Move On!

UPDATE: 11:14 AM & 4:55 PM Feb. 17, 2009

Inside the Meltdown Tues on Frontline PBS

see review at Salon.com : When the big banks tanked

"Frontline" offers a play-by-play of how Bernanke and Paulson tried to prevent a catastrophe during last year's unprecedented financial implosion. By Heather Havrilesky Feb. 17

" Even in America's economic crisis the banks and corporations are still acting as if it were business as usual" Simon Johnson

"Financial system is playing us ( Americans ) as chumps" Simon Johnson

Simon Johnson is former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. He now teaches global economics and management at MIT's Sloan School of Management and is a senior fellow of the Peterson Institute. He is co-founder of that website... baselinescenario.com - where he analyzes the global economic and financial crisis.

Bill Moyers: So here's the trillion dollar question that I take from your blog, that I read at the beginning, quote, "Can this person," your new economic strategist, in this case Geithner, "really break with the vested elite that got you into this much trouble?" Have you seen any evidence this week that he's going to be tough with these guys?

Simon Johnson: I'm trying to be positive. I'm trying to be supportive. I like the administration. I voted for the president. The answer to your question is, no, I haven't seen anything. But you know, perhaps next week I will. But right now, as we speak, I have a bad feeling in my stomach.

My intuition, from crises, from situations that have improved, the situations that got worse, my intuition is that this is going to get a lot worse. It's going to cost us a lot more money. And we are going down a long, dark, blind alley.

" High Noon: Geithner v. the American Oligarchs " Bill Moyers Journal, PBS, Feb. 13, 2009

Part 1-Bill Moyer's Journal interview of Samuel Johnson

Part 2- Bill Moyer's Journal

Republicans still invoke Reagan as a president who reduced government when in fact he increased government and he increased the deficit.

Author: Reagan mythology won't save economy-

MSNBCs The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Feb. 5, 2009.

MASSIVE FAIL: Reaganomics (1981-2009) (Part 1 of 2) - "The Rachel Maddow Show"

Deregulation & Tax Cuts for the rich as a disaster for America and the Maddoff Ponzi Scheme .

Whistleblower informed those in Bush government of Maddoff's Ponzi scheme and offered to go under-cover to get the needed evidence for indictments- Bush guys refuse and ignore whistleblower

DC Journalists Love GOP Obstructionists, But Americans Don't, Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake.com at Huffington Post Feb. 16, 2009

There appears to be a pretty big gap between what DC journalists think Americans think, and what Americans actually think. No better example of this can be found than the "winners" and "losers" that DC media are proclaiming in the wake of the passage of the stimulus bill, and what DailyKos/Research 2000 polling on the subject indicates.

DC opinion: It's good for the Republicans!

and see article by Ann Pettifor at Huffington Post in which she refutes claims of Republicans that financial stimulus will bankrupt the country and burden the next generation with debt is exaggerated and is a stretch given their own fiscal policies over the last eight years
The Fiscal Stimulus Will Pay For Itself" by Ann Pettifor at Huffington Post Feb. 15, 2009

Rachel Maddow gets it. Economists and Republicans don't.

I watched Prof. Jeffrey Sachs on Rachel Maddow's show the other day. She asked whether the fiscal stimulus would work. "No" he said emphatically, it would not. "No one has the tools....to fix this......the fiscal hole will cripple us for the long-term."

She tentatively mentioned 'the multiplier.' He brushed this aside with a counsel of despair. "We might have a few more jobs in the short-term but a massive deficit in the long-term..."

Scant consolation for 13 million unemployed and underemployed Americans. Their lives could be transformed by this fiscal stimulus.

...Sachs's analysis is overwhelmingly shared by mainstream economists. And by Republicans. These have been whipping voters into a frenzy with talk of 'generational theft.' Future generations, they argue, will be paying for this fiscal stimulus for decades to come. That is simply not true...

... Readers no doubt know that during the Bush-Cheney years the US national debt doubled from $5,700bn in 2001 to $10,700bn today. Others may recollect that Mr. Cheney said in 2001: "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter."

So let's not hear any more from Republicans about deficits mattering or about 'generational theft.'

...It works like this. Government invests in labor-intensive programs ...

The energy efficiency/transportation/public housing programs hire American workers...

Next, something called 'the multiplier' kicks in...

The workers get pay checks. They use the income to pay taxes - direct to the US government. So immediately the government can use these tax revenues to fix the budget. Then workers purchase goods and services - boosting the economy. Companies hire more workers to deal with demand for materials from stimulus-sponsored programs. More employed workers equals more taxpayers.

Ever-rising tax revenues drop into the Treasury's coffers.

...If there is a complaint it's the one the non-economist Rachel Maddow made to Prof. Sachs. The fiscal stimulus is just not big enough. $789 billion will not be enough to fill the $2 trillion collapse in output since the crisis started.

So, it's more strength to your elbow President Obama. And Congress, get ready for phase two of the fiscal stimulus.

as for Bipartisanship:

Obama needs to rethink Bipartisanship- Might be nice in theory but it ain't happening since the Republicans don't want to play nice so the advice to the Obama administrarion is to move.

"Republicans Seem To Be More Interested in Seeing Recovery Package Fail"

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Republicans Seem To Be More Interested in Seeing Recovery Package Fail

Debbie Wasserman Schultz on CNN's State of the Union responding to John King questioning her with the media's latest talking points on bipartisanship and about what's going to happen to the bill once it goes to conference committee. She explains that Republicans refused the hand of bipartianship. The only people surprised by that are the media.

also see: The Republican Bipartisan Myth by John Ridley at Huffington Post Feb. 13, 2009

...Despite all the sit-downs Obama had with the Republicans -- apparently too many for Speaker Pelosi's tastes -- and despite the fact that the House version of the Stimulus Bill contained specific tax breaks for which the Republicans had asked -- though not to the degree they wished -- not a single GOPer would break ranks, step up and vote for the bill. A surprisingly "my way or the highway" attitude for the minority party whose eight years of good cogitating was a major factor in whipping America into the stellar fiscal shape we find ourselves.

When three Republican Senators voted for the Senate version of the bill -- Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Maine Sens. Olympia J. Snowe and Susan M. Collins, who in particular worked tirelessly with moderate Dem Sen. Ben Nelson to try and reach a true bipartisan compromise -- they were immediately put on a "hit" list by the conservative National Republican Trust PAC. The PAC's executive director Scott Wheeler stated: "We just want to send a message that we're going to have a long institutional memory, and we're going to remind your constituents of what you did."

And Danny Schechter at Information Clearing House argues that Obama like Lincoln before him who also faced a national crisis has to take bold measures to save America's economy and to lessen the harm and pain it is causing for average Americans. In doing so Obama must stop trying to appease the Republicans and the centrist who are more interested in maintaining the status-quo of the rich and powerful.

" Obama: Learn From Lincoln And Do The Right Thing-As The Economic Situation Declines, He Has To Stop Centrist Diddling " By Danny Schechter Feb. 16, 2009 "ICH"

...Today, there are modern Confederates called Republicans even though, in his day, that was Lincoln's party. Like the obstructionists of the old South, they have closed the door on compromise and are, in effect, seceding from the change agenda that the majority of the voters supported in the 2008 election. Rush Limbaugh's statement, "I want him to fail," speaks to and for these defenders of policies responsible for this disaster.

It’s been suggested that the GOP’s solidarity front was not so much about the stimulus bill as sending a message to the Obamacrats not to pursue any prosecutions connected to the Bush era. But even if Obama himself, who keeps stressing his desire to look forward not backwards, doesn't have the gumption to go after his predecessors, he may have to consider taking bolder steps on the economy to stave off the financial Armageddon many fear.

Obama knew he didn’t win by a landslide or fully control Congress. He thought he could legitimize his Administration by ingratiating the center of the deal-making culture of the Washington consensus. Tarnished on the campaign as a radical and worse, he felt he had to signal to the media and his adversaries that he would play the game by its rules, "responsibly." His adversaries sneered and the media amplified their slogans.

......And we need a President, like Lincoln, that is willing to re-examine policies that are not working and dare to be great. We have aboliticionist Frederick Douglass to thank for pressing Honest Abe with the understanding that “Without struggle, there can be no progress.” With so many interests and industries now leaning on Obama, we need his supporters to press him to do the right thing.

and Paul Krugman of The New York Times argues that Obama's desire to be bipartisan and centrist in order to appease conservatives who were fear mongering about how radical Obama appeared has not worked and has led to a stimulus package which is not bold enough and is a few hundred billion at least less than it should be with too many concessions to the Republicans and conservative Democrats.

Failure to Rise " by Paul Krugman at The New York Times, Feb. 12, 2009

...These aren’t normal times, so normal political standards don’t apply: Mr. Obama’s victory feels more than a bit like defeat. The stimulus bill looks helpful but inadequate, especially when combined with a disappointing plan for rescuing the banks. And the politics of the stimulus fight have made nonsense of Mr. Obama’s postpartisan dreams.

...But it’s now clear that the party’s commitment to deep voodoo — enforced, in part, by pressure groups that stand ready to run primary challengers against heretics — is as strong as ever. In both the House and the Senate, the vast majority of Republicans rallied behind the idea that the appropriate response to the abject failure of the Bush administration’s tax cuts is more Bush-style tax cuts.

...For while Mr. Obama got more or less what he asked for, he almost certainly didn’t ask for enough. We’re probably facing the worst slump since the Great Depression. The Congressional Budget Office, not usually given to hyperbole, predicts that over the next three years there will be a $2.9 trillion gap between what the economy could produce and what it will actually produce. And $800 billion, while it sounds like a lot of money, isn’t nearly enough to bridge that chasm.

Officially, the administration insists that the plan is adequate to the economy’s need. But few economists agree. And it’s widely believed that political considerations led to a plan that was weaker and contains more tax cuts than it should have — that Mr. Obama compromised in advance in the hope of gaining broad bipartisan support. We’ve just seen how well that worked.

and Krugman concludes:

...Over all, the effect was to kick the can down the road. And that’s not good enough. So far the Obama administration’s response to the economic crisis is all too reminiscent of Japan in the 1990s: a fiscal expansion large enough to avert the worst, but not enough to kick-start recovery; support for the banking system, but a reluctance to force banks to face up to their losses. It’s early days yet, but we’re falling behind the curve.

And I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach — a feeling that America just isn’t rising to the greatest economic challenge in 70 years. The best may not lack all conviction, but they seem alarmingly willing to settle for half-measures. And the worst are, as ever, full of passionate intensity, oblivious to the grotesque failure of their doctrine in practice.

There’s still time to turn this around. But Mr. Obama has to be stronger looking forward. Otherwise, the verdict on this crisis might be that no, we can’t.

and so it goes,

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