As the scrum over the federal stimulus plan continues in all circles in Washington, both liberal-progressives and conservatives alike are crying foul with many elements of the plan. These inter and intra party squabbling appears to be taking the stimulus plan off the rails. Obviously, the minority opposition party complains about the levels of federal spending and the apparent minor attention being paid to tax cuts. The majority Democratic Party is up at arms because they feel the President is relying too heavily on the prospects of creating bipartisan support at the expense of a progressive agenda. Both the Left and the Right are playing a dangerous game of tug-of-war with the American economy with President Obama playing the role of arbiter. Many are questioning his leadership. His lack of “taking over and pulling rank” may be disturbing to progressives. In addition to giving the Republicans what many feel is too much say in the process, he also has kept on board a few Republicans in his administration.
REWIND to 1932
The country was in the midst of its greatest economic crisis when FDR assumed the presidency. The economy was on the verge of collapse and the nation’s banking industry was on the brink of failure. FDR was being pulled in contrary directions. In his wisdom, the President initially made use of some of Herbert Hoover’s economics team to advise his own economics staff at the onset of his administration. He did so not to maintain the illusion of bipartisanship but because he and his team knew full well that to arrive at the best possible solution they needed the brains of those who were in control when the problem was created. In fact, Hoover’s Secretary of the Treasury as well as, other Treasury and Federal Reserve officials coordinated with the incoming administration to begin the climb out of the national economic disaster. As it turned out, it was a brilliant move and the first strategic baby step of the New Deal.
Now I ask you… does this sound a bit familiar?