Call me overly simplistic but I think that it’s time for President Obama to make a major course adjustment in dealing with the whole economic stimulus bill. I have to hand it to him though. After his electoral mandate, he arrived in Washington and extended an olive branch to the opposition. The Republicans, in typical fashion, responded with partisan politicking. In the meantime, the clock continues to tick and the economy worsens.
Looking Back Again
As I have been blogging recently, there numerous parallels between the economics crises of depression era and post-Reagan Americas. The causes are eerily similar; the ideological actors are laughably alike. FDR, at first brought in officials from he failed Hoover administration. His Budget Director was a Republican and one of the most fiscally conservative voices in the Congress at the time. Yet, when push came to shove, FDR knew that he had won the election by a landslide and the American people would not support complacency. FDR was granted enormous power by Congress to wage war against the economic depression. While wielding that power judiciously, he was not averse to twisting an arm or two in the process.
President Obama’s persona is that of a calm, collected and composed politician. We are not aware (at least not yet) of his political persuasion skills when it is time to get down and dirty. I believe that it is time to publicly show a flexing of political muscle. And here is how he can do it:
Should there continue to be political squabbling over the stimulus package, the President should reintroduce a series of separate bills, each addressing the fundamental problems that this nation faces. A separate bill for jobs creation; another for the mortgage crisis; yet another for middle class tax relief and yet another addressing the banking crisis. In trying to address all the issues with one mega piece of legislation, none of the problems are being addressed efficiently and are subject to petty political squabbles. Let’s face it, should the current legislation fail to solve the crisis (and it will fail), the Republicans will be first in line to blame the President. Even as he accommodates the Republicans, the reality is that zero Republicans voted for the bill in the House and he has only garnered the support of 3 in the Senate. If he wants Republican support then he needs to submit a pro-tax cut, anti-spending bill to Congress; which is what got us into this mess in the first place! The Republicans will never support a progressively inspired bill regardless of the potential benefits of its success. Never!
If the Republicans wish to filibuster the separate legislations, the President can call them out for being obstructionists. In addition, the President needs to completely scrap the notion of tax cuts that have been negotiated into the present bill and publicly denounce the dogma that tax cuts lead to economic prosperity thus breaking from the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush cabal of laissez-fair free traders. President Obama needs to strong arm his economic plan in much the same way that George W. Bush shoved his “let’s keep America safe at whatever cost” ideology on the American people.
President Obama must realize that 53% of American voters voted for change last November. Pushing through an economic agenda that upsets the other 47% is nothing to be afraid of when 95% of all Americans will be adversely affected by inaction. The President has 66,882,230 reasons to act decisively.