Saturday

Obama is Too Conservative - Needs to be More Aggressive


In thinking through this whole economic meltdown, bailout conundrum, perhaps I have been a bit hasty in rendering judgment upon President Obama. Admittedly, I was wary as our government took that first leap into what appeared to be a bottomless chasm from which no one would recover. But, as I look at the progress we have made and the future on the horizon, I now believe that the economic recovery plan laid out before us just doesn't go far enough.


Coming to this conclusion is humbling to say the least. It requires me to admit that there are so many people much smarter than I. When our government acquired a majority stake in American International Group (80%), I had concern over the takeover of private industry. I fretted over the takeovers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (80% each) thinking the fox had taken over the chicken coops. Then came major claims over the operations of Citigroup (33%), GMAC (35%) and Chrysler (8%). Now it appears that the government will own between 60 and 70 percent of General Motors (I am hoping that since GM declared bankruptcy it means the taxpayers will get a bargain price and come out ahead).


I used to be worried as to whether the executives at these various firms would balk and create problems that might stifle the progress occurring around them. At first it seemed as though this would be a problem, but President Obama nipped that in the bud. The Federal Reserve nominated five of the nine directors to the board of AIG. He fired former GM chief executive G. Richard Wagoner Jr. and will name or influence most board nominations, according to people familiar with the matter. Four out of nine directors at Chrysler will be named by the administration. (To show we're not hogging the plate, Canada will get to select a fifth director). As for those in the banking industry, regulators have successfully steered the selection of new board members there as well. My original fear seems so much ado about nothing.


There are some additional benefits with this as well. Chrysler will be loosing about 800 dealers around the country, as announced by the Treasury Department and General Motors will loose about 2600 dealers. I know, at first this seemed to be a down side to me as well, but I was blind and now I see. With the government now deciding how many cars GM and Chrysler will build and how much money auto financier GMAC should lend, they know they won't need all those "extra" dealers. It wouldn't be fair to allow them to compete under the circumstances, so they will be better off anyway. For the rest of us it means fewer of those pesky ads (which have always been a bit tacky) telling us of a "SALE-A-BRATION!". Perhaps Midnight Madness has overcome me, but it appears the plus side of the column is stacking up quite nicely.


In the short term, the loss of these business's may seem inconvenient. We will have to drive farther to get repairs and to purchase replacements. The government has already considered our plight here as well. They have mandated that the cars to be built by the year 2016 must get 36 MPG. See? We won't be spending any more money to get to the dealership that is farther away - we'll be saving money! I can't understand why we didn't do this years ago.


Soon, everyone, both citizens and non (I'm attempting to avoid the use of the word, "illegal" here as I am trying to become more sensitive), will have Free* Health Care. We need to adopt a mindset that allows us to put others first. Sure, the health centers of tomorrow might look more like a DMV office, but we don't go for the decor or the magazines (unless you happened to miss last year and just want to catch up). I know sitting for endless hours in a small waiting room surrounded by others whose every cough might bring the plague to your doorstep doesn't seem inviting, but it's for the good of all Americans (and non-Americans). Stop being so selfish.


As I think of it now, in these terms, I am starting to wonder if President Obama has gone far enough. These stupendous ideas coming from the White House seem to stop short of the panacea that is right there before us. Let's buy up every company producing any goods or services in this country. We could mandate a new minimum wage of (I don't want to be imprudent here), say, $40,000 per year. That way everyone would make at least a living wage. In this utopia of economic modeling, nothing is too good for the people. Why stop at 36 miles per gallon? I thought it depended upon something to do with design and technology, but since it only requires legislation, let's make cars that get 100, no, 150 MPG. See how fun this becomes when you allow yourself to think like the President?


Take a moment out of your day and come up with other great ideas for a new tomorrow. Jot them as comments here and I will forward them to those in government who just don't understand that with a little determination, we could really have it all.


Can't wait to hear from you,

Terry


* Free - Normally associated with something of NO cost, in this case it means no DIRECT cost. Some may experience an increase in their taxes, not to be confused with a "cost". See provider for details.

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