International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Comment
of the Road for Clunker Bonanza
The governments "Cash for Clunkers" program expired
yesterday like a Looney Tunes auto breathing its last gasp, even
as frantic buyers were still banging down the door. Why Obama let
the only really successful stimulus program die, even as European
Clunkers programs were still roaring ahead full steam, is a source
Obama totally blew
the "Cash for Clunkers" program by ending it too early. The
German program is still running. Obama could have continued stimulating
the U.S. car business, but he cut it short by being too cautious, as
though he were afraid of what the Republicans would say about him.
All he would have had to do was to send one cabinet-level genius over
to Germany, to see how their program was operating and what it was accomplishing,
but he didnt do it. He functioned totally in the dark, and now
he has cut short a great opportunity to inject a lot of high octane
into the economy.
He is also being too cautious on health care. The Republicans are not
even disguising their true intentions they mean to kill it. He
should just ignore them and push the legislation through and worry about
it later. He should explain to the Blue Dog Democrats that whether he
wins or loses their seats will be on the line anyway, and if they expect
to be supported by the national party in the next election, they should
board the train before it leaves the station.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was confronted with the same dilemma when he assumed
office in 1933. He chose to push through his social programs during
the worst years of the depression, in the face of unanimous Republican
opposition, and he had to face reactionary Democrats as well. Everybody
was screaming that the country couldnt afford them, but Roosevelt
had the wind at his back and he pushed through Social Security, the
Federal Housing Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority, banking
and stock market reform and a lot of other legislation. To pay for it,
he increased taxes on high-income earners, which really got a lot of
his previous supporters mad at him.
Roosevelt had a four-year window of opportunity to act when he had big
majorities in congress, and he took advantage of it. In 1937, a Conservative
Coalition of Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats wrested back control
of congress and prevented any further Roosevelt reforms. But the programs
that had already been instituted were so effective and popular that
the so-called "conservatives" were never able to reverse them.
Roosevelts programs were so effective that U.S. gross domestic
product had shot up from 14% negative growth in 1932 to plus 11%
in 1935. By 1936, it had attained plus 12%. When the Conservative Coalition
took over congress in 1937 as the result of hysterical fear-mongering
and insults by the media of that time, which was entirely controlled
by Roosevelts enemies, and shut off many of Roosevelts stimulus
programs, GDP plunged back into negative territory, from whence it did
not recover until the Second World War. Do we really need the benefit
of their wisdom now?
Obama should learn from the lessons of history. When you have the means
to act, you act. As Mr. Dooley observed, "Politics aint beanbag".
You pick your shots and then you spend the rest of your time in office
consolidating your gains.
The one person with the most health care experience is Bill Clinton.
Sure, he mishandled it, but hes had 16 years to reflect on what
he did wrong, and Obama is not even considering his opinions, which
is like a knucklehead teenager insisting on making his own mistakes.
The possible achievable gains during this session of congress are too
important for the administration to waste time reinventing the wheel.
© Dean Borok Agust 25th 2009
I am not here to debate the merits of universal health insurance.
That is a given. I am complaining about the lunatic fringe of society
loudmouth sociopaths who are being bussed around the country
and paid cash money by insurance companies to scream and yell
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