Archive for the ‘deficits’ Category

What we don’t know about Obama

January 22, 2009

We know a lot more about Barack Obama than we did on Election Day. He wastes little time making big decisions. He was serious about surrounding himself with seasoned people, even if they are outsized personalities likely to jostle one another and unlikely to salute on command. He intends to move quickly to put his personal stamp on government and national life. 

By Jim VandeHei, John F. Harris

Yet much about how the 44th president will govern remains a mystery—perhaps even to Obama himself.
The stirring rhetoric witnessed on the campaign trail and in Tuesday’s inaugural address is laced with spacious language — flexible enough to support conflicting conclusions about what he really believes.
Only decisions, not words, can clarify what Obama stands for. Those are coming soon enough. 

Until then, here are the questions still left hanging as the Obama administration begins:


The new president has strongly signaled that he thinks the answer is yes. But neither his rhetoric nor his policy proposals so far have fully reckoned with the implications….

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Does Obama Really Believe in Transparency?

Ed Henry

What a long, strange trip Barack Obama’s first full day as president turned out to be.

He began the day pushing for more transparency in government, only to end it by keeping TV cameras out when Chief Justice John Roberts re-administered the oath of the presidency.

Economy: What Do We Really Want? Immediate Pain Relief or Wealth for Children?

January 11, 2009

Americans are hurting.  The economy is in freefall and will probably continue on a downward path for at least the rest of 2009.  A newly elected President Obama campaigned on “audacity” and “hope” and will do just about anything to resolve the economic mess.

What we here at Peace and Freedom hope for is  a long-lasting solution.  Not a band- aid.

And even a huge spending bill that doesn’t create wealth and long term economic solutions is still only a band-aid over what may be an economic cancer.

And if we want a long-term solution don’t we want wealth and prosperity for our children and grand children?

And will massive debt bring us that?

Do we want some immediate economic pain relief?  Some Xanax?  Some “feel good” stimulus?  Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and panic disorder.

Like a band-aid, it doesn’t cure anything.

One of our great industrialists, Norman Augustine,  recently told Congress, “America is becoming a nation of the unemployed.”

How do we cure that?

What do we do here?  And what will Americans do in the future?  And are the things we do economically “sustainable”?


We hope for jobs, but not just any jobs.  We hope for jobs that continue after the government spending stops.  And that may mean we have not yet finished “thinking out of the box.”

Maybe we haven’t really started, yet.

Spending massive amounts, and in a hurry-through-Congress manner, as the President-elect has requested, just doesn’t seem smart.

Our “New Deal” spending didn’t kill the Great Depression as I recall.

The Republicans don’t seem too smart on the economic thinking train as Tom Raum’s article below says.  But maybe the Republicans are trying to say, “let’s think this through some more.”

Because some Democrats are saying that too.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

 Audacity, Hope and Obama’s Spending Stimulus: Once Discredited Theory Gets A Real Try
Obama Pressed From Left on Stimulus
Obama Stimulus: Trapped Between Too Little Rock and Paul Krugman Nightmare
Pelosi, Committee Told, “America becoming the nation of the unemployed,” — Congress to Blame?

A bank employee counts US dollar bank notes. The euro fell sharply ...


By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer

Out of power, Republicans appear to be retreating to familiar old ground. They’re becoming deficit hawks again.

GOP lawmakers didn’t seem to mind enjoying the fruits of government largesse for the past eight years while one of their own was in the White House. Now they’re struggling to regain footing at a time of economic rout, a record $1.2 trillion budget deficit and an incoming Democratic president claiming a mandate for change.

It might not be the best time for running against more government spending. But that hasn’t stopped Republicans from casting themselves as protectors of the public purse, striving for relevancy as Congress tackles President-elect Barack Obama‘s stimulus legislation.

“Congress cannot keep writing checks and simply pass IOUs to our children and grandchildren,” says Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Asks House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio: “How much debt are we going to pile on future generations?”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., gets more specific: “We would like, on the spending side, obviously, to avoid funding things like a mob museums or water slides.” Mob museums?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, seen in 2008, speaks ... 
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, seen in 2008, speaks during a press conference.AFP/Getty Images

Las Vegas’ effort to include in the stimulus legislation federal money to set up a museum to showcase Nevada‘s colorful and storied past in organized crime has suddenly become the cited example of wasteful spending for some Republicans.

Perhaps they hope the proposed project in the home state of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., can divert attention from the “Bridge to Nowhere,” an Alaska project that was initially a Republican initiative and which became the target of Democratic scorn.

Obama has pledged the economic aid legislation will be free of such pork-barrel and “earmark” spending.

“It is somewhat disingenuous on the part of Republicans to be totally concerned about the debt and the deficit at this point because they were there when the debt went up,” said James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University.

When Republican President George W. Bush took office in 2001, the government had a projected $5.6 trillion, 10-year surplus.


EDITOR’S NOTE — Tom Raum has covered Washington for The Associated Press since 1973, including five presidencies.

Europeans Deplore Huge Debts, Spending to Solve Current Economic Crisis

January 8, 2009

The head of Europe‘s biggest economy said Thursday that world leaders should be looking at the massive U.S. deficit and other economic imbalances, not just problems caused by financial markets, as they debate a new global order.

Speaking at a conference in Paris on the future of capitalism, German Chancellor Angela Merkel singled out the American budget deficit and China‘s current account surplus — the difference between exports and imports — as problems upsetting the global economy.

“We would be making an error if we were content to look solely at financial markets,” she said.

She deplored huge debts that governments are accumulating to spend their way out of the present crisis. But she said she recognized, for the moment, that “there is no other possibility.”

By EMMA VANDORE and GREG KELLER, AP Business Writers

French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech at the symposium ... 
French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech at the symposium ‘New World, New Capitalism’ in Paris Thursday Jan. 8, 2009. Sarkozy and former British prime minister Tony Blair host a conference on the financial crisis focusing on values and development. Sarkozy has hit out at financial speculators for having ‘perverted’ capitalism, which he said Thursday should be overhauled with a new role for governments and moral values.(AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer/Pool)

A Congressional Budget Office report estimates that the U.S. federal budget deficit will hit an unparalleled $1.2 trillion for the 2009 budget year — and that is before President-elect Barack Obama’s sweeping stimulus package is calculated. European governments have agreed to be flexible about budget rules that limit deficits to 3 percent of gross domestic product as recession bites.

Merkel said the International Monetary Fund has not managed to regulate global capitalism, and she called for the creation of an economy body at the United Nations, similar to the Security Council, to judge government policy.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, leading the two-day conference with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, blamed financial speculators for encouraging a system fueled on debt. He called financial capitalism based on speculation “an immoral system” that has “perverted the logic of capitalism.”

“It’s a system where wealth goes to the wealthy, where work is devalued, where production is devalued, where entrepreneurial spirit is devalued,” he said.


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