On President Obama and the Economic Crisis



Between a Rock and a Hard Place


 Combating Ignorance about the Eonomy


Yesterday the President held a town meeting to discuss the economy and was met with questions from disillusioned citizens about when the persistent economic crisis will end and they can live their American dreams – by which most mean a prolonged binge of mindless consumerism, but others wish for just a normal life free of the chaos of unemployment and poverty.  Yet in spite of assurances from our economic sages that the great recession is finally over, millions of Americans remain in desperate economic shape.  But to lash out at President Obama and vote for the Republicans is to jump out of the frying pan into a raging fire!

The mere idea of someone  voting for the Grand Obstructionist Party as a protest against President Obama’s failure to solve all the complex problems he inheireted from Bush in 18months – or staying hom on election day –  is a measure of the extent to which our politics is driven by irrational anger. This anger is not simply a spontaneous combustion; it is stoked by right-wing talking heads in the broadcast media led by the verbal arsonists at WABC radio and the Fox television network.  These people operate in a fact free zone and thus can conjure up any scenario they wish; certain their fans won’t give a shit so long as their twisted vision of the world is confirmed.

The result of this state of affairs in mass media has been to convince millions of misinformed intellectually lazy Americans that President Obama is responsible for their economic problems. While some would deny the extent of the influence exerted by these media wags, the results of this widespread dissemination of disinformation through mass broadcast outlets is that this propaganda is being regurgitated as fact by enraged members of the “Tea Party” mob.

Furthermore, the mainstream press is doing a piss poor job pointing out that these right wing zealots, and the Republican establishment that support and is attempting to control them, have no solutions to the crisis that their laizze Faire economic policies created.  And since they don’t even pretend that they would do anything different from what they did under Bush – whose diastrous economic policies they all supported – there is no reason to expect that things will be different this time around. Unless you are a wee bit nuts, a sure sympton of which is doing the same things and expecting different results.

Ever since Republican President Herbert hoover’s policies plunged the nation into the Great Depression, a Republican President has never balanced the Federal budget – in spite of all the lip service they pay to it.   The much revered Ronald Reagan  created the first trillion deficit – while transferring massive amounts of wealth from the poor to the rich – and George bush took the multi-billion surplus bequeathed to him by Bill Clinton and squandered it, plunging the economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression!   When viewed from this perspective, it is clear that only a moron could think of the Republicans as economic saviors as a viable alternative to President Obama.  It is the duty of every body with the best interests of the country at heart to rally around the President and give him as many partners in the congress as possible in the coming elections.

Maureen Dowd, the usually insightful Pulitzer Prize winning columnist with the New York Times, is a classic case of what people on the liberal left should not be doing.   In a column titled “Myth and Madness” a petulant Ms. Dowd blames the President for the rampant ignorance spreading like a virus throughout the nation.  After praising his use of passion and myth “during his campaign” she laments the fact that “These two elements…are sorely missing from his presidency.”  She evidently fails to recognize that this is because the requirements for governing are fundamentally different from campaigning for office. 

Instead of pointing out that the President is struggling against an epidemic of ignorance and apathy, which is cynically exploited and promoted by the Grand Obstructionist Party; she has joined the swelling mob of liberal/leftie whiners, agonizing over the fact that the President cannot wave a magic wand and get a moronic electorate to recognize the momentous changes he has wrought. Ironically, that’s the job of the press alas; and judging by the impassioned but clueless questioners at the Town meeting yesterday, Ms. Dowd and her colleagues have failed miserably!

During the question and answer period an African American woman who was – as the brilliant 18th century Afro-American scientist Benjamin Banneker described himself in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, “of deep the deepest dye”  – rose in indignation to upbraid President Obama.  “I’m tired of defending you and your administration” she lamented.  Then she proceeded to haughtily chastise him for not keeping his campaign promise to bring about change in America.  Her complaint was not only untrue…it was absurd! 

If you only consider the fact that he signed law that makes unequal pay for women a crime, and his health care reforms makes it impossible for insurance companies to dump you when you are sick, refuse to insure if you have been sick before and extends coverage of children on the parent’s insurance until the age of 26, it is clear that he has helped this woman immensely!  But he has done far more than that.  His reforms in the credit card industry and the sweeping financial reform laws are both historic achievements. 

Furthermore, President Obama arrested the progress of the recession and reversed the trends so dramatically that Wall Street is flourishing again and the banks are paying back their government loans with interests.  He also saved the automobile industry, preserving America’s premiere manufacturing sector. Thus people such as the lady in question, like the other ill-informed, verbose, self-righteous scolds bitching and moaning, was spouting pure nonsense!



Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York

September 21, 2010

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