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To my father---as tough as an authoritarian as he was, he planted the seeds for this work. Did he know what he was doing?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gambit Time for the President

It’s been leaked out that the president is going to propose jobs legislation when he returns from vacation.  I think at this point in his presidency, it’s time to play chess---to win.

Until now he’s had to deal with a recalcitrant opposition party that will stop at nothing short but insuring that his presidency is for one term.  They’ve stated so.  And they’ve done that by insisting that votes in the senate require an almost impossible filibuster proof 60 votes (in case you never realized it).  That treatment was almost never invoked against other presidents.  Unfortunately, it’s become politics before country; and the compromises in legislation end up lousy, unsatisfying deals.  That’s where most don’t get it. 

It was one thing to consider the likes of Mitch McConnell to proclaim Obama’s a one term president as a boastful statement in the beginning of his term.  Little did most realize that they were serious enough to actually institute whatever game plan necessary to assure that claim; even if it meant country second.  I believe Obama recognized this after the Healthcare debacle; that, in lieu of a simple majority, even though having 58 Democrats, it wouldn’t be enough to pass the legislation without two republicans; 60!; and everything else since, except for those things he was forced to capitulate lest he get nothing done or worse yet, under threat of shutting down the government.

So now he knows their game.  But the whiners who pine for a forceful president who can only work with what he’s dealt with don’t want to see it the way it is.  For those saying all the compromises have been his failure to lead really don’t understand what’s been going on, or the game of chess.  When you know your opponent has a strong defense, you don’t waste your pieces trying to tear it down.  Offering numerous proposals based on the composition of the congress would surely have met with repeated failure; repeated bad press.  That’s why the president denies the Republicans their veto and refuses to play their game.  

But now it’s prime time for the president to dominate all the conversations, this coming year, with a forceful, comprehensive jobs proposal.  Challenge the congress to turn it down and go for broke.  We can now truly test the mettle of the man.  Either recalcitrants deal with it and create jobs or they’ll vote it down for specious reasons.  This is the gambit, the gamble, he must take.  The risk of this rejection will enable the president to expose, once again (they said it in their last TV “debate” when they took the pledge to turn down 10:1 savings for expenditures), the true colors of the ideologically fanatical, Republicans/Tea Party.  See what platform the candidates run on and their votes on the legislation for needed jobs.  If there’s no success on a jobs bill, the voters will then have a clear choice in November to give the president the mandate to get the proposal thru.  The only way out of our ideologically, moribunded, do-nothing congress (except to see Obama’s a one term president) is for the voters to come to their senses and see the congress is more interested in ideological politics or the wealthy.  Forcing our kids to have to deal with the increased debt, if at all, is better than dealing with parents in the poorhouse unable to pay for healthcare or dwindling the kids’ inheritance on early forced retirement.

It’s really a no brainer for the electorate at this point.  Their choice is obvious.  If they want more of the same for the next four years and maintain the stalemated count and a divided congress; they’ll certainly accommodate the ideologues by illustrating either they don’t understand or are easily swayed by demagogy.  So there’s little to lose and it would be a bold move on the president’s part to precipitate a challenge to the Republicans. It’s a move known in chess as a gambit; sacrificing something for gain.  Sacrifice the time to expose the obstructionists to gain an ultimate mandate to create jobs and put this country back on track to greatness and world leadership.  He should insist all those who don’t want the status quo and the country to continue to stagnate to take their own pledge; the pledge that they will pass a jobs bill irrespective that it might temporarily increase the debt; but understanding it will do greater good for the country as a whole in the long run.  Some believe in faith that simply praying to a god will solve problems; I have faith that developing a jobs program that addresses our timeless decaying infrastructure, that addresses the retooling of our workforce, that puts people back to work will increase demand for goods and services, and with that, tax revenues will increase; thereby paying down the debt, and we can start the needed growth in the economy that will mend our wounds.  We can do this ourselves---we don’t need a Rick Perry’s/Tea Party deity’s intervention.

Do we have to wait for another war the likes of WWII which was the stimulus that brought this country out of the last worst recession?

By the way, in case some of you don’t know what infrastructure is; it’s the bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, broadband for computers, trains, the stuff that this country relies on to keep it modern enough to handle population increases and usage, and enables our people to compete on a global scale with other countries who have better infrastructure.  So next time you’re in the car, on the train, walking, look at the condition of our infrastructure.  Do you see paint peeling, rusted structures on their way to failure? Do you see concrete or bricks flaking off creating an appearance of deterioration?  Worse yet, do you see brown, rusted lines in the concrete?  That’s the reinforcing that’s supposed to be covered and protected by the concrete that gives the concrete its added strength.  If you see that condition, it means it’s just a matter of time before you read or hear about that structure failing.  Infrastructure needs maintenance and repair if not downright replacement because of obsolescence.  And nature’s attack on infrastructure does not care about whether the host country has economic problems or not; ever see Greek or Roman ruins; how about decaying buildings in older inner cities?

If congress is going to do nothing meaningful in the next year anyway, the President has the pulpit to set and pound the agenda to make a jobs bill top priority.  Dominate the conversation; force it to be an election issue if a deal can’t be worked out sooner. He may have accomplished a considerable amount in the way of social programs, but he would truly set his mark as one of the great ones like FDR if he could put his stamp on a jobs bill and run for it like Truman against an obstreperous congress.  But it takes boldness.  It takes balls for the country---not for the politics. It should be a “back to the future” jobs bill enabling our country to compete on a global basis.  

Offer to repatriate those trillions of offshore corporate dollars that may never see our shores again unless we make it enticing enough.  Use those funds to develop an infrastructure bank declaring amnesty for some portion if not all and use those funds for funding the repair, maintenance, and construction of bridges, highways, broadband, alternative energy, reeducation (retooling) of our workforce; anything that creates jobs and moves our country forward in a competitive nature and restores our once admired standing with the rest of the world. This is a jobs bill; nothing else to talk about.  Not even cutting taxes or expenses; that’s another conversation.  Be glad we don’t talk about raising taxes.  Repatriate those dollars with the condition that they are used for funding with a low rate of interest.  Quasi guarantee them or not with U.S. backing in some way.  Get creative.  Regardless, there’s plenty of private money around to invest in America the way war bonds were used to finance WWII.  Then we’ll see who’s patriotic or just mercenary living off the sweat of this country’s labor and isn’t smart enough to give back to those who enabled the rest to do better.  Forget the debt and the deficit.  They’re being dealt with separately by the super commission.  This is an opportunity and a turning point in America’s future.  Make the success or failure of voting for this “back to the future” bill, a referendum.  Take back America from the manipulation by the selfish.
                                                      No Flies !            

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