Category Archives: President Obama

Election In Sudan

The new year is meant to be a fresh start and a chance to look to the future. It is a time where it is possible to leave all the bad things that happened last year behind, and decide where you want to take your life.

The people living in southern Sudan will have an opportunity to do this on January 8th. For decades, the conflict in Darfur has been documented by reporters such as Nick Kristoff, and stories have been told through the organization Lost Boys of Sudan. But a new chapter will be written once the coming elections takes place.

After years of civil war, and treaties that promised peace that never came, the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, said that he would accept whatever the results of next Saturday’s elections. But this is the same person who is wanted by the international criminal court for the genocide that took place in 2003. It is expected that the south will vote to secede, but there have already been problems with the international organizations which are trying to help. While the United Nations has managed to raise billions of dollars to help those who have been displaced, a lot of that money has not been properly accounted for. A large portion of the money was meant to be used to re-integrate members of the military into society, but it was recently reported that most of the money was spent on staff equipment, salaries, and vehicles instead.

However, the State Department has reported that all the ballot and voter registration drives were completed without hindrance, and at this point the vote is expected to be credible.

The Civil War in the country has displaced millions of families. Leaving people hungry and homeless. This also burdens border nations, and the rest of the continent, where these people migrate to because they have nowhere else to go. If this strife continues to happen, it can create instability for the entire continent. With the world becoming more and more integrated every day, it is important for the international community to help Sudan stabilize and grow its economy, no matter what the results of the election may be.

If the election is deemed to be a fair process, and the south votes to secede, the international community will have to put pressure on President Bashir to make sure they are allowed to do so peacefully. But Bashir has every reason to keep the north and south together. The southern regions of Sudan are where most of the oil in the country is located. Without that, the north will not nearly have as strong of an economy. And if the people in the south vote not to secede, steps need to be taken to make sure what happened in 2003 never happens again.

According to The Brookings Institution, strengthening the rule of law is a key element to helping the Sudanese who have been displaced. Economic opportunities are not the only reason The Lost Boys and millions of others without a home will want to go back. They left because Sudan was not a safe place to live. The Sudanese in the south have lost their trust in the north, and with good reason. But with a strong new and independent government, policies can be implemented to make sure that the people living in southern Sudan are safe.

If the people vote to secede, and Bashir goes back on his word, corporations can divest from the country, and sanctions can be imposed by the United Nations. This will tighten Sudan’s belt and put pressure on the north and force Bashir to implement policies that will stop the atrocities that continue to plague the country.

While the Obama administration has had a lot on its plate the last couple of years, it has only talked, and not implemented policies which can help bring about peace in a region where the children have known nothing but war. This is an opportunity for the international community to come together and create a place that is not only able to help those living today, but for the future as well.

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Filed under Africa, development, divestment, Election, north, Oil, President Bashir, President Obama, south, Sudan, United Nations

No More Filibuster?

There are some very legitimate questions being asking right now, but the one that has me stunned is, how has the Senate managed to get so much done after an election cycle where the party in power received a shellacking? I guess we forgot that mache eventually dries.

First, there was the infamous tax cuts. When President Obama made a deal with the Republicans three things were said 1) Obama gave up again 2) Obama won the political battle and 3) the tax cuts amounted to another stimulus. The first argument was made by the left who were upset that the people who earned the most will have their taxes further reduced. That money could have been used to subsidize the cost from the Social Security cut that was also made in the deal.

Pundits believe Obama won the political battle because he appeased the middle. The tax cuts were not a left, or right issue. Opinion polls repeatedly showed that the vast majority of people wanted to see the cuts go through, and because it was an issue the White House pushed, Obama won.

Now, everyone knows what I think about the stimulus argument. The short answer is that they will help, for the short term (but barely), but a lot more could have been done.

What made the extensions even more surprising was that it didn’t look like they would pass. The White House did not want to extend those cuts for the rich. But the Republicans insisted on it, and would not have voted for the bill otherwise. The area that put the victory in Obama’s corner though was the deficit. After all the talk about reigning in government spending and the wind at their backs, the GOP did not insist on one policy that would reduce the deficit, in fact, they only insisted on increasing it.

More importantly, Obama owned the issue. Maybe it was because he gave Bill Clinton the mic. But in the past Obama has always been trying to explain and level with people on why he made his decision. This time, he blamed the Republicans of holding the middle class hostage in favor of the rich. All the democrats were saying this, every time, they went on television. And it worked.

I wasn’t going to say anything, and you have to promise not to tell anyone, but another victory also came when the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law was repealed. Those who have been pushing for the repeal were wondering what happened to the guy who said he would repeal the law. After all the challenges in the courts, those hard core Obama supporters were wondering why they had to do so much more work after the 2008 election. For the people on the left that were upset about the tax deal, this may have made up for it. Two years from now Obama can go straight to his base and say he got this done. Unlike the tax cuts, which may or may not help the economy, the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell is a substantial change that a lot of people wanted out of him.

Also now thanks to the Senate, we can eat meat without fear of mad cow disease. In a late night sessions the Food Safety and Modernization Act was passed. You would think after we had so many close calls with food imports the last couple of years this is something that would have been done. But this is the first time food safety regulations has been improved in almost one-hundred years.

One of the bigger items which looks like it will be passed this week is the START Treaty. A post Cold War agreement between the U.S. and Russia that every Secretary of State (Republican and Democrat), says needs to be passed, and Senator Kyle is holding it up. This was the wrong issue to try and score political points with. This treaty has always had bipartisan support and has reduced the number of nuclear weapons around the world. The situation has become so bad that Russia is weighing in on the Senate. This did not have to be a political victory for Obama, it will only become one because some members of the GOP were so outspoken against it.

One piece of legislation that did fail was the Dream Act. It is a shame because it made the process for immigrants to come into this country easier and they would have had less of an excuse to try and sneak in. It’s also a way to reduce the deficit. The new immigrants coming in could have been taxed, and there were provisions making it easier for current illegal immigrants to get green cards. Now billions of dollars will be sent back to countries of immigrant families. Just more proof no one really cares about the deficit.

And it looks like the federal government will shut down this year! After the House passed a short extension for the start of the new year, Senator Reid announced the Senate will do the same. I’m OK with this, I loved the 90’s.

What has helped get these pieces of legislation passed is the election being over. There is a full two years before the next election, and most public officials figure what they do now won’t hurt them down the road. Especially if you are a Senator who only runs every six years. The rest of the time you are looking out for your state and helping your colleagues when you can.

Most of the legislation being passed this week was held up because the Republicans were filibustering it. When you hold up one piece of legislation it takes a longer time for others to come up and dealt with, especially in the Senate. But with a divided Congress next year it is hard to tell if compromises will be made.

It is a good sign that legislation is finally moving through. We just learned today that one of every seven Americans is now on food stamps. Needless to say, people need government to work. But as soon as the new year starts, the next election cycle will begin, making it important to pick battles carefully.

 

 

 

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Filed under Don't Ask Don't Tell, Filibuster, President Obama, Senate, START Treaty, tax cuts

Tax Cuts Don’t Stimulate The Economy

I hate leaving things for the last minute. Having something hanging over my head just bothers me to no end it always get to the point where I can’t sleep until it’s done. The political problem for the tax cuts was that the White House waited until the last minute to deal with it, but probably for the right reasons. President Obama has had major legislative victories which will help a lot of people. Making sure women are paid equally, allowing students to stay on their parents insurance after college, and expanding scholarship opportunities to pay for college, just to name a few. As we’ve all seen those victories didn’t just come over night, and unfortunately for Mr. Obama, there was still one last thing he had to get done.

The latest round of tax cuts which will soon be passed by the Senate is being sold so that it will help everybody, the middle class, working class, and of course the rich. The Center for American Progress is defending the tax cuts and claim it will create 2.2 million jobs. What their analysis assumes though is that businesses will spend money and there will be a demand for their products. But if you look at recent experiences, you should know there is no guarantee that businesses will spend more money just because they have it. In these uncertain times, they are more likely to keep it in case the economy goes even more down hill, just like the banks are doing since they received the bailout money. The business cuts aren’t even targeted anywhere which proves there is no strong demand for anything right now. Otherwise, policies could be enacted to create more of a demand to help a strong area grow even more, which could help overall growth. That absence is just more proof the economy is really up in the air.

The Center got these numbers from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and used their numbers to create their analysis. The CBO however, assumes that the tax cuts will be offset by increasing taxes later so we won’t have to worry about deflation. And it does not even take into account that Social Security taxes are being lowered.

But then there are some analyses I just don’t get at all. The Heritage Foundation argues that only tax cuts can stimulate the economy. They try and differentiate between “Disposable Personal Income” and “Personal Spending.” Now if you’re a middle income family earning $150,000 a year, you have enough to go out to dinner, a movie, and keep up with your mortgage payments. But this family is not going to spend money on anything extravagant. They will not be buying a new house, car, or plan a expensive vacation in this time of uncertainty. So when they receive a tax cut, they will not be spending in the areas where it MIGHT help the businesses feel a demand for their products. And if you are working class family, you are more worried about feeding your children and keeping a roof over your head, and that’s where they will spend the money. Again, not creating a huge demand for anything, and not beneficial to helping the economy. Families don’t think of their money as “disposable” or “personal,” and neither should economists.

Instead, programs should have been created to help families cope with the new economic realities. The best part of the package was getting unemployment benefits extended for a year. For middle class families though, there should have been money spent to pay for their children’s college, or help lower their payments if the banks unexpectedly raised the interest rates. But if you don’t believe me, you can listen to President Reagan’s former budget director David Stockman, who helped invent trickle down economics.

The problem with both of these analyses is that they argue broadly about policies that need to be looked at in a more specific design. As I’ve argued in the past, current economic models do not allow economists to take into account what really matters to families. The tax cuts families receive will be spent on areas that will ensure the families stability. President Obama could have made a strong argument to raise taxes on the wealthy to ensure programs like Social Security and Medicare stay intact. Many people rely on these programs, especially the baby boomers. Who, by the way, will be retiring soon and who will vote in 2012. But by waiting this long to deal with the Bush tax cuts he had no time. The consequences, politically and economically, would have been worse if he allowed everyone’s taxes to be raised. He had to let high income earners taxes stay low. It was a classic no win scenario.

All in all, no harm was done, but unfortunately not a lot of good was done either. So lesson learned, don’t wait for the last minute to get your ducks in a row.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Economics, economy, lame duck, President Obama, stimulus, tax cuts, taxes

We Need Energy

If you want evidence that only funny characters and what they say dominate the news media, try figuring out the latest debate on taxes. The Senate “worked” this weekend on the nations taxes. But since the United States Senate requires hours of debate before a vote can actually take place, it makes it easy to waste a lot of time. So unless you are a C-SPAN2 junky (like me) you missed hours upon hours of our elected officials talking about how they were going to vote.

[Quick side note: Notice how I didn’t say debate to describe what the Senate was doing this weekend. The Senate doesn’t debate anymore. If you want to read a great debate, look up Second Reply to Hayne, given by Daniel Webster.]

But don’t worry, Senator’s don’t get paid overtime. After all that talk the only agenda that was accomplished was playing politics. Only two votes were taken and both sides knew they were going to fail. Democrats said they wanted to show Republicans only support the rich, and Republican’s refused to raise taxes even though they claim to want to tackle the deficit. Now it looks like all the Bush taxes will be extended. The good news is that unemployment benefits will also. The bad news is that even if Democrats somehow manage to raise some taxes, Wall Street is already trying to figure out how to not pay them.

What both sides forget though is that Americans aren’t looking for a show, they’re looking for things to get done. While building Noah’s Arc in Kentucky may seem funny, it is a policy that will create jobs and help the economy. It shows leadership and strength, which is exactly what people are looking for.

One of President Obama’s problems the past two years is that he let Republican’s control the debate on all the issues. Whether it was health care or Wall Street Reform, the Obama never used the bully pulpit to the extent other Presidents like FDR or Reagan did. Even though both President’s lost seats during their midterm elections, their base was ready to fight for them when they were up for reelection, and they won big.

The State of the Union speech is coming up soon. It will be a moment where the president can set the agenda and tone for the next two years he is in office. The first issue he should talk about is energy. This is an area where Republican’s and Democrats can make themselves happy. Obama already came out in favor of nuclear energy, which Republican’s have been pushing for years. Wind and solar energy have are already a growing industry. With the right incentives, creating new energy industries can create thousands of jobs that can’t be shipped off. The best part is that the technology for these new industries is being developed in America, and that means more exports which (according to standard models) will help America’s economy grow.

President Obama not only needs to create more energy, he also needs to show more energy. Letting the other side control the modern hyperbole of a debate, only takes away the victories he has already accomplished. We all know what a great communicator he can be, next year, it’s time to step up and speak loud.

 

 

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Filed under Democrats, Energy, Nuclear, President Obama, Republicans, Solar, Speech, State of the Union, Wind

>Building A House

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Remember when Republicans were saying: government should act like American households when it comes to its budget? It was a great line. Short, easy to understand, and appealed to the GOP base (aka Tea Baggers) which allowed them to get excited. It then culminated with the recent shellacking this past election. The household analogy was used time and time again even though it was false. While it would be great to be able to print our own money (or if money grew on trees), we gave that right to the federal government when we ratified the Constitution.

But because elections have consequences, the two parties will be fighting to show who is most fiscally conservative. Obama announced today that he will be issuing a two year pay freeze that will save the federal government two billion during current fiscal year, twenty-eight billion over next five years, and sixty billion over ten years. While it sounds good on paper, it’s really a political move. It’s worth pointing out that it won’t really be known how much is being saved until President Obama is out of office. And it’s no accident. That way the White House can keep citing those numbers as a way to say the deficit is being reduced. Also, the pay of federal employees isn’t the problem, it’s the benefits they get that is driving costs up. That’s why Defense Secretary Robert Gates is looking at ways to raise funds for the militaries Tricare. Of course, the new health care law will help maintain some of those costs, but apparently most of the new GOP governors won’t enact the policy in their states.

This pay freeze announcement comes on the same day that several liberal think tanks are unveiling plans that are trying to tackle the federal deficit, all of which cut programs by federal agencies. In the meantime, government bureaucrats are always lobbying to keep their programs running. Think of it as an annual review where you have to tell your boss what you did this past year. You have to go through everything to show what you did while having to worry about keeping your job. Government agencies worry about the same thing, except it’s all the time. They will give grand presentations, trips, gifts, and anything else that is legal to make sure they get the funding they think they need. While Obama doesn’t have a J. Edgar Hoover problem, he still needs to make sure his employees are happy.

And do I even need to go into the special interest lobbyists like Jack Abramoff? There are plenty of those guys too. But whether you know it or not, you too have someone lobbying for you. For instance, do you want to save the environment? There are plenty of environmental groups out there who talk to members of Congress and their staff every day. Just look up The Environmental Defense Fund and read about how the Environmental Protection Agency was created.

One of the most contentious issues when it comes to the budget is taxes. No one likes them, and if a politician ever talks about them, he/she better say they will be lowered. But if you want a balanced budget someone’s gotta pay for it.

The White House is right on this one, extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class and let them expire for the rich. When people earning over a million dollars get a tax cut, they don’t spend the money, and it does nothing for the economy. What makes raising taxes even more volatile this year is that state governments have had to raise their taxes over the last four years. So if Congress does nothing, the people who need help the most will be giving more than they can. Middle and working class Americans need the break and will spend it on the items they need to live, which will also help the economy. They deserve the extension.

It is baffling me how many Republican candidates are considering running for President in 2012. Just today John Bolton (who has never run for public office before) is thinking about running for President. Political Action Committees are already in the first couple of primary states for Mitt Romney, and Sarah Palin will probably run as an average Joe just to make a few more million. In the meantime, decisions need to be made, and the people who actually have to balance their budget are hurting the most.

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Filed under Budget, Deficit, President Obama, Public Policy, Republicans, Salary Freeze, Sarah Palin

>Capability vs. GDP

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Goals are important. They give us something to strive for, get us to make the tough decisions that life requires to accomplish them, and in an ever complicated world, can help keep us focused on what is really important. For public policy purposes though, determining how to assess goals can be controversial. How can you count for hundreds of millions of people, and still implement public policies without interfering on what those same people want to accomplish for themselves?

Coincidently, in a time where many people are saying how economists are failing us, I completed my thesis on how new economic methods need to be used to assess a countries development. What economists are currently accounting for are inputs and outputs, how much it costs to produce the product, and how much money can be made by selling it. I don’t want to say this is a bad thing. There are legitimate arguments out there on why these numbers are important. For businesses to hire people, they need an estimate how much they are going to make, and how much of a loan they need from a bank.

But while the Great Recession has been over for a year, the poverty rate in the United States has dramatically increased. The organization that punched these numbers is highly respected, and all they did was their job. They saw Gross Domestic Product (GDP) went up three quarters in a row and declared everything was fine. Unfortunately, there are millions of people out there who would tell these economists differently.

GDP only accounts for the health of businesses, not the population that keeps them thriving. Instead of assuming that if businesses are prosperous the people are too, economists need to develop new goals that take into account for what people need in order for them to achieve what they are working towards. My thesis focused heavily on the work of Amartya Sen and his Capabilities Theory. This theory focuses on human development, bringing it back to the basics of education, health care, housing, freedom, democracy, and other factors, in order to ensure people are given a chance to accomplish the goals they set for themselves.

In his recent struggles to get the democratic base out to the polls, President Obama stated that during the Bush administration personal family incomes had fallen. But still, most economists thought the economy was good because GDP was going up. The fact is recessions happen, whether in a time of strong regulations or weak ones. You just have to hope they’re not as bad as the one we are in now and they don’t turn into a depression. What is great about the Capabilities Theory is that when recessions do happen, policies are already in place to make sure people are protected. By having economists measure basic goals that all people need, individuals will still have the opportunity to decide what they want to accomplish for themselves because they were given the capability to do so.

Of course, while democracy is a important for the Capabilities Theory, there are numerous examples that can be used to show how politics can be really stupid. Gail Collins had a good piece today on how some of the major races in the coming election have been outright dirty, where the candidates have resorted to political mudslinging. While the politicians and their advisors may see attack ads necessary to get their base out, it turns just as many people off, and doesn’t get any more people to vote for the person who put out the commercial. Even the numbers that economists come out with are at times manipulated to further a public officials agenda. But if new assessments of goals based on the Capabilities Theory were implemented, it would be harder to spin how many people are receiving a strong education, living in a safe neighborhood, and have what they need to support their families.

Elected politicians don’t get reelected on what they say about their opponent, it’s on their own record. By focusing on the people, instead of the corporations, elected officials will know what areas to focus on and try to do something about it. Then, it would be a lot harder for their opponent to come up with legitimate attacks.

This post may seem like a utopia to some people, but I am well aware there will always be socio-economic differences. But when I first learned about the Capabilities Theory, it was one of those things that just made sense, and hopefully after going through this tough time, more people will think it makes sense as well.

 

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Filed under Amartya Sen, Capabilities Theory, Economics, Politics, President Obama, Public Policy

>The Three Rules

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What was Robert Gibbs thinking? It’s almost been two years since President Obama has taken office and his administration still hasn’t learned you never state the reality, the obvious, or the truth.

The basic rules of Washington is to make yourself look better then everyone else, distort the other guys message, and never take responsibility unless people like what you’re taking responsibility for. By admitting defeat in the coming election, Gibbs broke all those rules and managed to piss off the entire Democratic Party at the same time.

Give him some slack though, he’s lasted a lot longer then some of his predecessors and when you’re talking to the media every day you’re bound to screw up at one point or another. Of course the reality (and what any political consultant in the district will tell you) is that the Democrats are going to lose seats in Congress this coming election, it is only a question of how many.
However, I don’t believe it is as obvious or gloomy as Gibbs had stated it on Meet The Press. The problem with the Democrats messaging is that they have been on the defensive, always trying to explain what they are doing. This is especially dangerous when people are anxious and need help. But the fact is this Congress has done a lot of good. Between health care reform and the new Wall Street regulations they have accomplished a lot, and when people look back on it, they will be grateful this reforms were passed.

But now it’s time to get back on the offensive. Get a clear message and don’t be afraid to defend your vote.
A recent poll conducted by the moderate think tank Third Way showed how bringing former President Bush back into the picture, voters are much more willing to vote for the Democrat.

David Broder wasn’t so convinced. He thought the Republicans could just bring back Reagan since the same poll showed most people also wanted more tax cuts. But don’t forget, this Congress gave 95% of Americas a tax cut and Reagan raised taxes in his first term.

When the two parties debated these issues this past Sunday on Meet The Press, the Democrats were clearly back on the offensive and had the upper hand. So while Gibbs may have been telling what he thought to be the obvious truth, there’s still a lot of time before the next election becomes the reality.

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Filed under Congress, Election 2010, Meet The Press, President Obama, Robert Gibbs, Third Way

>A Breath From Politics

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Since it seems so rare now a days, it is important to take note of when politicians do something that’s not political. We learned today that the Obama administration will be implementing new policies to curb the H.I.V./AIDS epidemic.

These policies will be based on a year long report where a study was conducted with experts across the country. This comes at a time when over one million people in America are infected with H.I.V, with a new infection found every nine in a half minutes. Thousands of people are also unable to receive care. The new health care law that passed this year will help some of those people, but there is still a lot more work to do.

Even after all these years, and all the information about H.I.V./AIDS, there is still a stigma associated with having the disease. The report released today stated how people who are infected have a harder time getting a job, getting a loan for a house, and it becomes harder to receive certain health care services.

While the administration is clearly gearing up for the mid term elections, and Congress begins its last few weeks before summer recess, it’s good to see some actual governing.

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Filed under AIDS, H.I.V., President Obama

>Snowpacolyps!

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Thank God I’m not claustrophobic. Snowpacolyps has been absolutely ridiculous, Washington, DC hasn’t seen this much snow in over seventy years and the entire federal government is shut down. Except for the Armed Services, so don’t get any ideas Canada!

One note on the Super Bowl. Great game and I’m happy for New Orleans. They went for it the entire game. But if they lost that onside kick at the start of the second half Sean Payton would have been ripped in the headlines like no other coach.

And can we all agree that CBS leaned conservative in their choice for super bowl ads? First they didn’t allow a commercial for a gay dating site to be aired, but did allow Tim Tebow and his mom to promote their pro-life views. I was also at a party with a lot of people who work on the Hill or politics one way or another, and none of them knew about the defeat the debt ad. This concerned me so I just wanted to post a link for when I wrote about it here.

Now to more important issues, did anyone watch House last night? If you didn’t you need to. I swear its the only show on television that is actually trying to push the barrier, and this season has been great. Last night they followed the day in life of the head of the hospital, Dr. Cuddy. She was in the middle of negotiations with an insurance agency, and because her hospital had better numbers then others who are under the same insurance, she wanted to get more reimbursements from the insurer. While other hospitals were getting more money, Dr. Cuddy’s hospital was not because they were smaller then the others.

Then I happen to be reading the New York Times this morning and I see an article on this very subject! One of the experts said they would like to see payments from insurance companies based on how well a hospital takes care of its patients, not just on how many patients they admit. One of the key wins for the Democrats this year was in the stimulus package where they put in incentives for hospitals to invest in technology to share records on their patience. This will allow doctors to see what works for certain illnesses. Economists estimate this will save millions for hospitals just on overhead alone. Plus when we know what to do, doctors can better treat their patience which will also save them money.

As I’m writing this, the President was taking questions from reporters, and he said there are now more people who get health insurance from the government then private insurers. This should be a rallying call for a public option. Private companies cannot support getting all Americans health care. Even before this, we already knew that while private insurers spend 8% on overhead, it only costs the government 1%.

One of my favorite quotes by FDR is: “A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.” There has been a lot of talk lately on bipartisanship and how Social Security had many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle vote for it. At this time there were 322 Democratic members in the House, and 69 Democrats in the Senate. 81 Republicans in the House and 16 Republicans in the Senate voted for the Social Security Act, so yeah it was bipartisan. But FDR still had a lot of work to do to get it passed. Speeches, town hall meetings, meetings with leaders on the Hill, plus the Supreme Court. With Obama wavering on all the specificson health care its hard for the people to understand what he’s trying to do, and it doesn’t make him sound confident in his policies. That’s why he’s having a hard time getting health care reform passed.

FDR’s New Deal was clear to everyone, he made it so popular that voting against it would have been political suicide. That’s how FDR got bipartisanship. President Obama hasn’t made it clear to people how health insurance reform will help them, particularly those who have insurance. But talking to Republicans isn’t going to help, no matter how ridiculous it makes them look. While Congress’ approval ratings are low, Americans still want Democrats in charge.

In the short amount of time he has left to get something done, the President needs to tell the people exactly what he wants. He has said many times that he would prefer a public option, but what he should say is that he wants a public option. The tell them he wants it because it is the best way to lower costs for families. That is whether they are paying for their own insurance or their parents if they go into a retirement home.

During House, Dr. Cutty was having a conversation with the CEO of the company she was negotiating with. The CEO said “You can make me look like a rich bastard in the press all you want, but I’ll still be a rich bastard.” But Dr. Cutty stook to her guns. She told the insurance company exactly what she wanted and got it. Obama should do the same.

We’re expected to get another foot of snow here in Washington. The federal government will probably be closed again, and none of the politicians are going to go on TV. This will give the administration time to think of a game plan, and hopefully get something substantial passed. Obama should take advice from Teddy Roosevelt and stop using the carrot, and go with the stick.

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Filed under Health Care, House, President Obama, Snowpacolyps