Good On Ya’, Mr. President!

Tom Daschle has removed his name from nomination for Health and Human Services, and rightly so.  As if his tax evasion acts were tolerable, which they were not, his close ties, with pay and reimbursements over the last three years from the health care industry, were a clear conflict of interest with regard to his now off-the-table leadership of Health and Human Services.  Of course President Obama and Americans would like a person to fulfil that agency who has had experience in the health care field.  That does not necessarily mean the choice should be a person who was paid to work for the efforts of companies in that same endeavor.

As I was talking with my son Chuck over this latest development, I mentioned that maybe Obama should bring back Donna Shalala to head up Health.  In all of his creative and intellectual “alien-ness”, Chuck quickly shot back, “No Mom, it has to be Howard Dean.”  How simpatico might that choice be?  Overall, I do think Obama, in order to keep his promise about cleaning up Washington, had to make this choice to accept Daschle’s pre-appointment resignation.  It was simply the push and pull between ethical responsibility and promises made.

Which reminds me:  I owe you some thoughts on how President Obama has done during the first two weeks of his tenure.  I realize I have been harsh sometimes regarding his actions during the last two weeks.  However, it is almost like I am the fussy mother who is afraid of jinxing a good thing by patting her child on the back too often.  I really have been stingy with my praise.  Nonetheless, let me now say that I think President Obama has done “real good.”

First of all, I am so proud of his first piece of legislation, the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which allows a much longer and more reasonable time limit for workers to file discrimination suits if they feel they were treated unfairly.  By signing this Act into law, Obama has extended to every worker the guaranteed right to have his or her complaint heard based on its content and subject matter, rather than the extraneous factor of time.  Thus, one loophole allowing unfair labor practices has been closed.

Secondly, Obama’s appointees overall have been excellent, assigning competent people to these jobs.  I must admit though, that I let out a huge sigh of relief yeaterday when Eric Holder was sworn in as Chief of Justice.  To me, the greatest abuses, of which there were many, of our Constitutional rights that took place over the last eight years were carried out by the Justice Department.  This agency, more than any other, really needed a dusting and cleaning and I think Holder will deliver.  Of course for the first time in eight years we have a President who is smart, well-read, well-spoken, well-written and actually engaged in leading this nation.  That fact alone would help any person who has been assigned as Attorney General.

Let us move on to the controversy surrounding the stimulus package.  As I wrote in a previous post, Obama and the Democrats need to be mindful of ballooning the deficit by including too much long term, permanent versus temporary, measures.  The current administration does have a mandate by the people, but to cram in 20 years of nation re-vamping into this stimulus package might be unwise for our future generations.

Paul Krugman, in the following article, sums up the issue well:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/02/opinion/02krugman.html?_r=1

I agree with him one hundred percent.  We do need a huge bailout, but NOT of our financial institutions.  Or, at least, each taxpayer should be given investment shares in those companies.  After all, in a few years, if these corporations should turn themselves around and report good earnings, each and every taxpayer who PUT UP the funds for their ongoing existence should be able to reap the rewards.  Every venture capitalist, “angel” and investor in saving or buying out a company receives benefits, i.e. shares or warrants, to compensate them on the upside should that company retrench, recuperate or flourish in the future.   There must be some reward for risks taken.  Otherwise, there would be no investment in any entity.  The scenario should be no different for American taxpayers who are putting up the funds for certain publicly held financial entities.

On the issue of infrastructure needs, please read Bob Herbert’s article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/03/opinion/03herbert.html

Obama’s idea to combine the need to provide jobs with rebuilding our sorry infrastructure is nothing short of genius, even though this tact has been taken in the past in similar economic situations.  As Barney Frank said on one of the talking head shows this past weekend, he never saw a tax cut pay for a new bridge or new water mains; only spending measures can resuscitate our ailing infrastructure.

On the other hand (I always try to be as honest as I can be), George Will has said, and I paraphrase, that no past occurrence seems to have any bearing on the present or future occurrences.  By this comment he meant that perhaps our current recession will not pan out, based on past recessions and their solutions, accordingly.  So who really knows?  Our best option is to go a bit more slowly, releasing funds only partially at first, and to be cognizant that piggishness in ramming through more permanent measures under the guise of “emergency bailout” might be actually more detrimental to us in the long run.

All in all, Mr. President, I am impressed by your honesty and leadership.  Good on ya’ …… Sir!

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