Archive for the ‘stimulus’ Tag

Character Politics

Three editorials in today’s Washington Post contained statements that carried suggestions about the character of the American people today.

Richard Cohen focuses on the deluge that many people feel as times have abruptly changed on them. He opines that a generation or so ago, “One had the feeling that what with wars and famines, disease and ruthless economic cycles, one could never really control one’s own life.” He compares today to the change wrought by the Great Depression and notes that “The people of the 1920s and ’30s were tough, hard. They did not expect all that much from life, and they had learned to expect next to nothing from government.

In contrast, we are soft, coddled. We actually thought that we could have a house we could not afford and a mortgage that we could not pay and that it would all somehow work out. This keeps being called the American dream. It was actually the American delusion.”

This agrees with a fantastic book by Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism from 1979, in which among other things, Lasch noted changes in our attitudes toward work and a softness in our characters and a focus on our individual selves.

Eugene Robinson applauds Obama’s budget submission and long-term view. “There’s a reason Obama’s approval ratings remain so high. He senses that Americans yearn for greater fairness and accountability, especially after the excesses that threaten to wreck our economy and destroy so many dreams. He knows that American individualism is tempered by the need to feel community in the nation and the world.”

Is Robinson correct? Can the wealthy see their paying of a higher percentage of their money in taxes as equitable? Are Americans willing to forgo certain individual perks for the greater good?

The founder and CEO of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman, asserts that government stimulus money needs to offer incentives for entrepreneurship and innovation. Such allocation helps small businesses invest and grow, reimagine their products and services, and assess their strengths. Localized innovation develops the economy from the ground up.” Most of us agree that high paying jobs and new products are necessary for the country’s recovery. Some wonder how many jobs and products social networking sites create.

The focus in on comments about character and Hoffman offers this observation about venture capitalists without any irony, “Venture capitalists are biding their time — not for want of good ideas, solid management or stable capital but to ensure that they can get the most bang for their buck. Similarly, venture capital firms are waiting for the slide to stop and the recovery to begin before investing.”

He seems to be saying that the money in this country wants to maximize their individual take and make the most of the situation on a personal level. They will wait until the bad part is over regardless of whether their act could help the recovery take place sooner.

The culture of narcissism wins out.

Media Truth

What are the pundits and reporters in Washington telling us? How much of their focus is on the horerace and inside politics and why? What effect does a focus on whether the stimulus package is bipartisan or not have on whether we think Obama is being successful or not?

On the latest episode of Bill Moyers Journal two members of the blogging community characterized the Washington media as inside beltwayers who have a vested interest in the current political system and in maintaining the current political system and structure regardless of its effect on the average citizen’s life and pocket book and wallet.

This is much more than the usual complaints about a pro-liberal media or a conservative network of talk radio.

This is about how the media reports policy activities and the daily actions of the Congress and the President.

Their critique is available here.

Does a problem with the media lead to the positive conclusions that they have about the possibilities of the blogosphere? I am not very sure I believe their conclusions and am inclined to agree with this one commentator.  The problem is, if everyone talks at once, can anyone listen?
I blog and post all the time – and have specific, new, ideas on how to effectuate real change. I don’t think anyone in power ever hears me – or the millions of other single voices shouting in the electronic cacophony. Have you heard this?
How about my answer to the Afghanistan problem from a previous show? Maybe all that rises from the din is the indistinct voice of the muddled middle.

DC Development Collapses: Stimulus Project

The Poplar Point Development Project worth $2.5 billion dollars is shelved. Clark Construction pulled out of the project because of the economic circumstances that the US is in.

This project had designs to reinvigorate an area of DC that has suffered for years without businesses, restaurants, and other parts of what most Americans consider an appropriate life style.

The project also could have included a new stadium for one of the city’s successful sports franchises, the DC United Soccer team. The development would complement the new Nationals Stadium (professional baseball) and the new stores and businesses planned for that side of the River.

Howe about including this as part of the stimulus program–new jobs during construction and a range of housing and businesses in a part of the city that desperately needs both.

Stimulus Dollars Stay in US

Today’s columnist in Post raises an interesting possibility: what if companies receiving stimulus dollars take it overseas? A letter opposing “Buy American” provisions in the stimulus has been signed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and several other such groups.

Can you imagine! The problem is yes, easily. Multinational corporations are often more powerful than some governments of nations. They have often been able to push through trade agreements and a variety of tax policies to benefit their corporations and the members of the board of directors.

Hang ‘Em High

or at least get a portion of their earnings back.  Madoff and the others are criminals. Put them in the old Clint Eastwood westerns.

See this column today about the economy and the Wall Street financiers.

Can they be trusted to look out for the best interests of the people?

Congress needs to put a serious stick to the second stimulus package.

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