Commentary On Things Present
Our sitting President is probably the worst friend organized labor has had since Herbert Hoover. ‘But Pete, how can you make such a stupid and insipid accusation??? Don’t you know how close our President is to Big Labor, and the Big Unions – like the SEIU?’
Well, in response I’d say organized labor’s three greatest goals and ambitions are jobs, good jobs and better jobs. And for three years now President Obama and his able band of Czars and Czarinas have spoken soaringly about green jobs, green energy, green cars, green houses, clean air, fair taxes, free health, government grants, government subsidies and government bailouts. As the rhetoric soars, the nation smolders ... workers still wait on line and off-line for the jobs; the good jobs; and the better jobs. Squeezed, annual incomes are lower today by $2,500 than they were three ago, reports the US Census Bureau.
Some Americans – in a sense of despair – are so upset watching government money wasted on useless projects that they have formed homegrown clubs tagged ‘Tea Parties.‘ They read about millions for ‘moose bypasses’; ‘bike paths on track beds’ and ‘museums for 19th century locomotives’ as interstates, bridge passages and energy grids wait and watch. They’ve seen the grand government projects of decades past, and worry now about the present and the future.
Other Americans – younger maybe, but also in a sense of despair – are so upset with no jobs, no opportunities, and high debts that they are marching in city centers across America under the banner of ‘Occupy Wall Street’. College costs are up an astronomical 1,000 percent over the last 30 years, and the payoff? ... Time Magazine reports 85 percent of recent college grads expect to move back home. They hear the rhetoric, see the blubber, but can’t find the beef.
The financial reports bear all this out. Last week’s GDP number confirms tepidity: 2.2 percent growth in the economy as the population grows 1 percent ... a net-net of 1.2 percent! This after the worst recession in 80 years! The Employment Report likewise confirms stagnation or worse: 115,000 people found work, but 342,000 Americans (discouraged and disillusioned) dropped out of the work force ... net-net of minus (-) 227,000 lost workers.
In the aftermath of these government reports, The Washington Post said last week, “To put that in perspective, economists project that if the same percentage of adults were in the workforce today as when Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 11.1 percent. If the percentage was where it was when George W. Bush took office, the unemployment rate would be 13.1 percent.”
Oblivious to the Tea Party surge, the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, the anemic GDP growth, and our ‘dead-job’ economy, Larry Summers said last week, “We’re ahead of schedule!”, as the President starts campaigning for a second chance ... another 4 years. Have you noticed though that the President has gone from Bold to Blame? The reason taxes are unfair is because the Congress won’t work with him. The reason the unemployment rate is so high is because Congress won’t work with him. The reason there’s no immigration reform is because Congress won’t work with him. The reason gas prices are so high is because – you guessed it – Congress won’t work with him. No jobs, no ship-building, no home construction, no pipeline projects, no oil-drilling in the Gulf, no airplane-building (if the President’s National Labor Relations Board has its way), ‘cause Congress won’t work with him.
Well maybe America should elect someone who can work with Congress, no?
Bernard Malamud is best known for his novel “The Natural” where Robert Redford – in the movie adaption
– plays the baseball great, Roy Hobbs. Another Malamud novel, “The Fixer” is being played in real life by Mitt Romney, the man running against President Obama to lead the nation out of this tepidity, this lethargy, this smoldering wilderness of big money wasted uselessly. Romney’s ‘fixer’ record – in management, in civics and in politics – is there for all Americans to judge. Out of school, Romney went from a consultant firm advising others, to building his own investment group, to acquiring firms in trouble and then turning them around. He made millions turning the bad into the good. Called by Congress to straighten out Utah’s Winter Olympic Games, he worked with the pooh-bahs of the Olympic Committee (mostly Europeans) and turned the winter games into a big success for the athletes, for Utah and for the nation. He entered politics in his home state; won; cut taxes and instituted health reform – as a Republican in the most Democratic state in the nation ... the only state in the nation NOT to go for Ronald Reagan in ‘84. Many in the Massachusetts State Legislature did not like Romney ‘cause he didn’t schmooze and booze with them, but they worked with him. Now he’s asking America to judge his record, and work with him to turn around the 50 states, and Puerto Rico, too!
Eighty years ago the jobless and poor set up tents and shanty towns in public parks and they were famously tagged Hoovervilles. Today, record numbers of the jobless and poor receive food subsidies, in large part due to the mis-steps, mis-directions, and misleadership of our now-famously-tagged Food-Stamp President. It was a disgrace then, and a disgrace now.
Are we ‘ahead of schedule’? Is the President’s record sound and secure? Has the Hoover (oops, I mean the Obama) Administration earned another 4 years? If you’re sittin’ on the fence of concern and confusion, please keep the record of Mitt Romney in mind.