Talk is Cheap II [1]

April 6, 2011

President Obama needs to act like the person he is instead of the person his advisors have told him he should be.  Trying to be a classic politician is not his strong suit.  Yes, he can carry it off well enough for Republicans and bigots to call him a “cheap Chicago politician,” but those are just code words for Republicans seeking to project their own faults on to an opponent or bigots trying to avoid using the “N” word.

At the risk of being simplistic, I suggest that the Chief Executive revert to his true role as that of a teacher.  Not only would this “natural” approach endear him to the “masses,” but it would encourage him to actually study those issues that affect “the common man.”  Sadly, he has not seemed to do this.  Instead of wasting time defending his accomplishments which have not successfully solved our economic and military crises, he needs to actually analyze these problems himself, not just confer with the same culprits who have created them! 

Explaining to the majority of Americans that they pay far more payroll tax than income tax, that it is not in their best interests for the opposition party to cut the very benefits inherent in their payroll tax while drastically reducing income taxes for the top 30-40% of the population would be a good start.  He needs to help voters understand relevant issues the way President Clinton did and he needs to chastise his own party members for their failures and the seriousness of their corruption as well.  His “ace in the hole,” expiration of the Bush tax cuts, foolishly squandered on issues that did not demand their forfeiture, the President has been abandoned by his own party members.  Meanwhile, ironically, all the mainstream Republicans cared about were the tax cuts.  Having won them practically without a fight, now all the rest is “gravy!”

The contrived argument over balancing a budget is a cruel joke played on Americans, one that is scarcely covered by conservative or liberal news media.  What a hero the President would appear to be if he alone told the people the truth!  He could advocate simple cuts in Medicare spending, including gradual introduction of competitive bidding, which would cut costs without reducing benefits to Medicare recipients by one penny!  Progressive yearly reductions of even 5-10% of overcharges for drugs (currently more than 40 billion dollars a year), durable goods, oxygen and laboratory (more than 10-15 billion dollars a year) is an obvious start.  Eliminating subsidies for Democratic Senators to waste edible corn on expensive ethanol fuel production instead of the more appropriate use of sugar for far less cost would certainly validate the president’s heretofore bogus plea for a legitimate energy policy.  Instead of defending equally bogus defense contracts at the behest of Republican and Democratic “porkers,” Mr. Obama could advocate gradually cutting the most unnecessary military contracts in favor of the guilty companies’ production of mass transportation products.  In fact, I believe that with any substantial military cuts advocated by Democrats, mainstream Republicans will split with the libertarian (more legitimate) members of the Tea Party.

Yes, we seem to have a whole generation of ignorant, callous baby boomers and their even more callous and ignorant offspring with utterly no concept of the country’s World War II mentality.  For a country that substitutes unsuccessful “wars” on everything from poverty to drugs to terror without one cogent “policy,” on anything, it’s time, Mr. President, for a war on Congress!  I hate to say it, but it may be time to read two books instead of writing them.  Only the President can motivate people to help themselves.  It cannot be done by Congress, not by Republican lies and intimidation nor by forced legislation, even if, like Ms. Pelosi’s fiscally incompetent healthcare bill, it is “for their own good.”

Beware, however, for there are a few problems inherent in the process of this president talking candidly to his countrymen.  He needs to explain to us why Tim Geithner, who as chairman of the Federal Reserve in New York, admitted that he didn’t know that he was supposed to regulate their banks, was chosen as Secretary of the Treasury?  Ironically, he still doesn’t know that he can regulate the banks in his new position!  When the major banks approach the bumbling Geithner and the neoconsevative Bernanke, equally useless chairman of the  Federal Reserve, for their “handouts”- hundreds of billions of dollars in “loans” at ½ % interest to be sold at higher interest to smaller banks for huge profits- they are given the money with no caveats, with no strings attached.  While a rational high school dropout would ask how these huge sums of money were to be spent, Geithner and Bernanke simply fork over the money.  Neither asks for a “prospectus” of any sort to see if they will lend money to small businesses or to amply qualified home buyers with good credit, practices that would add jobs and improve the economy.

The president might have to explain his appointment of his “Uncle Tom” Eric Holder as Attorney General.  The brilliant, but dysfunctional Holder, a well known Republican apologist, has been careful to avoid the prosecution of any criminal bankers or Wall Street swindlers except for Bernie Madoff.  He has consistently obstructed justice in defense of the Junior Bush Administration’s transgressions and of its cronies since his law firm represented Bush in the 2000 election recount debacle.  It might be difficult for the President to explain to his constituents, that despite his earnest campaign promises and heartfelt attempts to promote reconstruction of the economy, social infrastructure and defense policy, he cannot begin to fulfill his admirable agenda, given the mediocre quality and corruption of most of his advisors.  In fact, he might have to explain to the American People how he is not very different than Junior Bush- repaying incompetent and inappropriate cronies with favored political positions.

The more I think about it, in fact, Mr. President, you would probably be better off not addressing the American People candidly after all, that is, until you’ve actually studied the issues for yourself, sir.

Allen Finkelstein, D.O. 


[1] “Talk is Cheap”, The O’Finky Factor, Sept 2008