Now that the 2010 midterm elections are over, all you have to do is view the NYTimes word train from both parties to see the growing dividing line between Democrats and Republicans. 2010 midterm word train vs 2008 election word train. The fault line between red and blue states is deepening. More polarization of ideas equals more congressional gridlock while getting less and less done for the country.

My mood is disappointed. Not because the Republicans gained more seats in the House and flipped several seats in the Senate. Not because the Dems got a licking because there are no jobs. Not because because some of the most extreme ideologues are now representatives in the U.S. government. Not because the youth and other Black/Latino voters decided to stay home during this midterm election. Not because the Independents were “fair weather friends” of the 2008 election that ushered in Democrat control of the House/Senate including the Obama Administration and have now “turncoat” in less than half a presidential term. This is not a “sour grapes” reaction, this is a “reality grapes” reaction.

I’m disappointed because the American people, yet again, have an extremely short memory and seemed to have absolved the Republican party of decades of policy incompetence. They have never been the party of small government, free enterprise, fiscal discipline and just because they say it a thousand times, doesn’t mean that this is the answer or that they should institute these policies that they espouse. We don’t need small government, we need a smart and accountable government. We not only need a policy that encourages free enterprise, but a ethical free enterprise system. I’m not convinced that any party, Democrat or Republican or the fringe Republican movement known as the Tea Party, have the vision or ideas that will lead to the needed policy changes that will pull America out of this economic funk.

It’s not JUST spending cuts, it’s what you cut, it’s not JUST tax cuts, it’s balanced tax cuts that benefit the whole and not JUST the rich, it’s not JUST small business that matters, but the working poor that need help too. The single most crushing reality of this situation is ideological rhetoric has trumped informed reality. Fiscal fantasy over fiscal discipline. The American people nor our congressional representatives are prepared to make the radical changes to fix our problems. The rapid “zig zag” movements between parties is a testament to this fact. The achilles heel of this political process is we do not have an objective citizenry (regardless of the left or right), that has the information needed to understand the difference between sound policy decisions that benefit the whole vs corporatist ideologues posing as honest politicians who pretend that they are offering sound policy decisions.

Understanding the hows, whys, and whats of domestic and foreign policy is difficult. To be honest, I spend a considerable amount of time probing for facts and I STILL don’t have a crystal clear understanding of this stuff . It’s probably why most people prefer 30 second sound bites that move them into certain ideological political circles than doing the grudging hard work of researching and objectively interrogating certain policy ideas. It’s easy to follow your emotions, while not challenging the status quo. People are constantly asking “Where are the JOBS?”. For you to understand this, you have to go back several presidential administrations to understand how we got here. It didn’t start with the Bush Sr. Administration or Clinton Administration although they exacerbated the problem and it most certainly didn’t start with the GW Bush Administration although they exacerbated the problem. And to think the Obama Administration was a prerequisite to this current fiscal crisis is absolutely ludicrous. You have to research all the fiscal policy decisions starting around the Marquette Decision (1978) which completely deregulated the credit card industry. If the so-called “big bang” was the beginning of the universe, then the Marquette Decision was the big bang for our future fiscal problems. Our current “jobless recovery” is a host of bad policy decisions (including Fed policy) that was institutionalized for last 30 years.

Pointing a finger at any one political party is a waste of time. For what it’s worth, the one single book that has given me more food for thought on the nature of regulatory reform, fiscal policy decisions by the U.S. government, global monetization policy, Fed monetary policy and the roots of economic booms and busts including our current fiscal crisis is the book Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy by Raghuram Rajan. You can also read Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by Kevin Phillips which helps to understand these fiscal issues too. Start there and use this as a guide so you can understand why jobs have been obliterated from the U.S economy. In short, our extreme financialization of phantom assets/equity, erroneous reactions from the Fed have severely hampered the U.S. economy, not to mention financial illiteracy by the general public. It’s not going to take half of a presidential term to get out of this. We are 3-4 presidential terms away from getting even close to fixing the fundamentals of the U.S. economy. If that. Jobs can only come from the efficient use of resources in the economy. I repeat, there is no political party that can get us out of this. Once we realize that we are all in this together, irrespective of party affiliation, things will start falling into place.

Books

  • Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy by Raghuram Rajan
  • Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by Kevin Phillips

3 Responses

  1. Serena Wills

    Well said! I agree with the “short term memory.” These will be the same people complaining about change that isn’t happening. Thanks for the knowledge dating back to 1978. It’s time to do our homework people and back President Obama.

    People need to ask themselves…”what am I going to do to help my President?”

    Reply
  2. Mike Kanhai

    This is a very insightful article; Robert Gibbs was heavily criticized when he talked about the Professional Left and how fickle they are but he was right. President Obama has been in my opinion in the middle with a slight lean to the left. Healthcare is not nearly as Left sided as Right Wingers would have you believe.

    As you stated the extreme right aka Tea Party is so far right that they believe Obama is extreme Left. In my opinion this country is neither Left or Right and is really moderate. Republicans will show their true colors again as they will not be able to cut the spending they like to talk about. At least nothing significant like Defense.

    I love how you pointed out that we have to continue to remind people that this problem did not start with Obama and how it even started before Bush 43. I discussed with someone the other day the idea of all the debt Reagan ran up; the guy almost flipped his lid that I would dare to talk badly about the Great One.

    Overall good article, keep it up!

    Reply

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