Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's the Jobs, Stupid!

It's been a week since the first Presidential debate, and tomorrow evening is the Vice Presidential candidates' turn.  The Media has been full of debate analysis, proclaiming Romney the "winner" and excoriating Obama's performance.  Well, folks, hasn't anyone noticed that the Democrats have let a wonderful opportunity slip by?

The jolt of realization hit this morning.  Romney is all about jobs, right?  He wants to get the unemployed jobs and lower the unemployment rate.  So, why did he, during the debate, say he was for cutting jobs?  Yes, what could be lots of jobs cut.  He'd contribute to the unemployment rate, not lower it.  What?  Yes!  Follow....

Instead of harping about Big Bird, the President's team needed to think beyond writing clever zingers for ads using either Big Bird himself or Romney's reference to cutting funding for PBS.  Romney was quite emphatic about cutting funding for PBS which receives 0.014% of the total federal budget in funding.  What happens if that funding goes away?  PBS will probably have to cut JOBS and lay off employees.  How many?  Unknown.  But it could also mean that PBS would have to cut projects that also created jobs, cut back on funding to local stations which could mean cutting jobs.  So how is this creating jobs for the currently unemployed?  How come Obama's team has not given Obama the heads up to talk about this?

Another spending cut Romney says he'd make is to eliminate some federal agencies that he believes are no longer needed.  He wants the states to take on some of the work done by those federal agencies.  But which federal agencies?  How many?  And does he realize that he'd be contributing to the rolls of unemployed by eliminating those agencies?  Every Republican in my memory who has run for President has said that he'll eliminate bloat in the federal government.  Well, here's news.  None did of the ones who won election.  Republicans are just as big spenders as they complain the Democrats are.

In my humble opinion, before eliminating any federal agencies, it might be a good idea to research the history of each agency.  Why was it established?  What were its goals?  Has it achieved its goals?  If not, why not?  If it has, then look at the possibility that it's no longer needed.

I have two big gripes about the Presidential campaign right now, 4 weeks from election day:

First, no one's talking in specifics.  We still don't know what Romney plans to do if he's elected beyond vague assertions of cutting the deficit (how?), creating jobs (how?) and establishing a leadership role in the Middle East (how?) and the world.  I think Gov. Romney will find the Middle East the quagmire it is and that each country on this planet has the right to choose its form of government and future, independent of the US of A.  He sounds very much like George W. Bush who bullied our allies and enemies alike and came close to losing some important foreign friendships.

I think Obama has been doing a better job of being specific, but then people complain that he's too wonky, doesn't speak "crisply" enough.  He can do better.  If I'm to make an informed decision in the voting booth, then I need good information.

Which brings me to the Media which I think hasn't been doing as good a job as it could.  However, the idea to have fact-checkers working during the debates is brilliant.  Why didn't they start that years ago?  It is possible to get the needed information about the candidates, but I have to dig.  What I fear is that most of the electorate hasn't the time nor the patience to do that.  They see the political ads on TV, listen to the debates, go to rallies, listen to talk radio and Fox News or any one of many liberal news outlets, and make their decisions based on who they believe the most.  You'd think that if we're the "greatest democracy" on this planet, we'd act like it, you know?

Secondly, Obama needs to brag more.  He seems oddly reticent about talking about his accomplishments during the past four years.  He's worked hard.  The insurance companies don't like the Affordable Care Act so they have the message out there that the ACA means government meddling into individual healthcare which isn't true.  The ACA regulates the insurance companies, not individuals.

Obama and his economic team managed to keep America's economy from imploding.  He saved jobs by bailing out the auto companies that have paid back in full what they got.  That bailout also affected industries that serve the auto industry and kept those companies from going under.  Obama was honest with the American people.  He told us it would take time, and he was right.  It took decades for the conditions to accumulate for the Great Recession.  We're doing amazingly well five years out.

It's not a popular achievement but Obama kept key banks from failing with loans that most have paid back in full.  I want Wall Street to pay for their mistakes and illegal activities just as much as the next American, but I have to admit, I didn't want those huge banks to fail and take the American economy down with them.  The economic ripples would have been felt around the world, just as the European Union's economic problems are being felt now.

So, President Obama, please, please, please brag!  You've earned the right..... 

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