Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's not Bipartisanship, its Betrayal

Unsurprisingly, Obama folded under Republican pressures and watched the $250K+ club tax relief continue. Whether you realize it or not, this country is headed toward financial ruins and that very well may have been the nail in the coffin. Certainly, this is hard to believe when the Jayson Werth's of the world are commanding $130mil, and stock index levels have jolted slightly, but believe it or not unemployment is actually predicted to rise and the relief for the jobless to fall. Something seems wrong about that. President Obama campaigned on a message of hope and hope is exactly what he is sucking out of millions of Americans, just before the Holiday season.
Did Obama campaign on a bipartisan agenda, as well? Certainly. And, I would willingly concede that being able to reach across the aisle, is not just an important political skill, but also something all great leaders are able to do. However, any great leader would tell you that you do not do so at the cost of forsaking your greatest convictions. Obama is playing the fool now and is making everyone who campaigned and argued on his behalf - ahem - look stupid. Not only that, but he has taken the very dangerous step in letting the GOP set the agenda for the nation. Talk about showing weakness.
I mentioned in my previous blog entry how foolish it would be to end jobless benefits. I read today a jarring statistic, which essentially states that each $1.00 pumped into jobless benefits injects $1.60 back into the economy. Seems like a worthwhile investment, no? Obama knows this as well as anyone, his arguments prior to the election were incredibly convincing and emboldened, he had a hard stance: The tax breaks for the $250K + club are bad for the economy. So, why is he bending now? He has completely betrayed his supporters. Each day it becomes more and more clear that Mrs. Clinton was correct and Obama was not ready for the big time. This is not what we put him in Washington to do.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Democrats Should Show Fight

If the Democratic party is going to stand up to the GOP at all, this is the time. Just because they won the midterm elections doesn't mean you roll over and surrender complete control to them. Do you want cooperation and support down the road? Yeah, sure. I guess. But, if it means not just extending the Bush tax cuts, but making them permanent, than under absolutely no circumstances do you allow this to happen. In fact, if these tax cuts do become permanent it will be nearly impossible for even the staunchest base Democrat supporters to have faith in anyone in public office. Period.
What do the tax cuts mean to Americans, you ask? Well, here is a very simple break down from the great Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, who writes:

Here's what [the Republicans] argue: Extend the tax cuts for the richest Americans - in fact, make them permanent. Doing so would increase the deficit by $700 billion over the next decade, but this doesn't matter. We did tell you that we're the party of fiscal responsibility, however, so to prove it we'll block the extension of unemployment benefits for millions of jobless workers. Three weeks before Christmas.

In other words, there's no additional money in the national coffers for the victims of the most devastating recession since the Great Depression. But to help investment bankers start the new year right, perhaps with a new Mercedes or a bit of sun in the Caribbean? Step right up, and we'll write you a check.

Is this the type of garbage that anyone who voted Democrat in the midterms, or has ever voted Democrat, or has any liberal leanings, or really, any common sense is going to overlook? I really don't see how it would be possible. This one, in my mind falls on Obama, he is the leader of the party. It's time to rally up the troops and crush this in its tracks.
Anybody who has taken any type of Economics course in their life, or even has any sense of how an economy works, or how real world lives are impacted by a complete halt of financial support knows that ending jobless benefits HURTS THE ECONOMY. Think about it, people without any source of revenue take the money given to them by the government and funnel it directly into the economy. This is the money they use to pay rent, buy food, clothes, gifts, make car payments, etc. How is ending that going to help the economy at all?
But, alas, -and I hate to be cynical - the Republicans are not even that clueless to think the tax relief for the wealthiest Americans is actually good for the economy. So why be so adamant it get pushed through? The answer is simple. One, it stops a Democratic agenda, weakens the presidents resume, and what they hope will limit him to one term. Not to mention their chief donators are the ones benefiting most from the tax relief. So, this one falls squarely on Obama's shoulders. The Republicans are crippling the economy, stepping on the little man, and trying to drag Obama out of office after one term. Time for Obama, and the rest of the Democrats, to show some fight and kill the bill. No pun intended. But, I liked it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wikileaks, Whistleblowers, and You

The haymakers levied by the Wikileaks phenomenon and the repercussions that will potentially ensue are obviously not to be taken lightly, but the fact is, most people find the breadth of information both boring and overwhelming. Who am I to disagree with that? I have taken a keen interest in politics, but will be the first to admit I care a lot more about gearing up for a playoff run in fantasy football, or the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. But, I also think it's important that people really understand what is going on with Wikileaks and how it could and probably will impact each and every industry.
So, first and foremost, check out the Forbes interview with Julian Assange, wherein which Assange reveals his plan to unleash a potentially devastating blow to one (unnamed) major American bank at some point in early 2011. In a decade that will be marked most prominently by the prevalence of the internet - the new Wild West - it was only a matter of time before whistleblowers were given a safe haven to dump information leaks that cripple public and private entities alike. In the Forbes interview, Assange claims to have "dirt" on just about every industry you can think of, ranging from governmental agencies, energy, and finance. So, what do businesses do with the new threat of whistleblowing in the form of cyber-dumps? I don't know. Maybe they hope that the public is so inundated with the leaks that they become jaded and don't hold them accountable. Or perhaps, they hope that those who find Assange and other whistleblowers to be scum-of-the-earth types will write off anything they say in the first place. But, when it comes time to answer for their crimes and/or wrongdoings, what will they do? Well, hopefully they'll start to adopt fair and honest practices.
Transparency is always stressed in most every business, Wikileaks is almost forcing the hand of transparency, which, in my opinion, isn't a bad thing. I find Assange to be a self-indulgent, egomaniac more than the rogue arbiter of justice he bills himself as, but at the end of the day, I would have to say that I kind of fall on his side of the debate on transparency. The only real issue is that Assange is basically out of control with his grandstanding and self-perpetuating-hype that he is turning the leaks into a circus and made-for-TV-scandal, instead of a tool for accountability. But, if your company stresses and enforces integrity, then you won't have any issue with Wikileaks' existence.