Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Two True Stories About America: Part 2

It order to understand the actions of the Obama administration you have to understand the mess he inherited. Critics of Obama ask when he will stop blaming Bush for all his problems. But it will always be true that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were started by Bush. It will always be true that Bush ignored the problems global climate change and exploding health care costs. It will always be the case that massive tax cuts and runaway spending meant Obama inherited a federal budget awash in red ink. We can never forget that Bush presided over the housing bubble and watched as his economic policies led a massive, systematic, economic collapse.

These things will always be true. We must never forget that.

Seen in their proper context, the actions of Obama administration were smart, aggressive, and necessary. However bad things are, we were saved from a fate much, much worse. Critics of government intervention need to consider what would happened if those interventions had not taken place. Think about the destruction of the automotive and insurance industries. Consider the insolvency of the institutions that own the homes of most Americans. With the entire banking system teetering on the abyss we were facing the death of the capitalist system itself. Without banks, without loans, without lines of credit, without mortgages, without capitol - every business in the country, every employer large and small would be facing bankruptcy, failure and collapse. The actions taken by the Obama administration were essential to securing stability and protecting our future.

Amidst this crisis it may be harder to see the urgency of reforming our health care system. But our safely net is unraveling. Dealing with soaring health care costs and creating a system where every American can afford health insurance is more important than ever. The Obama administration and congressional Democrats were right to act now. We won’t see radical changes. Many Americans will see hardly any change to their health plans. But once the local health monopolies are broken, once everyone has some choice about their health plan, when health care costs are no longer rising without competition or constraint, when our financial and family health is no longer dependant on the whims of an unknown underwriter, when we have options beyond clinging to what we have - then there will no going back. We will never miss the old, arbitrary, overly expensive system. We can be grateful that action was taken and look forward to a more fair, more secure, less expensive system of health care.

Dealing with the multitude of problems that confront us requires dedication, focus, and a willingness to confront reality. Only the Democrats have shown that focus. The Republican party has abandoned its principles and policies in naked pursuit of politics and power. The politicians and cheerleaders who lead us into this disaster have refused to confront it. Rather than work towards solutions, they have worked to thwart them. Instead of trying to alleviate disaster they have worked to prolong it. The Republican party and its supporters fanned the flames of discontent and disillusionment. They oversaw our economic collapse. Rather than recover from it, they seek to exploit it, and channel the anger and misery. Republicans seek to regain power without regard for the public good.

There is no way to stop the march of history. There is no alternative to confronting the issues before us. It is impossible to take our country back to some imaginary days of yore. We need to look to building a better future. We need to remember that things could have been, and could still get, much worse.


  1. I obviously like this post better than the last one and I find it much closer to reality. Of course, neither post mentions that the government will likely make money from the bank bailout before its actually said and done. Its also worth mentioning that while many people are angry about more government spending, the knee jerk reaction being pushed by the ridiculous Republicans of lowering taxes (especially for the wealthy) is not going to help the national dept. As a last note, I am frustrated with the Democrats not for what they did, but for what they did not do. They owned Congress and the White House for two years and yet they let Republicans stall, modify or stop important legislation. Why? Afraid they might lose control of the House at mid-terms? Our Democratic leaders need to stop being cowards, forget re-election and do what needs to be done. Its obvious most Republicans are unwilling to do the right thing.

  2. The last session of congress was very busy. They did leave some unfinished business (DADT, immigration reform, climate change...) but I'm not too hard on them. They got a lot done. The rules in the senate: 60 votes to do anything, and the minority can really drag things out - where the main culprit. I've been very critical of those rules and think they are horribly anti-democratic. But I'm not too critical of the Dems for abiding by them. I just think they need to change.