19 March 2011

(Among the Reason) Why I Loath Bi-Partisanship

My oldest son Douglas is set to graduate from college this coming May. He has been a good student and an athlete for four years. The obvious consideration at this point is what he is going to do with his B.S. in Biology (minor in Environmental Studies) once he navigates the end of the semester festivities. So, this installment from Paul Krugman hits home with even greater force than it might:
"I still don’t know why the Obama administration was so quick to accept defeat in the war of ideas, but the fact is that it surrendered very early in the game. In early 2009, John Boehner, now the speaker of the House, was widely and rightly mocked for declaring that since families were suffering, the government should tighten its own belt. That’s Herbert Hoover economics, and it’s as wrong now as it was in the 1930s. But, in the 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama adopted exactly the same metaphor and began using it incessantly.

And earlier this week, the White House budget director declared: “There is an agreement that we should be reducing spending,” suggesting that his only quarrel with Republicans is over whether we should be cutting taxes, too. No wonder, then, that according to a new Pew Research Center poll, a majority of Americans see “not much difference” between Mr. Obama’s approach to the deficit and that of Republicans.

So who pays the price for this unfortunate bipartisanship? The increasingly hopeless unemployed, of course. And the worst hit will be young workers — a point made in 2009 by Peter Orszag, then the White House budget director. As he noted, young Americans who graduated during the severe recession of the early 1980s suffered permanent damage to their earnings. And if the average duration of unemployment is any indication, it’s even harder for new graduates to find decent jobs now than it was in 1982 or 1983.

So the next time you hear some Republican declaring that he’s concerned about deficits because he cares about his children — or, for that matter, the next time you hear Mr. Obama talk about winning the future — you should remember that the clear and present danger to the prospects of young Americans isn’t the deficit. It’s the absence of jobs.

But . . . these days Washington doesn’t seem to care about any of that. And you have to wonder what it will take to get politicians caring again about America’s forgotten millions."
Douglas is, in the eyes of his father, indeed one in a million. But that phrase takes on an unhappily ironic cast in the age of bi-partisan political delusion. If it sometimes sounds like my criticisms of Obama and his failure to stand up to the right are personal that is because they are.

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Blogger Cyranos DeMet said...


You know as do I that President Obama is walking a very thin fine line in his administration. Each and every facet of the nation is at risk, some to the changes of time and fortunes, some as growing pains as the United States comes into its full maturity as a nation (compared to the mature nations of Europe we are still teenagers, and it shows), and the most critical risk of all the collapse into irrationality found more in the conservative thought than elsewhere (they are so very much behaving like the one time high school BMOC throwing a tantrum that they don't enjoy the same status after six months on the job).

From a management perspective (yes, I've worn the black of management) his first critical priorty to reduce the risks threatening the nation involves the last risk mentioned, the irrationality of the fossil Bushites committing political suicide. It has fallen to him and his administration to assume more the role of therapist than policeman, to encourage what sanity is left so long as they have power. It is up to we, the electorate, to play the role of the police at the ballot box.

Douglas is not the only one who has committed his life to the American Dream, and his feild is one that will be in ever more demand as the nation is compelled by hard reality to balance our eco-footprint against what the life support systems of planet earth can provide. He'll be needed.


19 March, 2011 14:12  

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