The $800 billion Stimulus Package that the Obama Administration is forwarding, having met with unanimous GOP House disapproval and facing uncertain change in the Senate has the public's rapt attention as we see the accelerating rate of job cuts, corporate losses, home foreclosures, and business failures. Widespread public apprehension is spreading about the wisdom of loaning more money to Banks and Corporations who continue to splurge on luxuries. The A.I.G. retreat of last year in the wake of the initial phase of the Bailout, the John Thain office extravagance at Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup's widely reported Presidential phone call resulting in cancellation of the $50 million jet.
Those accustomed to the 'lifestyles of the rich and famous' just don't get it! During this global recession, bonuses, luxurious trappings, and corporate extravagance are off the table. It reminds me of the absurdity of Bernie Madoff's complaint about being confined to his Penthouse after being charged with a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. The Republicans in Congress are actually enablers for this mindset and their worn mantra of tax cuts for the wealthy are profiting from their loyalty and are caught in the untenable position of either following Rush Limbaugh and remain loyal to Corporate greed and corruption or risk going against the GOP's monolithic attempt at maintaining the status quo. I have but one suggestion for them: Get a grip!
Calling much of the Stimulus welfare and socialism, republicans attempt to create the impression that money spent on anything that isn't infrastructure such as 50 million on the National Endowment For The Arts is not going to help struggling artists earn. Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe had to be reminded frequently by Mark Halpern during Monday morning's broadcast that, since the Democrats have won, the stimulus that will emerge from the Senate will and should reflect more of they want in the Package. Joe was forced to admit that the Republicans used fear and 3000 lost lives to push through gargantuan government wasteful spending after 9-11. The Republicans are jumping on Obama for claiming: "We Won" and "Now is not the time for profits" as proof of his Lenin like socialistic outlook. In reality, profitability is not our biggest concern now, it is keeping the doors open until the economy recovers enough until profits are possible for American industry. And yes, America kicked the Republicans to the curb in November in no small part due to the way they wrecked the economy.
The President spoke forcefully about the unconscionable $18.4 Billion corporate bonuses paid this year matching those of 2004, when the DOW was profitable. Recognizing the impact public furor over wasting these funds and the threat to his unprecedented support it engenders, Obama will wield his Bully Pulpit and publicly admonish and embarrass those intent on abusing the process. The creation of the new task force led by Vice Pres. Joe Biden announced Friday, is an attempt at assuaging public fears about the Stimulus as well as offer a public sounding board on the issues and process.
The new website, announced by Vice President Biden as astrongmiddleclass.gov is in actuality http://www.whitehouse.gov/strongmiddleclass, a small gaffe on the site rollout (it beats Bush's 'Internets' by a mile) is touted as a conduit to the general public as a source of information and input of ideas. At the risk of sounding like a snitch or communist state advocate, it should also serve as a whistle blower site for the transparency we need with the Stimulus Package that will eventually emerge for Obama's signature. Employees of Corporations using T.A.R.P. and/or Stimulus funds could use the new web site to report abuses of the Public Trust they see in the workplace. When BofA and other execs attempt to secretly plot to deny unionization that could improve the worker's rights, and public funds keep them afloat, it proves that those at the top have nothing but their own interests at heart. Any sense of Corporate loyalty should give way to recognition of the dire consequences of failure we face.
The money our grandchildren will be in debt for is our collective responsibility to insure that it is well-managed and well-spent. President Obama has on numerous occasions spoken of the shared responsibility we have to shoulder to return our country to fiscal viability and offer our citizenry opportunities for economic advancement. With the economic crisis, wars on two fronts and global terror a constant threat, we face the greatest challenge since World War II to our way of life. Let's do like the history books claim we did then; where we shared sacrifices, shared resolve, and shared victory which resulted in the boon of the 50's and 60's. Until those resisting a new way forward in how we reorient the American economy toward stability and success join the struggle in earnest, it's us versus them!