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November 3, 2009

One Year Since Election

-- by Dave Johnson

Of course President Obama hasn't been in office for a year, but everyone seems to be doing "first year" wrapups because the election was a year ago... So here is mine. I'll have a longer post on "signals" later.

Everyone is disappointed. It seems like nothing has changed at all. Of course a few things have changed but it really doesn't feel at all like We, the People have regained power.

The Stimulus: Obama gave away a good stimulus "hoping to attract" Republican votes, and then didn't get any. He didn't trade it away for actual votes, he traded it away in advance. Brilliant negotiating tactic that set the stage for everything since. So we got tax cuts instead of actual stimulus like public transportation and significant help for states. And, of course, now he is blamed for the stimulus not doing enough.

Health Care: Perhaps the best example of No Change is health care. Instead of "reform" we face a situation where the government is going to order all of us to start paying the big insurance companies whether we want to or not, no matter how much it costs us. After not even paying lip service to providing Medicare-for-All, Obama has now backed off the public option as well. And his insistence that it not "cost" much hampers our ability to have good health care. He should have ordered Congress to stay in session before the summer recess -- he has that power.

The Bailouts and the Bonuses: Even though the bailouts happened under Bush, President Obama was in a position to do something about the bonuses, and chose not to. Imagine Reagan or Bush letting anything stop them from making a clear symbolic point. I'm not saying that Obama should have just violated the law, but there was a lot he could have done but didn't. He paid lip service and little else. And why are the bailed-out banks allowed to lobby? He should cut that off right now.

Goldman Sachs: WTF is that about? This weird appearance that Goldman Sachs gives the orders to the Treasury Department is undermining public trust. Why this favoritism of the huge banks over the small banks and businesses around the country?

Posted by Dave Johnson at November 3, 2009 9:39 AM


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