Thursday, December 09, 2010

Why I like Obama and despise Congress

Once again, I am left shaking my head at:

  • House Democrats who won't compromise on extending tax cuts for those earning over $250,000.
  • Republicans who won't compromise on extending unemployment benefits for another year.
  • Those who think Obama operates like an ideological liberal.
Obama has done exactly what I would do.  He knows he'll never extend unemployment without compromising with the Republicans on tax cuts.  He knows he can't win with Republicans over the tax cuts.

So he's acted the way he has acted consistently.  He is a realist.  He is getting what he can get and compromising as necessary.  Congress, meanwhile, continues to be as gridlocked as ever.  If it's this bad now, things will go nowhere for the next two years.


Rick said...

"Those who think Obama operates like an ideological liberal."

I don't know. If you have someone like Chris Matthews claiming that Obama is a progressive/liberal president who is trying to act like a moderate/centrist, it is hard to say he is not a liberal.

Per Chris Matthews, speaking about the president: "Look, it‘s hard being a smart liberal...
It‘s not so easy when you‘re a liberal president trying to lead a centrist country in a difficult time."

Or Howard Fineman:
"Barack Obama really does come out of the progressive side of the party..."

Are you perhaps distinguishing between being a liberal, and operating like an ideological liberal?

Ken Schenck said...

Well caught Rick, I was expecting people not to catch the distinction. I used the word "operates" very intentionally.

I'm not questioning the fact that Obama's ideas are liberal and that if there were no counterbalances, Obama would act consistently liberal. But his decisions and operations have been far more realist. He has tried to get as much of his ideal as he can, but has compromised on things like a public option or now on tax breaks because he is more interested in some of his ideas being advanced than all of them.

This plays into some philosophical things I have been trying to say about how many people seem to focus on ideas detached from action. It is this mistaken sense that people "are" something apart from their choices or that mistakes this mysterious "are-ness" for their choices. What is important about a leader is his or her choices, not things they think that never make it to the light of day.

These are the prevalent fallacies in thinking I have been trying to convey. Idealogical "systems" are hardly a reliable predictor of human action. Further, labeling a person is more often than not a pre-modern act--it is the imposition of a category by the person labeling, rather than something that inheres in the person being labeled.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

At least Obama is "true to his ideal" society, until he compromised with the Republicans!

Congress has made for egregious budget deficits that can't be condoned, if America is to remains solvant. And such things as giving jobs to their constiuencies at the costs of tax-payers, is what I am talking about.

When the DOD is blamed for its atrocious spending, it is really Congress who has propeuated "useless" spending to "save" jobs in their particular states, or to pay back "special interests". We are at a real crisis, when the middle class is dissolving and supporting all of the social programs and indefensible spending of our government.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

BTW, Ken,
Do you agree that America should "invest" Amercian dollars over and above regular dues to the U. N.?

Ken Schenck said...

My starting point, Angie, is to take the notion of black and white, absolute "do" or "do not" out of the discussion. Debt is undesirable but it can be a necessary evil (e.g., stimulus actions that result in economic growth). Taxes are undesirable but there is no magic number (thus governments can't do what they need to do without some tax). Our people come before immigrants and foreign nations (but it does us no good to tick the rest of the world off and surely we want to be a welcoming and helping people).

So I go crazy when I see political rhetoric take place in absolute terms and with an all or nothing attitude. Nothing will get done, in the first place. And it is dangerous to think there is one bullet in any area (such as if Rand Paul were to filibuster paying our debts to other nations on some misguided absolute principle of his).

Angie Van De Merwe said...

When you talk of debt being a necessary evil, are you saying that "risk or speculative markets" are really about stimulating the economy? At what costs should one take such risks? Do you think it was wise of the government to take risks on "investing in the poor", as in A.C.O.R.N. and Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac? If so, then, how we do hold government accountable to not use such "networks" for corrupt purposes? and why do you think that government needs to be invested to such an extent that government is not "free" to be representative, except for special interests? Or do you think that special interests will always exists, so we must compete for government "favors"? Do you believe that a centralized Fed is important? or would you prefer to see another way to produce/promote wealth? How do you see States balancing power of the Federal Government? Do you think private business is a misnomer, except for a few "local businesses? If you believe in a combination of the two, how do you suggest protecting from "special interests", or do you think that is just how the world works and we must work within it? If government owns, or has interests in corporate/business interests directly, then aren't you close to socialistic or communistic governing, as far as "capital"?

Economics drives everything doesn't it? And how we understand economics is how we understand the world and government, isn't it? (At least, in the real world )

I am certainly glad that you want to support our people first and foremost, otherwise, you'd be as radical and ideologically driven as some....

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Do you believe that risk is always the best solution to economic problems? If so, then do you counsel your students to go into debt, if it will promote their ultimate "outcomes" financially? What is the difference in getting a student loan, for example? Don't students think that going into debt will help them get a better job?

Wim and I don't like debt or risk investment, or interest on depreciating items. Interest payments are not producing wealth, but promoting servitude to the loan.