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Obama and the Irreversible Recession

February 5, 2009

E.J. Manning

“By now, it’s clear to everyone that we have inherited an economic crisis as deep and dire as any since the days of the Great Depression.”
—————————– President Barack Obama

obama-recession“The time for talk is over. The time for action is now,” he stated when talking to the Department of Energy a few hours ago.  He eschewed political policies of the past decade, pointing clearly at Republican dissonance in Congress. “Half measures and tinkering are not enough.” Earlier this morning, President Obama warned that the nation is facing a recession so deep that, without action, it could turn into one that “we may not be able to reverse.” MSNBC and CNBC started with the same headlines and information, but along with the Associated Press have backed up on promoting such negative media coverage of the President’s words. Yet, what  our President said earlier today is not up for debate. In case you might wonder, words do mean something.

“What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives — action that’s swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis,” Obama added. What Americans actually expect is support that could actually help with the economic crisis for the average American, like job stimulus, not simply free giveaways and government bailout. In fact, the current lack of economic stimulus fails through the lack of emphasis on America’s scientific and competitive edge. Right now, such items like progressive energy needs, matters of small business incentives and income-producing job creation, major hingepins of the economy, are virtually non-existent. Yet President Obama is promoting his plan as “more than a prescription for short-term spending — it’s a strategy for America’s long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education … it’s a strategy that will be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability, so Americans know where their tax dollars are going and how they are being spent.”

President Obama’s overall strategy for short and long-term spending, transparency and accountability is likely to be well-received by most of the American public, especially in view of reinforcing the national safety net for economic decline. Based on what the President said at the Energy Department today, he is energized by the election mandate of the American people. The issue is not that the current stimulus doesn’t cover real promotion of business interests and income producing measures that America needs. The President’s plan is clearly a stopgap measure that awaits further corrective action down the line. The idea of economic stimulus is a process rather than a one time legislative event. Obama knows this, but isn’t spelling out this reality in those terms.

Still, one has to question the wisdom of what could be seen as fear-mongering to an unresponsive U.S. Congress earlier this morning. A recession is not seen as an ‘end time event’ or irreversible by economic definition unless we are discussing the end of the United States in a chaotic situation or a takeover by another economy or governmental order. Yet, this is how politics was painting the scenario.

economy-tent-cityThe nation faces a distinct possibility of economic collapse if it cannot isolate economic fractures, heal the economy and clarify the situation involving toxic banking derivatives that threaten even the global economy. An economic collapse does not necessary mean an end to the nation. Remember that the nation continued to exist through and after the Great Depression, even if many lived in shared housing, tent cities or on the streets. An irreversible recession implies that the United States would live in a prolonged period of recession or worse, a period of economic depression that defies recovery because of a lack of economic activity or ability. In a sense, the Congress has set the nation up for a third-world scenario through the exportation of U.S. jobs and the pillaging of the U.S. economy through corporate tax loopholes. What President Obama wants to avoid is the premise that the United States will be reduced to the status of a third-world nation. ~ E. Manning

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