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Obama Is Not Fdr

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By shanetrain88
Words 1235
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Reelection With the American economy in such dire shape, re-election may seem unlikely for President Obama, but unlikely does not mean impossible, if Franklin D. Roosevelt did it, then maybe Obama can too. Roosevelt held some strong cards, not all of which Obama enjoys: First, his party commanded large majorities in both houses of Congress throughout his first term. Tuesday's (Nov 2) elections, which delivered the House to the Republicans, have made matters worse for Obama. For the rest of his term, he will find himself in a far different position than the first-term Roosevelt: He will be in opposition to Congress, rather than in charge of it. Second, Roosevelt had good timing. He entered the presidency a full three years into the worst economic disaster the United States had ever faced, by which time the system was so clearly broken that Americans gave him carte blanche. Moreover, the Depression was deep enough when he took office that even by 1936, voters still blamed Herbert Hoover and the Republicans. And crucially, the economy had begun to recover by 1936, if slowly. Obama's timing has been less fortunate. He rode the financial crisis to victory, but he inherited the recession that came with it. Because the recession deepened after his election, he had much greater difficulty pinning the blame on his predecessor than Roosevelt did. And while Obama succeeded in keeping the economy from sliding into a depressive abyss, he got little credit, an injustice that reveals a cruel fact of American politics: It is better to inherit a disaster than to avert one. Brandt may see Obama in FDR's spot but the more accurate comparison would be with his predecessor. Hoover was "a self-described Progressive and Reformer" (Wikipedia). He "saw the presidency as a vehicle for improving the conditions of all Americans by regulation" (Wikipedia). His Federal Home Loan Bank Act, was designed to reduce foreclosures. He increased taxes for the rich from 25% to 63%. He raised corporate taxes 15%. His Emergency Relief and Construction Act was a stimulus bill that funded work programs. He created the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) that was a kind of TARP providing government-secured loans to banks, railroads and farmers. He caused Stock Exchange practices to be reformed. According to Wikipedia, Roosevelt attacked Hoover for "reckless and extravagant" spending, of thinking "that we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible." Roosevelt's running mate, John Nance Garner, accused the Republican of "leading the country down the path of socialism". Let’s look back at the Depression for a second. Now, if you recall, Herbert Hoover became president in March 1929 when signs of a slowing economy were evident. By August 1929 recession hit. This recession turned into the Great Depression, with the economy hitting bottom in March 1933. So, the entire recession we remember as being the depths of the Great Depression occurred while Herbert Hoover was President, not during FDR’s presidency. Fast forward to December 2007 when this recession began and we can see that George W. Bush presided over 11 months of recession. So, Obama comes into office during recession unlike Hoover, but also unlike Roosevelt. However, the key difference here is that the economy had already hit bottom when Roosevelt entered and is continuing to worsen for Obama. At the height of the great depression, six million were unemployed and Hoover had to face FDR and the nation's wrath. In Obama's case, two years after the financial crisis broke in Sept 08, unemployment is at 15 million. (Back then the labor force was smaller and the rate of unemployment was greater. Still, two and a half times as many people are out of work today than during the Great Depression.) With years of the Great Depression under their already tightened to the last hole belts, the people were desperate for answers. They were ready and willing to try anything. More importantly though it was a different era. People knew that however bad things were, and they were very bad indeed, the solution, if there was one, would take time. A lot of time. The people were willing to give FDR that time. Politicians then, if ever, were not more honest, that we know. But the public was a more trusting and patient lot. They were willing to give the new guy in charge a chance. Things moved much slower. President Obama was elected two months after Wall Street fell. He was sworn in two months after that. With a frenzied, shark-like, 24/7 cable-centered media needing to be fed constantly, with both the media on the Right and the Left, add that to a churned-up public, demanding results somewhere along the span of the time line it takes for a microwave to cook a meal, an impatient, frustrated, and riled up public, making it nearly impossible to govern; for any plan to be conceived, initiated, implemented, and take hold, let alone work. Does this mean the U.S. is doomed no matter who's in charge? Maybe. If a fickle, "what have you done for me lately?" public refuses to yield one inch, and not allow anything to be given time to work, then the answer is simply: Yes, we are doomed. One thing is apparent. In our hyper-speed, high-tech world, the thought of slowing down does not set well with us. The days of yesterday are gone. They're never coming back, they can't. For many of us, accustomed, we think, to the advantages of multitasking, things today don't move fast enough. And therein lies the rub. What to do? Bring out the cliché: It really is all up to what "we the people" are willing to do: Really Change. When the vast majority of the public, the Microwave Generation, decide things are moving just a tad too fast, that it's time to pause, take a breath, calm down a bit, not bite on every bit of "news alert!" bait that runs downstream, and begin to fathom the notion that some things just don't, can't, come at us so fast for our still prehistoric minds to absorb, comprehend, and act rationally on. It's not only the Drive-By media that is the culprit. It's the Drive-Through nature of the public's insatiable appetite which can't be appeased for one damn minute. The brain cannot humanly process information that quickly, then expect to come up with reasonable solutions to ways of tackling all the problems set before us. Even were we all Einstein's, it's just not possible. And that is the problem, if not in a nutshell. As Pogo said, "we have met the enemy, and it is us." With all of these funnels of information flowing into us, the constant feed from the You Tubes, My Spaces, Your Spaces, I-phones, I-pads, Instant Messengers, Texters, Twitters, and yes, Bloggers, we have become the most "It's All About Me" narcissistic humans ever to inhabit this planet. Until we can come to grips with that mind-numbing reality, and the huge dilemma it presents, anything and everything we could hope to accomplish will be put on hold. And subject to the instantaneous whims of a media, politicians, and public operating at hyper-speed. Try this. Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream. Of course, that is, whenever you can manage to find the time.

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