This is the first of a three-part series that examines the effects of the Great Recession, unemployment and how the Obama administration attempts to rectify it. Today, we present an overview of some of the major issues, the villains, both real and perceived, and some surprising news from the polls.
If there is any other type of topical political debate – beside the economy – then we don’t know about it. Because for the last few months, the economy, or to be more exact, what to do about it, has shone the light on President Obama, and those that want to unseat him from the White House.
Moreover, this is a concern that permeates all areas: city, suburban, families, and individuals, and in every area, including Chicago and Illinois.
For what happens in Washington, does not stay in Washington.
As we saw in 2007-2008 the economic crisis in America, especially in the banking industry was felt in almost every major economic power, worldwide, including the previously sound Iceland.
While the debate rages on how to best the beast, we have seen a number of solutions from the Republicans, attack the soft underbelly of the so-called entitlement programs, Social security, Medicare, and Medicaid; for some of the more pungent pundits, first get the bankers; and for others, tax the wealthy, particularly those earning over $250,000 per year.
Of course, the elephant in the room is unemployment, now at 9.1 percent – way above the “comfort zone” of 5 and below that some economists have traditionally held.
While the president’s jobs programs has been praised, and panned as unworkable, or too political, politics is the name of the game – and the primaries with Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney – are just around the corner in March.
While some say that Obama “knows” this won’t pass – one thing is sure it positions the president as a reasonable leader, trying to do the right thing, contrasted with his Republican opposition who seem to only say the word no. No to new taxes, no to taxing the wealthy, especially the uber-wealthy, no to any compromise that doesn’t play to their base, and their goal of unseating a president who they have never seen as legitimate, and whose wacky, in unofficial spokespeople, such as Donald Trump thunder the gospel of illegitimacy across the airwaves.
But, for our native son, he needs to also play to his base, especially independents that feel that his earlier compromises showed a lack of spine.
However, it seems, that despite the newly praised aggressiveness, that Mr. Obama may have been on the right path: compromise, show it, admit that it was rough, and then, just when the opposition thinks that they have won the battle, if not the war, turn the table, and tell the public that he’s done everything that he can, but those darn Republicans just won’t let him.
Monday, the much respected Washington based, Pew Research Center released a poll that showed the president with a 52% confidence in remedying the deficit than the GOP; with 62% showing that they have little or no confidence in Republican handling of this vital issue, unchanged from the 55% approval rating that Obama held earlier in the year, “with comparable declines among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who agree with the Tea Party and those who do not” according to the poll.
The poll used a sample size of 1,000 and held a plus and minus of 4.0 percentage points.
As we noted last week, the Great Recession has proved to be more durable than previously thought, and Teflon-like, seems to resist all efforts at remedying its effects, both great and small.
Whose fault is it? Name that villain!
Certainly the blame game is not unknown in Washington, but the myriad of those accused, has not only grown, but has assumed titanic proportions. Here is but a partial list:
- The tax program
- The banks, especially the large east coast banks
- Social Security
- Lobbyists – always “powerful”
Yes, some of this always make the list, whenever there is an economic crisis, no matter how small, or great — but history has shown that there is not one cause, nor simply one effect – there have been years of missteps, malfunctions, and regulations, including deregulations on both sides of the aisle.