Thursday, September 8, 2011

President Obama's Plan a Step in the Right Direction- But Ideology Stands in the Way

President Obama tonight proposed a $447 billion job stimulus bill designed to create jobs and stimulate the economy. It also provides extension of unemployment benefits, which is a compassionate policy and is sorely needed. The President's plan is a step in the right direction. Government spending in this economic down-turn is the right prescription. But is it too little too late? It probably should STILL be twice what the President is proposing- and can it even pass in an intransigent congress?

The original stimulus package was too stingy, too short on spending, too heavy in tax cuts. Instead of $700 billion, it should have been probably $1.5 trillion, and more concentrated in job creation and infrastructure, as Nobel-price winning economist Paul Krugman has said. It is demand side investment that can help stimulate our economy and save the middle class. Like it or not, government is a major component of  a large economy.

I appreciate that the President was a little more assertive, more blunt in his criticism of his opponents, a tack he should have taken long ago. The ideology of small government, cuts in services, and tax cuts for the very wealthy, associated with the current Republican Party and the Tea Party, is exactly the wrong approach for our current crisis.

What we have needed all along was a bold stimulus bill to rebuild our infrastructure and put people back to work. The ideology of trickle down not only does not work, but has in large measure contributed to the current economic distress.

Tonight I watched our local TV station, Kare11, interview a small group of unemployed persons- all were middle class people who had been unemployed for a long time. They watched the President's speech tonight and shared their thoughts. I could only shake my head in disappointed exasperation as one of the men in the group suggested that we should not have government spending but instead rely on "our own resources." Well buddy, where has that gotten you so far? And where would you be if the Republicans had their way, and you would have been cut off your benefits long ago?

Marx was right; the oppressed internalize the ideology of their oppressors, of the ruling class. We in America have largely bought the ideology of the ruling class, and that is expressed in the type of people we vote for. Add to that reinforcement of religious ideology that emphasizes a narrow sense of morality over more vital and pressing concerns, and you get a stubborn, intransigent, ideological congress that is not up to the momentous challenges of our day.

No comments:

Post a Comment