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Looking Through The Obama Glass Darkly

In 18 months, President Obama has captained three major pieces of legislation with an economic stimulus package, healthcare reform and overhaul of financial institution regulations.

Yet, his popularity is heading south and if it were not for his black constituents could reach depths not seen since George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.

Many of you have read what others think. Here’s my assessment.

Jobs. Despite flutters of improvements, the American people consider the economy still in a recession. The mood is angry and confidence shaken. Their looking glass is half empty.

A natural reaction. Look around and the perception is the rich get richer, middle-income earners are the incredible shrinking class and the poor get poorer.

Homes are being foreclosed at such an alarming rate more are owned by banks than original buyers in the past two years, or so it seems to those hanging on from paycheck to paycheck.

Employers are downsizing, employees are working longer hours in many businesses at lower wages and for every one job opening there are five applicants.

The Obama administration extended the TARP bailout started by Bush. The major banks recovered but sat on their bloated equity achieved by many of the same risky schemes that nearly plunged the nation and world into a depression. The business climate, they said, is too risky and uncertain to invest to expand production and create new jobs.

No matter how one slices and dices the new financial reform law, its impact is uncertain until the new rules are spelled out by the same regulators who allowed the problem to run unabated in the first place.

The health reform law will take 10 years until its full effects are determined. There is no certainty it will reduce health costs as promised.

The $787 billion stimulus bill, with another year before it is drained, has had both good results and not so good as promised. It held state, city and school jobs extended for a year, all of which are now subject to austerity plans. Those shovel-ready jobs to improve the nation’s infrastructure were too little and too far apart to make much difference on a national scale.

In short, when the federal money ran out, the economy shifted back to Square One. Tax breaks and incentives for small business did not produce new jobs and the affluent corporations as we said are sitting on their equity.

Compounding this murky feeling is a perception the federal government is powerless in containing the oil spreading to shores in the Gulf of Mexico from the BP blowout.

Add a cloud of futility in bucking up a corrupt government in Afghanistan that will take years and more loss of American lives.

The sum total paints a sorry picture for Obama’s first term, let alone this November’s midterm elections in which only twice in modern times a majority political party with a president in the Oval office held on to their seats.

Much credit to this doomsday black cloud goes to the Republican myth makers, the naysayers and the obstructionists who framed the issues of the day to their satisfaction.

They have proved that enacting landmark legislation in itself does not translate to good legislation.

They have succeeded in puncturing the inflated balloon that Obama administration accomplishments are, in deed, historic.

Republicans admit that they failed miserably as the majority party during the first six years of the Bush administration because they lacked fiscal responsibility.

Now they promise, with the backing of the Tea Party, they have purged and cleansed themselves of their old habits.

They suddenly have become the ruling party out of power and when they have the chance as a majority party they will govern accordingly.

It is my feeling that neither party can govern worth a nickel.

Passing legislation for the sake of passing legislation does not make good law.

We live in such a polarized political environment that nothing of worth is achieved. The Republican base, which has never governed, eschews compromise as a sell out. The Democratic left, which has never met a tax it hasn’t embraced, is living on another planet.

Both parties do what’s best for themselves for reelection. Doing what’s best to solving problems is an after thought.

Think about it. Our politicians. Their legislation. It is the best our lobbyists can buy.

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