Friday, February 6, 2009

Being for the Stimulus Package III

Some who are against the stimulus package are so because of an ill-conceived ideology that the poor will be living large on their hard earned dollar. There are a few business blogs that I follow and contribute to; Tom Peters' blog is on of these. Recently there in a discussion regarding President Obama's support of the $500,000 cap on CEOs whose companies receive a bailout, I told a commentator that the joke was on him for not supporting this initiative. He responded, "Judith you are correct to say that the joke's on me. Taking my money, at the point of a gun, and then turning around and handing it to people that haven't earned it is sad. Oh wait, they call that welfare and we have been that for a very long time. So instead of sending a millions dollars to 10,000 lazy people, we send it to one."

The commentator appears to be one of those dittoheads living in a fantasy land of the far Right who is tettering on a kind of poor folks and racist ideology that blankets welfare recipients as lazy when, in fact, many who receive some form of welfare are the working poor who pay taxes; the biggest flaw in your argument is your blinders which produce a kind of insipid ideology which does nothing to correct the problem but inflame it indeed. His comment is lame for its one-sidedness and handicap for its inability to embrace the whole. It's a shameful stupid comment.

Although living in England, he seems to have been listening to Limbaugh and other extreme right comedic pseudo politicians who inflame instead of inviting, who blame instead of understanding, who are full of themselves who actually berate average guys, doping them into believing that he is speaking for them as they find relief in fantasy while being barely able to pay their gas bills. As they struggle to pay their bills, Limbaugh laughs all the way to the bank. (It's sort of like the new leader of the Republican Party, Joe the Plumber, speaking out against policies that he himself would benefit from. But in his mind he and Limbaugh are on the same level. Right! He too is a joke.) We do not need more of that inane ideology.

This is, in part, the fantasy about which I speak. Yes, we can spend billions upon billions on Wall Street banks and no money for the little guy, even that ideological one who is just at the poverty line, listening and laughing to the likes of Limbaugh. Well, I guess, at least, they can laugh. But many of them need to be crying. Escapism is a serious drug. Yes, we should strip away wasteful spending but tax cuts alone have not helped the working poor and neither have the trickled down laissez-faire economics without corporate responsibility.

These are extremely difficult times. I hope that he will not find himself on the dole after a while. During the Depression a great many very wealthy prosperous people found themselves without and needing the support of the government. (Nassim Nicholas Taleb says that the very wealthy have been hurt the most by this crisis.) Many stood in soup lines; many jumped out of buildings to their deaths. One bad investment could ruin a great many people in these difficult times. It is no time for stupid insipid ideological comments. This stuff is for real. Yes, we need to get things right, but let's not overlook the real problem that America and the whole world faces right now. Let's focus long-term and short-term stimuli, such as infrastructure, green technologies, education, and welfare reform. But we need a shot of some form of stimulus right now.

By the way, the commentator has done right to call what we are doing welfare; I have written of this repeatedly on this blog and on the Huffington Post. It is not called welfare when big corporations are in need of assistance. But when the single mother needs assistance to care for her children, even when she is working, it is despairingly labeled as welfare. No amount of welfare already received by the thousand and thousands of mothers across this great country will add up to the many billions that we have already spent on bailouts for private industries. I'm not complaining. But tax cuts alone will not do it. We've been there and done that. Look at where we now are after 25 years.

If he said anything of value it is his proper labeling of what we are actually doing here. These companies are receiving welfare. I know that some might say that the difference is that we will be paid back with interest. This is our hope. We also hope that the single mother would be able to make things right and be able to one day pay taxes. We also hope that her children will also rise up and call her blessed and seek ways out of the hills of Tennessee or the ghetto of urban America and be contributing citizens to this great country that we all love. Now, if someone can only open his head and pour therein a touch of sensitivity and reality that would be good. Good luck to the one who seeks to do this.

As Warren Buffett, Donald Trump, Paul Krugman and many other economists on the Right and Left, I am in support of the stimulus package.

8 comments:

dave wheeler said...

Judith,

I ventured back into the world of advocacy yesterday after a long absence. I wrote of the experience in detail on the FOUNDATIONS4 blog as it was a unique one to be sure. I did have similar thoughts however about how innovation is needed...big time!

A part of the day was spent attending a meeting of the House Education Committee in Little Rock. As I heard legislator and "expert" alike speak on the merits of their proposed legislation I was reminded how nothing had changed over the past years. Funding was being requested for the very programs that haven't delivered results over the past 12 years since I last attended a meeting on the subject. How dumb is that? Real.

I heard Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe today ask that stimulus money sent to the states give him the flexibility to use them within certain guidelines established by the legislation. A great idea that would better enable him to meet folks needs. I couldn't help but think how much better our local schools would be if they were allocated funds and given the same flexibility. Who knows those needs better than the principal, teachers, support staff,parents and the citizens of the community those schools serve. I'm not sure that white collar solutions to blue collar issues, at work or in the community, are the best answer or solution.

judith ellis said...

Dave - Thank you for sharing that. You have made good points indeed. It is usually best that those on the front line lead in change; it is also very important to have leadership in all areas, including the front line, and responsibility and accountability on all lines. I know that you are an advocate of both. I sincerely thank you for your local activisim; it matters.

dave wheeler said...

Judith,

I think my post was titled "Pinstripes and Smiles" and it was just observations on the many events of the day. On many levels it was a whole bunch of style and very little substance. Lobbyists and legislators posturing and positioning and I understand that is how the game is played. Let's add that to this list of things that need to be disrupted. But there were also several examples of real leadership, real knowledge, and real results. It also reminded me collectively how folks can get together and get results. Substance can trump style!

judith ellis said...

I understand your frustration, Dave. But I must also say that I'm a BIG proponent of style. Style is often what grabs us and determines if we tune in. To me, the key seems to be to have both, style and substance. Style is distinction; substance makes the difference.

dave wheeler said...

I agree there is a place for style in everything. But when governing I would hope the style is in the policy or program along with the substance. I use the term "style" in this context to define a specific "role" folks feel they have to play. It is like the phrase we hear far to often "looking Presidential". So let's see, if I don't look a certain way then my ideas or points of view are somehow not valid or lack substance. How many of these folks, be they legislator or lobbyist, actually know what goes on in the lives of the working poor. How does that "knowledge" get considered when crafting legislation? It's not really about frustration as it a touch of anger, the type that gets one fired up and ready to go, to get to one of those Tom Peters type "rants". This is going to be an interesting experience.

judith ellis said...

All the best, Dave. Rant away!

Personally, I could care less what anybody looks like. Style, for me, is attitude; it is distinction, not conformity or adaptability

dave wheeler said...

Judith,

The definition is terrific and may I say I like your "style". Definitely distinctive, unique, and special.

Thanks for the knowledge as always!

judith ellis said...

Thank you, Dave. You have made me smile. I too appreciate you.