Most of you will recall that in the most recent campaign the President compared the economic recovery with removing a car which had wrecked in a ditch. He described how difficult it was to remove and indicated that he was not going to let the Republicans drive again; they had to ride in the back seat. Has anyone ever wondered what happened to that car after the election? I have and now I think I know. It’s for sale or lease!
Before the election it wasn’t worth much and probably could have been bought for salvage–maybe $100–but there were no buyers as the election proved. But now the American people are being asked to pay $900 billion dollars for the privilege of driving it.
Now it turns out that the President assumed responsibility for a car with four flat tires, an engine that wouldn’t start, and no gasoline. The tires have been barely inflated, a little gasoline was added and the car is now sputtering. The Republicans, having had a very good election, decided that they now want him to pay $900 billion (payable in 2 annual payments) for the car to allow him to drive it on a two year lease. How in the world could he say no? This is the only car he has to drive. He’s now asking us to pay the lease charges.
Get the “picture” everyone? It’s the only car we have. Maybe we should seek alternate transportation? How about a plane, train or another donkey? Personally, I’ve never been very keen on riding an elephant.
Now let’s examine some of the details of this “deal” that the Republicans are “willing” to make and the President wants us to accept. The costs of this 900 billion can be met by loans from China, Saudi Arabia and several other countries at very good interest rates. Obama will let the big banks hold the money for us at no interest and some of it can be loaned to us from the banks charging up to 20% or more interest. We can pay that back over several years. We can even give big chunks of it (at least 140 billion) to our wealthiest Americans to spend as they like. We are “permitted” to use up to about 60 billion to aid unemployed workers, give about 120 billion to all Americans to reduce their social security payments. Obviously we’ll have some other “flexibilities” including tax credits for college tuition and for those of us who die and have estates over 5 million dollars our survivors will get a big break on their inheritance taxes! But we can’t give $250 to seniors in lieu of a cost of living increase.
Now what the hell is the matter with you “progressives”? This is the best “deal” Mitch McConnell and John Boehner would accept. Are you just a bunch of malcontents? Everyone has been asking him to be “bipartisan” and the Republicans are ecstatic with this “deal”. Hasn’t there been peace in politics? For goodness sakes, look at all he’s done for us. And to compare this with the public option for healthcare insurance? Shame, shame, shame on us.
I must admit I’m mad as hell. But I’d like to offer something constructive. As a former professor of physics and management and a consultant to leaders in the corporate sector, I’d like to recommmend the President study some negotiation skills, conflict resolution skills, and then problem solving skills. That could be done within a month with his mental abilities. Although I’d happily serve as his mentor, perhaps he can get some help from Harvard instead. For example, I recommend the little book, “Getting to Yes, Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”. That was written at Harvard, by Fisher and Ury in about 1981. But I’m sure he can also find many other references of value; I’m probably going to send him my old, worn copy. This same recommendation also applies to these other skills above. In the meantime, he might practice these skills with new negotiations on this old car. But he needs to know that capitulation, acquiescence, or playing lose-win are not the only choices for outcomes! He also needs to look up the word “compromise” in this context.
Since the deficit will be increased nearly a trillion dollars with this “deal”, it should not be surprising that deficit reduction will now be an even larger priority. I will soon have some specific recommendations (demands!) that we should make to do that! And they will include, “Keep your damn hands off our social security, medicare and healthcare” and add a public option now! It will also demand that this criminal distribution of wealth to the richest Americans stop NOW!
P.S. By the way, it’s going to be interesting to see how other countries, especially China, react to this great “deal” the President has “negotiated” with Republicans. I bet they have some used cars, too!
Dr. Tom Baldwin, Biloxi, MS, 12/08/2010