Li: ritual, propriety, etiquette. Hsiao: love within the family (parents for children and children for parents. Yi: righteousness--the noblest way to act in a situation. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others. Chung: loyalty to the state and authority. --Confucius (Kong Fuzi)

All articles appear in reverse chronological order [newest first].

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I believe the past is relevant, sometimes more than others of course. In most cases we are seeing history being repeated, so it is most relevant.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Who Gets US Out of the Hole We Are In?

Robert L. Borosage: President, Institute for America’s Future

…This election, the president said, will offer a choice: "It's a choice between the policies that led us into this mess and the policies that are leading us out of this mess. It's a choice between falling backwards or moving forward."

His critique of Republicans has the advantage of being true. With unparalleled discipline, Republicans voted with virtual unanimity to obstruct every major reform offered by the president, breaking all records on filibusters along the way. To the extent that they offer any program, it is a retread of the very policies that drove us off the cliff -- top end tax cuts, deregulation, drill, baby drill, ardent defense of corporate subsidies and multinational trade accords. Their solution to health care, as Rep. Alan Grayson gibed, is don't get sick. Their solution to unemployment, as Republican Sen. Kyl and others have argued, is starve or work. (Kyl opposes extending unemployment benefits, so people will be desperate enough to take jobs that pay far less, assuming they exist.)

Will voters vote for party of no -- or as John Boehner ranted, in a health care
screed immortalized in a YouTube video, the party of "hell no, you can't?"

Well polls suggest that they just might. Off-year, low-turnout elections are the occasion to cast a protest vote. Voters aren't really voting for an opposition candidate or her or his policies, they are voting against. And that clearly is what Republicans are counting on.

Can a compelling choice be posed in midterm elections held in a bad economy?

The president would really like to campaign for credit for one of the most productive congressional sessions in decades. Against Republican obstruction, the White House and Democrats in Congress have passed the largest recovery act in history, the largest increase in student aid since the GI Bill, the most significant health care reform since Medicare, the greatest expansion of community service since Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, the biggest investment in renewable energy ever. This week the Congress will pass, again, over virtually unified Republican opposition, the largest reform of finance since the 1930s. The White House will roll out studies on the benefits of the health care bill, the millions of jobs created by the stimulus, the consumer protections in financial reform. They'd like a little credit. If only people understood what we've done, they strongly believe, they'd reward us at the polls.

These statements are true but largely irrelevant... As dramatic as the reforms have been, they have not been sufficient to the crisis. And, at the end of the day, what matters is jobs and the economy. House Minority leader John Boehner's response to Obama's argument is simply "Where are the jobs?" Many Americans may think the real choice is between those advocating the policies that got us into the mess and those advocating policies that have failed to get us out.

George W. Bush survived a jobless midterm, but only because of 9/11. In 1994, the economy was actually beginning to generate jobs, but Clinton and Democrats were punished, and the Gingrich Congress was elected. The last president to survive a bad economy in an off-year, first term election was Ronald Reagan. He cut taxes, ran up military spending and exploded the deficit. Despite a deep recession, Reagan got Republicans to unite on a message of "stay the course." He pounded relentlessly from the first day of his administration on the failure of liberalism, on government as the "problem, not the solution," blaming Democrats constantly for the downturn. Democrats made gains, but Reagan survived to go on to re-election.

Obama's message parallels Reagan's. We've begun to create jobs, stay with the policies that "are getting us out of the mess," rather than going back to those "that got us into the mess..."

From the Huffington Post: view the entire article.

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