Weekly Letter to President Obama
Copyright © 2010
ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
January 8, 2011
Mr. President: A lot has changed since before the holidays, yet, as Yogi
Berra put it, "It's deja vu all over again."
Bill Daley is back in Washington to exercise his negotiating skills on the
Republicans as before. Gene Sperling is also back. He was responsible for
pushing Bill Clinton's deregulation policies leading inexorably to the 2008
financial collapse. Despite new laws, not much has changed and prominent
economists fear a repeat eventually. To give him his due, he was also
responsible for the Earned Income Tax Credit which helped alleviate
poverty. Not much unfortunately, swamped as we are with the largesse to
the rich, for the latest census data released reveal a record 48 Million (1 in
6) lived in poverty last year. It also shows a growing number of people over
65 struggling to make ends meet due to ever escalating out-of-control
Senator Reid is now floating the idea of tightening up on filibuster rules to
make the Democratic majority in the Senate more effective. Deja vu again --
isn't this what the Republicans did under George Bush? The real question is
why this did not occur to Mr. Reid when Democrats controlled both houses.
Then, he was busy bemoaning the lack of a 60-seat super-majority and
blaming Republicans while Rahm Emanuel's protege Melissa Bean was busy
undermining any legislation with real teeth to restrain the financial industry.
In a delicious irony, she lost her seat despite swimming in campaign money.
The lackluster jobs report today finds a less than expected 103,000 jobs
added last month, which adds up to a total of 1.3 million for the year -- not
enough to make a significant dent in the unemployment figure. While it went
down to 9.4 % (a drop of 0.4%), most analysts believe that was because of
people not looking for jobs during the holiday month -- our measure
excludes people who do not actively seek work every week. If the hidden
unemployed are added, the real unemployment is judged to be closer to 20%
which is a horrendous figure and more representative of the pain being
endured in this country.
In the meantime, the perpetrators (inadvertent or otherwise) of this pain
through the repeal of necessary controls in the financial service industry --
even through NAFTA as pertaining to Mexico -- move comfortably in and out
of government and high-paying financial service positions.