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
July 13, 2012
Mr. President: It looks like the tax-cut game is on again. The White House is calling
for extending them for the 98% of Americans earning less than $250,000 for another
year. No doubt the House will say no; there will be much speechifying for votes -- the
White House expressing their support for the "middle class", the Republicans claiming
tax-cuts for the wealthy produce jobs. Eventually, they will be extended again for
everyone. What does the average person do with the tax cut? He buys goods,
produced in China, providing little in the way of improving the moribund state of the
U.S. economy. Neither has the Fed's quantitative easing, now targeting the remaining
30-year Treasuries -- it is like playing pool with a rope.
The average American household (income band $50 - $75K) will likely benefit about
$1100 from the tax cuts. The super benefits are for the 1 percent, about $100,000.
The middle class is willing to shoulder the burden (if the rich are) of reducing the
deficit; now ballooned to over a trillion, and the interest on our debt adds to it.
Flying in an airplane with preferential landing rights doesn't quite impart the flavor of
our deteriorating transportation system and rotting infrastructure. Flying commercial
or driving is a wake-up-call, particularly if one remembers what it was like three
Our railroads are far behind the times in comparison with Japan, Europe and even
China. The enormous benefits in time, convenience and fuel savings remain
unrealized. Moreover, CO2 emissions compared to airplanes and autos are orders of
magnitude lower. It requires forceful leadership, a program akin to the manufacturing
of arms and munitions in WWII, and, yes, a Federal work program.
Instead of getting the country moving again, we hear of Hank Paulson meeting with
the board of Goldman-Sachs at the time of the AIG's near bankruptcy in, of all places,
a Moscow hotel room; we hear of the LIBOR scandal in the U.K. where rates were
rigged downward to make the system appear sounder. Was the Fed in a similar bind?
Fortunately for politicians, most of the public has been much too enthralled with
celebrity divorces and such like to pay attention to this kind of news.