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
August 12, 2011
Mr. President: It has now been almost two years since you first said the
recovery is coming, that we have a strong economy; yet unemployment
remains stubbornly resistant to all such prognostication.
TARP has been a lost opportunity. Given our crumbling infrastructure, it
offered very little towards repairing and rebuilding. Of course, there was
the "high-speed" rail increasing train speeds to the level of fast British
steam trains of the 1950s.
In the meantime, the Chinese are busy putting in place a high speed network
of 300 kph trains; the Japanese are planning the first mag-lev links expected
to run at 550 kph. Such a train would do the New York to Chicago run in less
than three hours and turn the Boston - Washington corridor into a giant
Instead, of putting people to work rebuilding our country, we have a bunch
of wealthy, larded politicians trying to take bread from the mouths of the
impecunious widows surviving on social security, or cut back their health
care so that with some luck they won't have to pay any social security. All
this when social security funds are more than adequate for at least the next
two decades -- if not raided for other purposes, no doubt more amenable to
large campaign contributors.
Repairing infrastructure would put people to work, pulling the economy
along as small business profited from their spending. Instead we have the
constant mantra of cutting spending, now echoed by Democrats, and the
so-called horror of mushrooming entitlements. No doubt they will not be
satisfied until social security is privatized and a drooling Wall Street gets its
hands on its billions.
Meanwhile, the Fed is left with the total burden of trying to revive the
economy. We have had QE2. How much more money can they put in? We
have now reached the point where trying to push the economy this way is
like playing pool with a rope. When there is little demand and the banks are
nervous about lending -- the money just sits there. Moreover, the banks are
sitting on defunct assets that have not been marked down. One might recall
the accounting rules were changed to allow them to carry the
mortgage-backed securities at purchase price instead of marking them down
to market value.
So the market continues to gyrate between extreme fear and greed, the
volatility index rocketing up while our leaders are enjoying a summer
vacation; just popping up now and again to take pot shots at each other.
The wars continue bleeding our economy and shedding the blood of young
men. This week another 36 died including 30 in the worst incident of the
war. In Libya, according to news reports, NATO managed to kill 85 civilians
near Zlitan. The pretense of protecting civilians is gone as it sides openly
with an armed rebellion of eastern tribes and religious extremists who
resent the sidelining of religion by the socialism of the last four decades.
Echoes of 1980s Afghanistan?