Sunday, September 4, 2011
Happy Labor Day, Bring on the Jobs Speech!
Already, I’m embarrassed for you, President Obama. I am shaking my head in anger and outrage--as I am sure are many hopeful Democrats and “independents”—over how poorly you played your jobs speech timing and how often you seem to shoot yourself in the butt.
You are giving the other side too many chortling opportunities.
The American president should not be the “Wuss and Chief.”
Why pick a fight over the date of a speech, which you hope will capture some the public’s imagination for your plans to get people back to work, chose a date which you know will antagonize the opposition—which in itself is not bad—and then immediately back down when the GOP House Speaker denies your requested venue?
That is chicken crap all over you and it’s self administered.
Please understand that the R’s never are going to respect, embrace, or help you do anything that’s positive, because you are different in more ways than the obvious? (Somewhere down there is some real GOP fear of you, but I am not that good a psychologist to isolate and identify it for you.)
Congressional and other Republicans have made their Obama animus crystal clear.
They don’t like you. They want to humiliate you and the Democratic Party and then defeat you in 2012, so they can introduce the ersatz theocracy espoused by so many of their presidential candidates.
You should ignore them whenever it makes sense, like last week when they balked at your chosen presentation details.
Very few Americans care from where the President speaks when he offers plans to help them. And if anyone in the White House thinks the gilded House chamber adds to your message substance, those individuals likely are part of your political problems.
Give the speech on a street corner, from your own office, or the national mall. The people and the media will watch discuss and what you say.
The substance is the message, not the room’s furniture nor the predictable smiling and frowning D and R wall paper.
People who want to watch the GOP presidential candidates invoke the Almighty, damn Franklin Roosevelt and all things associated with the federal government--save its war fighting ability—could still have seen, watched or heard all that, without you making it easier for them.
Many of those folks likely don’t or won’t care what you have to say.
Take off the velvet gloves Mr. President, this isn’t Marquis of Queensbury rules. It’s a knife fight in an alley.
When you address the Congress and the nation on Thursday, please don’t compound the recent political missteps with a “jobs pabulum recitation,” filled with airy fairy rhetoric and little content.
Calling for $200 billion or more in fresh federal spending for ”shovel ready” public works projects will get people’s attention, especially if the money can be dispensed quickly to municipalities and state and local governments.
Put your best lawyers to work, deficit fund the initiative, and use some presidential emergency authority to implement it.
Training and education, while nice, don’t put unemployed Americans to work, now, or quickly inject fresh wages into the national economy.
Keep your message simple and filled with solid proposals which the average Jane or Joe can understand.
You bobbled the ball last week, don’t do it twice by throwing out lukewarm employment aphorisms.
If the GOP wants to balk at spending for jobs and oppose you, as it will, watch the American public/electorate—which supports infrastructure and other job creating spending--turn on them.
The Banks Can Help
Lastly, let me point out, again, that America’s large commercial banks have huge deposits, which despite all of their rhetoric the banks aren’t lending.
Until the recession ebbs, have financial regulators develop a mandatory new bank lending program to small and large businesses. Use as a target investment amount the TARP money the taxpayers gave obligation-free to these same banks three years ago.
That could pump an additional several hundred billion dollars into the business and economic stream, aimed at those very waiting and willing employers the GOP claims provide the best and most jobs.
Let the banks step up and help you and the Congress whittle away at those 9% unemployment numbers.
If the banks argue they don’t have the customers for that volume of lending, remind them that when Fannie and Freddie were given major new tasks---lending to low, moderate and middle income families in central cities and other underserved areas—the two reached out and met with legions of lenders, black and Hispanic Realtors, huddled with numerous consumer groups, printed easy to understand information brochures in 12 different languages aimed at families likely to want to buy a house, sponsored housing fairs in major markets, set up toll free contact numbers, did targeted television advertising and much more, to find the necessary business.
And before anyone says “and looks at the mess that produced,” read the Fed study (link follows) about why that type of lending did not result in the 2008 financial mess.
Banks could be part of the solution this time, if they would get off their collected derrieres and hunt for good business, rather than just wait for pristine credits to come to them.
Contrary to what many banks might say and/or believe, this could help them boost their revenues, since they are in business to lend money.
As I’ve suggested before, let whatever deficit dollars needed to prime this jobs creation pump become the responsibility of the new Select Deficit Committee, which then will need to subsume this necessary expenditure to their ongoing responsibilities.
Bold, bold bold, President Obama, not wuss, wuss, wuss.
Lawsuits on Behalf of Fannie and Freddie?
Fannie’s and Freddie’s regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is suing a gaggle of large banks, claiming the financial institutions sold the two companies—now in federal conservatorship--poorly underwritten mortgages and mortgage securities, intentionally misleading the GSEs about the mortgages’ quality (fraud?).
The figure $200 Billion is mentioned as the recovery goal.
FHFA and the Justice Department never will get that kind of money back from the lenders. But, there will be settlements, concessions, and other agreements that will bring cash into the government coffers negating taxpayer’s losses.
The only comment I’ll make is to share an exchange I had some weeks ago—before this news hit the press—with a senior official at one of the companies (not the one at which I worked).
I was damning—with great negativity--some of the FHFA senior staff, the veteran GSE-haters who had been there for years and like foraging termites had burrowed for life into the civil service protection system.
My friend disagreed, then correcting me (and I am paraphrasing) said, “That doesn’t apply to (FHFA Director) Ed DeMarco. I am not sure how it happened but he seems to have come around, sees great value in the Fannie/Freddie investor role and appears to be trying to protect that capacity.”
If that is true, then good for Mr. D!