Needed: Vigara for backbones
by Jim Hightower
What the White House needs is a good alchemist. Not a magician who can turn lead into gold, but a practitioner of the chemical arts who can formulate a new Viagra pill to stiffen backbones.
Obama and team seem incapable of taking firm stands. They see a problem, address it in the boldest of terms, suggest stout action … then immediately droop into limp compromises, before shriveling into pathetic appeasements.
Take America's worsening job crisis. Nearly 15 million people are unemployed, with 40 percent of them mired in long-term joblessness. Obama has eloquently addressed their plight and rightly proposed a $266-billion national emergency response to put these folks to work. But he quickly caved in to do-nothing Republican ideologues, compromising his bill to mush in order to win a few GOP votes. To appease them, he had to slash his jobs investment from $266 billion to $15 billion — a puny response that, at best, will create only 250,000 of the millions of jobs America needs.
Likewise, responding to the public's fury toward Wall Street bankers who are paying themselves billions of dollars in bonuses after wrecking our economy, Obama went after the greedheads, demanding firm restrictions to rein in "obscene" executive pay. Again, however, Republicans refused to back real reform so Obama has now shrunk from any boldness, meekly abandoning his moral outrage in order to beg for the wimpiest of wrist slaps on the miscreant bankers. "I, like most of the American people," Obama weakly explains, "don't begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free market system."
Hello... Wall Street's bailout and luxurious bonuses didn't come from the "free market" — they came from us taxpayers. Come on, Obama, grow a spine! Don't just talk about change, dare to stand up for it.
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