Thursday, February 5, 2009

Is There a There There?

We have a new administration with Pres. Obama with the opportunity to leave partisanship behind. Media outlets have the power to frame our view of events. Why am I surprised to see the headline in the LA Times, about Pres. Obama pressuring Republicans on the “stimulus” package? Pres. Obama urges action pushing for a quick vote so the public won’t find out what it is and what it’s not. It’s a pork bill larger than anything in our history. If only having a conscience were popular. There could be an incentive to be honest. As it is, our representatives see little use in being conscientious other than to cover their rears. It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. What can we expect? Partisanship sells newspapers and feeds the hungry.
With great lament, I peruse my dusty memories of a childhood in Geneva, Switzerland, with all its iconic bureaucracies, promising so much and providing a sense of permanence to my myopic view of the world as a youngster (11-17). The UN, CERN (CERN is impressive) and many other organizations offer a presence that serious work is being done there on serious issues that only those with extensive educations in prestigious institutions have the capability to understand. We see the limos, manuevering flagship cars, some built in the countries represented. We stand on our tip toes or peer through darkened glass to catch a glimpse of magnanimous dignitaries.
I live in the USA now. My illusions have long since dissolved as we see public officials time after time simply ignoring paying their taxes or collecting small percentages of immense sums termed “bonuses” for some nebulous consulting fee; business as usual. There are far too many skeletons in various closets of both parties to be able to be transparent without a very painful adaptation period, one which just will not happen. The first place to have transparency would be Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac balance sheets exposed: Yeah, sure. As we saw with the worldwide meltdown, the house of cards called an economy is a very delicate balancing act. And now we’re in the awkward position where the government has distorted relative values, bailing out some and not others. Forget the bill, eliminate taxes for awhile and bring incentives to work back. Step up to the plate, Mr. President.

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