I have been listening to the pundits -- predicting the Democratic losses of last evening. And now I am listening to the morning after analyses. In my opinion, most of them are stuck in some reality that I don't understand. I don't get it. They are saying that the electorate is sending a clear message to the current administration. Take a look at these:
- Repudiation of Obama policies
- Reduce the size of government
- Reduce the Budget deficit
- Cut taxes
- Create more jobs
- Repeal Healthcare reform
- Restore the American dream (the value of my house and my 401K)
In my opinion, these reactions are the rants of spoiled brats. The American electorate has become drunk on the wine of greed and entitlement mentality. And now they think that the current crop of "Hell No! Republicans" and "Tea Party intellectual lightweights" are going to restore their world to what it was.
The combination of messages above -- culled from exit polls -- are contradictory and impossible to implement in any combination that results in improvement of the US economy, restoration of lost jobs, elimination of debt (national debt or the debt leading to massive foreclosures), or greater security in retirement years.
We are living in a new reality created by the multiple bubbles of the end of the last century and the beginning of this century. Those bubbles were created by elimination of financial regulations, reduction of taxes (primarily for the rich), and the greed of the American public that resulted in runaway consumer spending fueled by credit card debt, and inflated housing values driven by financial instruments (financial instruments like futures contracts or options, which are derived from other forms of assets.). These bubbles have burst. And there is no safety net for those whose hopes and dreams and expectations rose to dizzying heights along with the unbridled greed that precipitated the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression.
This new reality is that our homes are not worth what we thought; our 401K savings are worth less than they appeared to be; our jobs and the value of our labor are dramatically reduced; and finally, there is no short term recovery. So, those who are still working will have to work longer; those who are out of work will have to accept new jobs that pay less; those who lose their homes to foreclosure will never return to that lifestyle.
No politicians -- not Obama, not the Rpublicans, not the Tea Party, not the Democrats -- can restore the "American Dream." That is because the dream of the last half of the 20th century and early 21st century was just that -- a dream -- not reality. In the early part of the 20th century, hard work, self-discipline, savings, and community values offered an American dream that could be realized. The second half of the century was characterized by accelerated imaginary wealth -- based on inflated housing values and the advent of the 401K (paper wealth that wasn't worth the paper it was written on).
So, the honest political answer is that none of the things on the list above will restore the world we thought we knew. We will have to work with the new mix of political leaders to reshape the new reality that all of us are facing.
I believe that President Obama is the best hope we have of a political leader who can navigate through this new reality and set the nation on a course that will have the most positive impact on most of us. He won't solve all the problems while he is in office -- one term or two terms. But he has a unique global perspective that none of his political opponents are demonstrating. I believe that the Obama agenda that got a lot of Democrats unelected is the foundation of a strategy that will benefit the largest number of Americans. Time will tell.
The next two years will be interesting. The new congress won't be able to undo what Obama has set in motion. The challenge for these newly elected people will be to face the hard choices that these contradictory messages represent. They say they want to "set a new course." They will find out that their choices are limited, and Obama has already set a trajectory in motion that they cannot undo.
Save this blog, and check back in a year, or two, or at the end of Obama's second term. Of course, you can tell me what you think now. I would love to hear from you.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS