by John F. Wasik,
Author of The Audacity of Help: Obama's Economic Plan and the Remaking
Boiled down, what Obama promises is a more ecological sense of shared
responsibility. By ecological, I'm referring to interrelationships
within society and the economy and not just the environment. Green
jobs for inner-city residents mean better education and opportunity.
Reshaping the energy infrastructure translates into less dependence on
foreign energy sources, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and lower home-
ownership expenses. Can the more than $350 billion the U.S. spends
annually on energy imports be rechanneled into domestic energy
production and jobs? Obamanomics provides the impetus to transform the United States into a greener economy.
This new economy, in Obama's plan, means redefining connections
between government investments and economic growth. Spending money on
health-record digitization, renewable energy, and general education
will better position the United States to compete in global trade.
More affordable and portable health care will create more economic
security for everyone, particularly entrepreneurs.
Job creation and economic stimulation, naturally, topped the "to-do"
list -- in addition to a comprehensive bank bailout. The $787 billion stimulus plan passed by Congress, the focus of most of this book, was
the first salvo. In his January 8, 2009, speech, when he introduced
the main parts of his "American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan" (which
I refer to throughout simply as the "stimulus" plan), he echoed FDR
and laid the groundwork for his economic policy on the ruins of the
ownership society and the botched bailouts of 2008:
If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years. The
unemployment rate could reach double digits. Our economy could fall $1
trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than
$12,000 in lost income for a family of four. We could lose a
generation of potential and promise, as more young Americans are
forced to forgo dreams of college or the chance to train for the jobs
of the future. . . . This crisis did not happen solely by some
accident of history or normal turn of the business cycle, and we won't
get out of it by simply waiting for a better day to come, or relying
on the worn-out dogmas of the past. We arrived at this point due to an
era of profound irresponsibility that stretched from corporate
boardrooms to the halls of power in Washington, DC. . . . Banks made
loans without concern for whether borrowers could repay them, and some
borrowers took advantage of cheap credit to take on debt they couldn't
afford. Politicians spent tax-payer money without wisdom or
discipline, and too often focused on scoring political points instead
of the problems they were sent here to solve. The result has been a
devastating loss of trust and confidence in our economy, our financial
markets, and our government.
The above is an excerpt from the book The Audacity of Help: Obama's
Economic Plan and the Remaking of America by John F. Wasik. The above
excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print.
Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear
due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for
Copyright © 2009 John F. Wasik, author of The Audacity of Help:
Obama's Economic Plan and the Remaking of America
John F. Wasik, author of The Audacity of Help: Obama's Economic Plan
and the Remaking of America, is the author of twelve books, including
The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome and The Merchant of Power. He speaks widely
and writes a weekly Bloomberg News column that reaches readers of five
continents and which earned him the 2009 Peter Lisagor award for
journalism. He lives in Chicago.
For more information please visit www.audacityofhelp.net