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I believe it no more appropriate to become alarmed four weeks into President Barack Obama’s administration than it would be to become alarmed four weeks into a bad start of a Yankee or Met season. I voted for Obama, purposeful and sensible change, intelligence and honesty, innovation and new ideas, integrity and hope.
When “we the people” are preparing to spend $789 billion on top of many other lofty sums already spent, it is reasonable to take a moment for review. Much of what the president says about this package surrounding money for education, health care, infrastructure projects, renewable energy and jobs makes sense to me and sounds purposeful.
In fact, when trying to extract some lessons learned from what Japan did in the 1990s to stimulate its economy, there seems to be a worthy argument for the president to consider an even larger Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan. But comparisons between countries and over different time periods can prove difficult and inconclusive. Uncertainties regarding the optimal size, scope and impact now and in the future that this stimulus package would wield causes me to have reservations.
My trepidations do not arise from a need to question Obama’s intelligence. My apprehensions do not hinder on the astuteness of his advisers, even though few experts saw clearly ahead to the mess we find ourselves in currently. My apprehension stems from execution. Who exactly is going to oversee the spending of these funds?
As enthusiastic as I am about Obama, he is still only manning the front door of this proposed second bailout package. Who will be the watchdogs? I was disturbed this past week by this administration’s initial attitude regarding non−payment of taxes by public officials. Nonchalance is not a demeanor we can afford to have permeating its way around hundreds of billions of dollars.
Meanwhile, some elected officials in Washington, lobbyists, bankers and Wall Street executives still seem to have no qualms about keeping alive old traditions of shoveling their share out the back door. Obama has stated that “no plan is perfect, and we should work to make it stronger.” But because no plan is perfect is why we must take a closer look before taking action. If we need a few more days in order to make the best call, then let’s do it.
Individually and collectively, I do not like to make decisions out of fear for what the future may hold. I think we, as a country, need to have fortitude and base our decisions on careful assessments of the reality we face. This means we need to welcome our ability to critique our leaders and voice our differences, for that remains America’s priceless asset.
I would be less than honest if I did not say I am uneasy watching this administration and a great nation engaging in a growing trend of rushed decisions, seeded in a perpetual fear of doom. We need to take bold actions to stimulate our economy and steer ourselves in a more prosperous and practical direction. But let’s not be afraid to pause for a moment so we can put the best plan in place with the best execution in mind.
New Hyde Park, L.I.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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