Thursday, January 26, 2012

Broken Economy, Broken Country

In his state of the union address, President Obama did not hide his optimism for the outlook of our country. Yes, there have been improvements as well as more set backs pertaining to our country's struggling economy. But for the individuals, or for the families across the nation, the President's bright attitude does not reflect their own. This article from Time looks into the emotions President Obama strived to instill in his speech.

Our country is staring at two broken codependent dimensions: government and economy. As we operate under a mixed economy, incorporating necessary government restrictions and intervention onto an otherwise free market, these two pillars of our country transform and affect one another invariably. Meaning, when the housing market tanks, unemployment skyrockets and more Americans depend on welfare than ever before, Washington divides- more so than its current state -and rips the country in half. The House and Senate are brimming with conflicting arguments and proposals, under-the-table deals and partnerships to block this or that piece of legislation, all of which inevitably leads to the current state of our union: a stalemate.

The solution? Perhaps a clean slate- all new representatives and senators to fill Congress with new ideas, new methods of operation and hopefully a more realistic optimism than that which appears on the President's face. Opposition for the sake of opposition plagues Congress now. Naturally, this rather immature emotional response to the current crisis trickles down into the constituants, as they listen to their congressmen gripe about how he or she COULD have progressed further in this past session, but it was Congressman so-and-so who thwarted his/her proposal. At this point not only in Congress divided, but all citizens of America start pointing fingers at their political enemies.

Certainly at a time of great economic crisis, such antagonism is more than detrimental. The problem to fixing the economy starts in Washington. But when Washington is broken, there's little to be optimistic about.


Brayden said...

Darcy, you bring up very many valid points. I love it how you were able to describe our country’s situation in a very calm tone. I do agree that we are at a stalemate. I hate to criticize the past, but President Obama did have two years to get something done when the House and the Senate were both Democratic. So perhaps using time efficiently might get us out of this rut, no matter who the President is.

Alex D. said...

Darcy, this is extremely coherent and you state your ideas impeccably. I truly agree on many of the points you made. The President put on a fantastic act during his State of the Union speech, reinstalling hope within the American public… at least for those who bought it last time… and the time before… and et cetera. His goals for the upcoming year echoes previously established ones: it’s the same old song and dance. Still, hope is a powerful thing. Some may roll their eyes at this point, but optimism and a sense of patriotism has this remarkable power to drive a country to accomplish something.

I saw a poll recently on MSNBC (unfortunately, cannot find link) that showed how almost 60% of voters would eradicate any trace of the current legislative representatives and elect an entirely new House and Senate. Use that knowledge anyway you wish, but I think it shows how the American public understands that it’s not essentially a single party’s “fault” that we are in such a “rut,” as Brayden said, but rather the political corruption, selfishness, and stubbornness of those we elected to represent our desires. It is upsetting, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say we have a “Do-nothing-congress.”

Brayden raised a point questioning the actions Obama took while Democrats held control of the house from 2008-2010, and was rather critical of how our President failed to utilize the time to reap the most benefits: while he did pass the National Healthcare bill, which was as difficult and time consuming as moving a mountain, he also passed the Stimulus Bill. Still, I’m critical of why he did not use such precious time to establish a new budget before the whole debacle of 2011 that lowered our country’s credit rating. When Bush held the Presidency, I too was highly captious of his failures and inability to accomplish what I felt needed to be accomplished. I empathize with how you feel about the Obama Administration, and it took me some years to mature and understand the difficulty of anything to be accomplished when personal politics are thrown into the equation. Hopefully you cannot argue that the state of our union, and economy, is improving. Praise the President, the industries, or just the natural ebb and flow of the economic systems and markets that can build and crash on a whim. He has not been utterly useless, though I have witnessed him pass some atrocious legislation such as NDAA, and some more promising bills. His speech, citing the many improvements our country has undergone in recent years, was exactly what the voting public wanted: it shows growth, success, and potential.

Once the GOP has elected their candidate, I think we will see unrivaled cooperation within the House and Senate. The candidates are currently striving to be the most conservative, the more ideologically “right.” Once the campaign is between two different political parties, the GOP candidate (Romney, I can guarantee), will have to show themselves to be more moderate in their values to garner the support they need to win. As a result, the legislative branch will also strive to be more towards the middle on the political spectrum, allowing for more bills to pass more quickly in upcoming months. I truly hope unity and compromise is in Congress’ future, otherwise this “rut” will become an immense trench.