by Bebe Santa-Wood, Political Columnist
I spent twenty minutes sitting here thinking about how I could effectively make a pun about Obama, the economy, jobs and slang terms for oral sex. But I gave up, because I am a class act and Round Table readers and I wouldn’t stoop to that level.
So where was I? Yes, the economy. The Obama camp widely promoted the January job reports that over 240,000 news jobs were created and unemployment fell from 8.5. to 8.3 percent. With these hard-won gains, Obama took the opportunity to push his economic policy in congress in a big way.
Though improvement in the economy is heartening (as someone who will be graduating this spring, you’ll see me at your local Starbucks soon. I’m gonna be the bestest, most liberal-arts-in-practice barista ever!!!), Obama’s toughened stance with Congress seems too little, too late. At every turn the last two years, Obama has repeatedly caved on issues of taxing and spending, against the very vocal minority of recent-tea party elects in Congress.
Tea-partiers’ approach to economics reminds me a lot of what would happen if I only taught a parrot to speak using Ayn Rand quotes. Their hands-off, “get the government out of my medicare,” please-don’t-feed-poor people approach to the recession has done little to actually get us out of it. I’m not sure when/why Obama decided to cater to a congressional contingent that has little to no knowledge of how economics actually works. Sometimes, actually, a lot of times, it is necessary for the government to spend money. I mean, that’s kind of half the point to having one, right? To run stuff, and do thingies. Spending is not a partisan issue, spending is a necessary reality of maintaining a healthy modern economy. Just ask the numerous Republican Presidents who’ve enacted spending measures.
However, Obama has been so long and so cautious in stressing real changes to address the economy, one has to wonder if his new firm stance on proposals like extending payroll tax cut and long-term unemployment insurance will pass. For too long Congress has had the pleasure of being treated like a spoiled two year old. For every ridiculous demand made, Obama has actually tried to negotiate and humor those demands. Compromise is important, but in an economy where many people are currently (and have been) suffering, this isn’t the time for debate. It’s a time for firm, active, real decisions that positively affect all Americans now. I just hope Obama doesn’t blow jobs work.