The Dow Jones dropped 634 points yesterday as investors responded to the S&P downgrade of the country’s credit rating. The President took to the podium in an effort to calm fears and stem the bleeding.
He should not have bothered.
At a time when the country is looking for assurance and leadership the President said…nothing.
The President appeared flat and resigned as he offered the same political sound bites that we have heard numerous times before.
“We need a balanced approach.” “We need shared sacrifice.” “We are still a AAA country.” “This is the United States of America.”
Referring to his plan for economic recovery the President said: “I’ll be rolling out the details of my plan over the next several weeks.”
Mr. President, with all due respect, if you don’t have anything to say then don’t say anything. We understand that it is easy for us to sit on the sidelines and criticize. And we understand that there is only so much that you can do to fix the nation’s problems. But there are certain things that you CAN do.
So in an effort to help you out; we offer the following advice.
Mr. President, you have at your disposal the most powerful political weapon in the world…the power of the bully pulpit of the President of the United States. You need to use it. You need to use it to put forth your own SPECIFIC plan for correcting the terrible course that we have taken. We want YOUR ideas…not some weak political compromise that does nothing to solve our problems. We want YOUR views. After all that is why we elected YOU.
Everybody else has offered a plan. Paul Ryan, Simpson-Bowles, Gang of Six, Biden Plan; everybody has a plan. Everybody has offered a plan but the guy that matters…you. And you want to “roll it out over the next several weeks"? What in the hell have you been doing over the past several months? People are losing trillions of dollars from their savings and 401k and you are going to bless us with your ideas “over the next several weeks"? C’mon man!
You know what you want to say…just say it. For once in your life put the compromiser-in-chief aside and act like the commander-in-chief. Tell us what you think. To hell with politics; put the country first. We know that you believe that legislation should bubble up through the Congress. But in case you have not noticed there is nothing bubbling up on the hill accept animosity towards you. Congress is being held hostage by a small group of freshman back benchers who hate your guts and want nothing more than to see you destroyed. Every time you seek compromise they see weakness. Trying to compromise with these folks has gotten you into this mess…so stop. Remember, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
You can start by calling Boehner and Reid and telling them to call Congress back to Washington. Tell them that you intend to address a joint session next week. Call them out! Dare them not to show up. If they don’t show then you and the media will bury them. For the Congress of the United States to be in recess at a time like this is unconscionable. You know it, they know it…and the people know it. Get them back to DC!
When you address Congress lay out the SPECIFICS of what you want to do: 1.) increase revenues by removing tax loopholes and end the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000. 2.) Increase the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare to age 70. 3.) Implement means testing and stop inflationary increases for five years. 4.) Cut Medicaid as recommended in Simpson-Bowles.5.) Cut defense spending as recommended under the current debt ceiling “trigger". 6.) Implement a $600 billion jobs bill that is specifically directed toward repairing our infrastructure, developing light rail and broadband technology. Explain how your plan will stabilize our economy, address our long term debt and put our country back to work.
And then tell Congress that you will veto ANY bill that comes to your desk that fails to include all of the above.
Mr. President, you have tried the road to compromise. You have given your opposition nearly everything they demanded. It is time to step up. The days of whining about all that you inherited from the Bush years are over. You have had three years to address the issues and put your plans into place. This is on you Mr. President.
We know that Congress may not give you what you want. We know that you can only do so much.
The least you could do is try.