It was a very nice summer for the stock market and investors were unresponsive to the global economic slowdown. In the past 2 weeks, the European Central Bank announced its bond-buying program , the German Court approved the permanent bail out mechanism, the Dutch voters rejected anti European Leaders and the FED announced QE3. Stocks rallied last week to a 2% gain, reaching levels not seen since 2007. On September 19th the Bank of Japan announced more asset purchases.
In the USA, the upcoming elections are becoming much more entertaining than the stock market. The last polls are showing that Obama has a narrow lead against Romney and is winning in 3 very important states (Florida, Ohio and Virginia).
Election Day is coming and many Independents are still undecided and what is worse, there are many Democrats who don’t know what to do. There are young voters who don’t want to vote, amongst them, my son. I thought I should make the case on why he should vote for Obama, and share it with all of you.
I will start by trying to respond to a question Paul Ryan asked in his speech. Are you better off today than at the beginning of the Obama presidency? Of course the Republicans want the answer to be no, but I don’t see how someone can truly answer no to that question.
I, for one, have no doubt I am better off but that is not about me. As I am better off, I am aware that a lot of people are still struggling. There are still millions of Americans who cannot find a job; there are many people whose homes are underwater. There are students who cannot pay their student loans and so on and so forth. So, although the Republicans ask if YOU are better off – and that can lead to a multitude of answers, depending on your particular situation- the question should be if the country is better off. I think it is: four years ago we were trapped in two unfunded wars ( sponsored by the Republicans) ; Americans were dying in Iraq; Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda were a very real threat; households and business were buried in debt, the auto industry and the bank industry were about to collapse and everybody was afraid of the future. Under this presidency, Al Qaeda was dismantled, Osama bin Laden was killed, the auto industry is doing well and so are the banks (even if I do not agree with the rescue and bail outs, that is a fact and it is undisputable). America was isolated and hated around the world. Not anymore, and not considering the tragic episodes provoked by the abominable movie last week.
So, the country is better off. It is interesting to note that everything that was accomplished under President Obama was accomplished without the Republicans support, including:
- Lilly Ledbetter fair pay act
- The stimulus
- The health reform
- The wall street reform
- Repealing don’t ask don’t tell
- Legalization of the underage immigrants
One of the arguments that has been used by Republicans and accepted in silence by Democrats is that Obama is not a leader, does not reach out, doesn’t compromise and so on and so forth. My answer to that is the following: how can you work with politicians whose only goal is to make your administration fail? How can you lead politicians who doubt your citizenship, your patriotism and who bluntly lie about your proposals (as Paul Ryan did recently in the case of welfare)? Republicans don’t want to compromise. They don’t want the economy to get better. Republicans decided not to collaborate with president Obama on the very day he was taking the oath. That day, Republican minority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell said: “Our goal is to make President Obama a one term president”. Wow! Their goal was not to make things better for Americans, work together to create jobs, reduce the national debt. Their goal was to destroy the administration. There are several examples of Republican unpatriotic acts and will not get in to it now. Republicans mantra is “the worst, the better”.
Republicans argue that the stimulus didn’t work and for those interested in knowing better, I recommend reading The New New Deal by Michael Grunwald. People just repeat things out of ignorance and that is very upsetting. For instance, as reported by the New York Times last Sunday, very few New Yorkers know that the stimulus is helping pay for the Second Avenue subway and the project linking the LIRR to Grand Central.
Republicans love to call for fiscal responsibility. I am all in favor of fiscal responsibility. However, Ryan is not the guy to defend that; he is the guy who voted for two unfunded wars and at the same time voted for tax cuts. As he was voting for more expenses, he was cutting income. Is this fiscally responsible? I don’t think so. Unfortunately, most of the things that Republicans accused president Obama of were caused by them, as the debt ceiling discussion exhaustedly showed.
Lastly, it is real sad that tax cuts are the main appeal for people to vote for Romney. It is sad to see intelligent, educated people willing to vote for a candidate just because he will cut their taxes. I will get back to that theme soon in another newsletter.
Although I think to cast a vote for Obama is the right thing to do, I am also skeptical of his ability to succeed in the second term if the Republicans continue to hold a majority in the House and win the Senate. It will be four more years of gridlock, which is not a good prospect.