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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Obama's Economy Now

George Wenschhof

Barack Obama moved with lightening fast speed to propose and have Congress pass the nearly 800 Billion Stimulus bill. The actual name of the bill is the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. This followed closely after the passage of the 700 Billion Bailout bill approved at the end of the George W. Bush administration. That bill was entitled the Troubled Assets and Relief Plan (TARP).

Both were needed, according to bipartisan economic experts, or a financial meltdown of a magnitude never seen would follow. I will never forget the ash-white faces of the Senators standing behind then Secretary Henry Paulson when they announced the financial sector bailout bill following a private meeting. It was obvious they had been given the doomsday scenario if something was not done immediately.

Congress took the bait and approved the bailout bill in record time even though the details submitted by Treasury Secretary Paulson was less than three pages justifying the 700 Billion requested.

Many of the foremost economists knew the bailout bill would not be enough and Barack Obama, as the newly elected President listened. Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve guru and by happenstance, a scholar of the "American Great Depression", was one of many who urged action to put money into the economy. Thus, the creation of the 800 Billion Stimulus bill.

As President Obama would give his speeches on any subject including touting the importance of the Stimulus bill, he often would include the fact he had inherited this economic mess from the former Republican George W. Bush administration.

This statement, was of course, absolutely accurate. When George W. Bush took office, the U.S. national debt was 6.38 Trillion and the U.S. deficit was 159 Billion.

What followed was tax cuts for the rich, further deregulation of the financial markets, and an ill advised and unnecessary war with Iraq.

In eight short years, the Republican George W. Bush administration had increased the U.S. national debt to 10.6 Trillion and the U.S. budget deficit to 455 Billion (not including the 700 billion bailout bill).

Now, as health care reform is being debated in Congress, the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats are questioning the Congressional Budget office estimated cost of one Trillion over the next ten years for health care reform.

The cost of the war in Iraq has been estimated to have been 3 Trillion over the past seven years.

The question I would ask those members in Congress questioning the need for health care reform to help the 47 million uninsured Americans is; "does the cost of a ill advised and unnecessary war in Iraq outweigh providing adequate health care for all Americans?".

Is it Obama's economy now? The answer is yes it is and it is economy we as Americans must now deal with as we move forward.

It is hypocritical for Republicans to now question the proposed spending by the Obama administration. A Stimulus plan and health care for Americans versus eight years of unregulated corporate greed and a misguided foreign policy that put the U.S. on a precipice should be an easy choice for members of Congress.

It's time to pass health care reform now.


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