A consistent talking point that the right has is that President Obama does not have a plan or vision for the next four years. Gov. Mitt Romney repeats this talking point because he is their mouthpiece. Some progressive talking heads are acting like echo chambers for the right on this false premise.
They have been saying that the President needs to articulate his plans for the next administration in response to the talking point. Well, I think the President has been articulating his plan for the last three years; he just can’t implement it because he has a Republican Congress that has been from day one intent on defeating him.
They have refused to act on his initiatives so they can say he has no plans. They have proven through the manufactured “Debt Ceiling” crisis that they are willing to sink the ship to drown the Captain. Those outside Congress see nothing happening and blame the President for not moving us out of this economic malaise sooner than the natural economic forces will naturally move us.
The President however, does have a real 5-Point Plan for growing our economy:
- Infrastructure spending including retrofitting old facilities and building new energy efficient ones
- Federal support of research and development in science and the technologies that lead to new products and industries that promise job creation in the U.S. and exports abroad
- Reducing oil imports and our trade deficit by increasing auto fuel standards, developing alternative fuels and vehicle power systems, developing our domestic natural gas reserves, and exploiting renewable energy supplies
- Improving the quality of our K- 12 public education system by raising educational standards nationwide and funding an additional 100,000 new math and science teachers and
- Expanding the utility of Community College Systems in preparing and retraining workers while lowering the cost and increasing the accessibility of higher education.
One billion dollars in construction spending would create over 24,000 jobs for one year. The President’s jobs bill is dead in the water in Congress. Federal support of infrastructure projects from street and road construction and reconstruction in our major cities-power systems, water systems and sanitation system expansion and upgrades; bridges and dam replacements, upgrades and repairs; highway expansion and reconstruction; public building and park additions, upgrades and retrofitting; airport and harbor facility expansions, upgrades and repairs, and public transportation system expansions-are desperately needed across the nation.
According to a 2004 Infrastructure Report, there is more than a $1 billion annual funding short fall for these kinds of projects in the City of Los Angeles alone, and there is a ten year backlog of this work.
The President has been asking Congress to work with him on these other issues since he has had staff in place to develop proposals. They have refused. These initiatives promise to lay the groundwork for a sustainable and productive future. They can be paid for by the war dividend and reduced military spending, internal budget savings and reallocations from existing programs and tax reforms that increase revenues by taxing all income more equitably.
As Ronald Reagan used to say, the answers to these problems are not vexing and hard to determine. Getting people to accept change is the hard part.