EXCESSIVE government spending did not cause the recession. It was caused by excessive deregulation of the financial industry that led to the creation of exotic financial instruments that no one understood, the housing crisis, the creation of so-called toxic assets and so forth. If the government cut spending now and implemented the Hoover model, the recession would evolve into a catastrophic depression. The government must spend money like crazy because no one else is spending any, give the economy a boost and, eventually, help get us out of this hole. At the same time, new and tough government regulations must be put in place so that the private sector never again drags us in to such a mess.
EIGHTY-ONE percent of Americans believe that we should reach out to the Muslim world. President Obama is reflecting this by speaking over TV to the Muslim world and visiting our ally, the Muslim country of Turkey. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for ignoring the voices of divisiveness and right-wing demagoguery by making an effort to build a better relationship and not succumbing to the practice of stereotyping Muslims so as to stir up trouble for cynical partisan political gain.
FOR all those complaining about the high taxes and inflation that will result because of President Obama's stimulus package: Don't worry. Have you forgotten that he is going to have all the rich people pay the majority of the taxes? It'll be OK.
COMMENTS about President Obama's popularity miss the point. His personal rating remains high, but his policy ideas are taking a beating. That's both good and bad for him. But make no mistake, his numbers are no better than George W. Bush's were at this point, well before 9-11 in his presidency. Pointing to high popularity numbers is a coward's way of deflecting from the key issues that Obama will ultimately be evaluated on: 1. How well he manages through the economic problems. 2. How well he avoids major controversy in national security issues. So far, his national security actions have avoided controversy because he has largely continued Bush policies with only a rhetorical change. This has served him well. But his job in addressing the economic problems is abysmal, and fair-minded observers understand that. Obama doesn't deserve the blame for how the economy teetered last year, but his actions have only worsened the situation. Thankfully, he is a quick study, and he has an opportunity to improve his performance before the next round of elections.
I want to thank the Southeast Missourian for the TBY publication each month. It's always a good read. I particularly liked Steve Bender's story about Neely's Landing and all the uplifting profiles about older people doing exciting or good deeds. Cliff Rudesill's column in the paper said it best last week: We really have a great paper in the Southeast Missourian.
IT amazes me how great everyone feels about taxing smokers. I was bullied into smoking at 9 years of age. In less than two years the price of my $15 carton has doubled. I wonder if drinkers, cell-phone drivers and caffeine addicts would like prices to double. They cause health problems too.
NOT just the economy hit the Missouri State Employees Retirement System. system. The Daily American Republic in Poplar Bluff, Mo., discussed bonuses in the amount of $300,000 being paid to 14 employees of MOSERS. The Southeast Missourian didn't mention the senator serving on the board was the only one disagreeing with political leaders calling for reform in the current bonus policy. Read this direct quote: "Board member Jason Crowell, a Republican state senator from Cape Girardeau, disagreed that the bonus policy needed to be changed. 'The overall fundamental understanding of why we made the decision hasn't changed in a down market or an up market,' Crowell said. 'We judge them by the job they do.'" Wall Street is alive and well in Jefferson City. If AIG has to return bonuses, so should the MOSERS employees. Senator Crowell should be ashamed.
THE storytelling festival was outstanding. Thank you, Convention and Visitors Bureau, for bringing this to Cape Girardeau.
IT'S hard to remember a March and early April that have been so beautiful with all the flowering bulbs, bushes and trees. We need to be thankful for all the good we can find in this world.