I am sure everyone will want to add their 2 cents into the SCOTUS decision today, my take on it will probably be a bit different than others. First, I think this is a great victory for President Obama; lest we not forget one of the reasons behind this bill was to insure all Americans. Healthcare shouldn’t be a privilege it should be a right, especially in these sever economic times. The American people should thank President Obama for trying to offer affordable health care to our Country. Having the Supremes uphold the individual mandate and almost the entire law is a victory for us all, and a defeat for people who disagree.
If I were advising Obama I would tell him to call the Leaders of the House and Senate, majority and minority, to the White House immediately to work on ways to improve the bill. Now is Obama’s chance to publicly reach out to the Republicans, hear their ideas and try to make this bill as good as it can be. Obama would be taking the high road as well as hearing some Republican ideas which are good. It would also show the GOP as being obstructionists if they don’t come to the table. The point is to make the best plan for the American people; not score political points.
Since this is unlikely to happen I’d say to Obama to get himself and his people out there ASAP explaining this bill, they need to say more than the 2 talking points they are using. Explain it more, whats in it for me, whats in it for others. They need to be out there saying why this is a victory for the American people. We don’t know enough about it yet to say why it is, at least I don’t. But, again, I would advise Obama today to reach out and ask for bipartisan support. Romney wouldn’t know what hit him, it would be a knockout punch for Romney. Instead I am sure this will define the campaign and there will just be bickering back and forth about the bill. Which is unacceptable for the public.
On a cynical note, the 5/4 decision with Roberts being the swing vote is a bit suspicious to me. I think his vote was more about his legacy than what he politically wanted to do. If they had shot down this bill the court would have forever damaged itself as a partisan right wing vehicle; Roberts would have gone down in history as the Chief Justice of a corrupt court. I am sure that had something to do with his vote. Today is a good day for America!
1. I have read a few articles recently and thought I’d pass on what I have learned. The article talked about how criminals can try to steal your identity via social media; they advised to make sure you don’t have too much information out there. Specifically not your exact birthdate, leave the year off; if you have your place of birth and hometown on Facebook you might want to reconsider that, maybe just have one not the other. They also cautioned against tweeting or posting when you are leaving your house, or going on vacation since this could alert people that no one will be at your house and someone could steal from it. You can’t hide everything but just don’t give out too much info.
2. Why is everyone talking about Condi with such praise? She was the National Security Advisor to President Bush, read the memo ‘bin Laden wanting to attack inside the U.S.’ and didn’t act on that information. Yes, it was a pre 9/11 mind set but security could have been beefed up, we could have been on higher alert; instead they viewed the memo as having no new information. I will never forget when she testified before Congress and they had to ask her many times over the name of that memo before she finally stated it. This memo, or I should say National Security Briefing, was August 6, 2001. Almost exactly one month to the date that we were attacked. To me Condi was a huge disappointment, she was over powered by Rumsfeld and Cheney on so many issues that she was basically completely neutered. Also, as Secretary of State I didn’t see her doing anything about Iraq, Afghanistan or making any kind of progress whatsoever. Everyone now blames Obama for the Iranian nuclear situation, everyone forgets that the Bush administration didn’t do much of anything for 8 years.
3. The Romney posh weekend retreat for donors that gave $50,000, couples that gave $75,000 and people who raised over $250,000 were all invited. Was this an effort to buy the President before he tries to win? This is really the epitome of ‘only the rich need apply’ kind of situation. Karl Rove was there even though he heads up a SuperPAC that doesn’t allow direct contact between the PAC and the candidate. This whole weekend to me is all about Romney and being bought by wealthy people. This is supposed to be a democracy.
4. Healthcare, this week the Supreme Court will decide the constitutionality of the “ObamaCare Bill.” If its struck down the GOP has no suggestions, solution, no plan. So we go back to the way it had been? The Obama plan is very similar to what Richard Nixon and the GOP of 1993 proposed. Instead of the GOP spending all of their time fighting to abolish the bill they would have been better off thinking of ways to improve it. As I have said I don’t think anyone knows whats really in the bill; but it has been criticized for not having enough cost savings in it. Ok, maybe not, so add some. Use whats there as a frame work and build from there. How about putting the American people before political gain?
Where are the Reagan Republicans? What happened to his philosophies of getting things done, compromising, raising taxes, having people pay their fair share and most importantly not demonizing his opponents but sitting down and working out solutions. Wasn’t it Reagan who said; if we can agree on 80% we can get things done? I think Reagan would be horrified if he saw what has happened to his party. They use his name like he is some sort of a saint, but they don’t follow his examples. He worked with the Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, they accomplished a tremendous amount of good for this Country. From securing Social Security for another generation, to creating 16m jobs. I believe Reagan wanted the best for this Country; I believe today’s Republican’s are on the verge of treason by their stonewalling and blocking everything Obama wants to do to improve the economy, just for their own political gain. To me thats despicable and should be better known to the public. Everyone blames Obama for the economic situation, but all of his efforts have been blocked; the GOP should take the blame that is there’s. Reagan never would have approved of this.
For most of my life I have considered myself an Independent with Democratic leanings. But what has happened over the last decade has been breathtaking. I have received many hateful comments on twitter, which I completely don’t understand. If you don’t agree with what I am saying, tell me why and have a reason. A thought out well researched reason, not ‘Obama has ruined the economy.’ I enjoy hearing intelligent points of view that differ from mine. I don’t claim to be right all the time. But the hostile diatribes people go on are really pathetic.
Anyway, its my belief that if Reagan was alive and well he would be ashamed of what has happened to his party.
I have heard some, mostly GOP, suggest that as we revise our entitlement spending, to lower the Country’s debt, that ‘means testing’ should be instituted for Social Security and Medicare. My question is, how would that work? If you have amassed a certain amount of money you won’t be eligible for these entitlements? What amount would that be, $1m, $5m. $100 m? This sounds good on the surface, but if you look into deeper I think its a completely flawed way of cutting spending. First off, when exactly would you do this means testing, at retirement age? So by the time I get to retirement age I am assuming any kind of benefits would be starting at age 70. So, if at 70 years old I have saved $1m I could be ineligible for Social Security and Medicare. Say next year the market takes a dive and my worth is now $600,000 would I then be able to collect the benefits, or will I have already been stated as too rich. In my generation, I am 48, people don’t have pensions to rely on they just have what they have saved so those Social Security checks might be crucial, especially since I read recently that 80% of the households in the US don’t have $10,000 in savings. Another point about means testing is that wealthy people know how to create trusts, hide their money and make it look like they have far less than they actually do. So, means testing doesn’t work for me. Instead our tax system should be overhauled, get rid of almost every deduction; except the mortgage deduction (on first homes only) and charity. Tax rates could be lowered but they must be done in the tiered way they always have been, the more you earn the more you pay. Period. Once the economy is on better footing I believe everyones taxes should go up; except the possibility of households earning under $50,000. The purpose of changing the tax code would be two fold, one, to bring in more revenue to pay down the debt; secondly to simplify it.
Lets start at the beginning, does anyone know what GOP stands for? I used to work for a global newspaper that stopped using the term since so few people knew what it meant. It stands for Grand Old Party; thats a name from way back. Lets go back to fall of 2008 when everything was collapsing; Lehman Bros, Bear Stearns. Merrill Lynch disappeared over a weekend, when it became a unit of Bank of America. George W. Bush authorized TAARP to bail out the other banks so our entire financial industry would not completely collapse. He also bailed out the auto sector. At the time we thought the economy was shrinking at 6%, which was a staggering figure. We didn’t learn until later that the economy was shrinking at an astonishing 9%. The monthly Jobs Report showed a loss of 839,000 jobs in January 2009 when Barack Obama was sworn in as President. He and his team were working immediately to think of ways to heal the economy; if you remember between the election and inauguration it seemed like he was already POTUS. But he wasn’t. Its important to note that economic activity is something that gets stated, then revised many times. The initial report can be as much as 30% incorrect; hence what we thought was a 6% drop in GDP was really a 9% drop. Before Obama was President his team did some internal economic analysis based on the 6% GDP figure and they calculated that a stimulus would keep the unemployment rate under 8%. This was not something they promised the country it was an internal memo. GOP lying point #1 says Obama promised the stimulus would keep unemployment lower than 8%. That is an out and out lie, not even a distortion.
What was the GOP doing at this time? Planning their return to power. The first time Obama presented his stimulus package the GOP held a press conference saying they were against the plan, before Obama even showed it to them. This was the start of the obstructionism from the GOP that has kept our economy in a Depression, for 5 years now. GOP lying point #2: The Dems had a super majority in Congress. They did not. If you will recall many ‘Blue Dog’ Democrats were new to Congress and they were pretty much as conservative as the Republicans, so at no point did Obama have a Congress with a super majority. Also this is the time Teddy Kennedy was dying which made them lose the so called super majority. The stimulus of about $800B was approved by Congress; with about 1/3 being tax cuts and 2/3 being spending. Most economists will tell you that amount was too small to make a dent in the economy. We have a $15 Trillion economy, adding $800B wasn’t ever going to do all that much for all that long. But that was the most Obama could get so thats what he worked with. GOP lying point #3: The stimulus was a failure and created no new jobs. The non partisan CBO, Congressional Budget Office, estimates that without that stimulus unemployment would have hit 15% or higher; and also that the stimulus was directly responsible for creating 4.2m new jobs. So, in fact, the stimulus was extremely helpful, but the GOP will have you believe Obama wasted all that money when that is another out and out lie.
Each and every bill, idea, program Obama wanted to created the GOP blocked; their goal was to return to power not to help the American public. This is outrageous behavior from our elected officials. The health care bill Obama came up with, which was basically the plan the GOP created in 1993 to kill ‘HillaryCare’ they completely rejected it. They were yelling and screaming about how an individual mandate was unconstitutional; when a few years earlier they were saying that everyone should pay their own way. The entire health care bill was a complete debacle; no one really knows whats in it besides the 2 or 3 talking points from POTUS so the GOP is taking the ball and running with it painting it to be the most evil thing that Government has ever done. Currently there is a jobs bill in Congress that the GOP is also blocking. The CBO estimates that this bill would create 1 – 3 m new jobs. But the GOP doesn’t care about that, they want to return to power.
In 2010 when all of the Tea Party zealots were elected they were even more destructive to our economy and country. They turned the word ‘compromise’ into an unacceptable action. They believed the lies of the GOP that Obama was spending too much and the country wasn’t gaining anything from it. The debt of this country is a problem and needs to be addressed. Fixing the economy is a much bigger issue, the economy has to be on stronger footing before you can think about debt reduction. In other words you need to spend now and come up with a long term plan to reduce the debt. But the Tea Party in the House rejected a $4T savings plan because $1T of that was in new taxes. Even worse was the fiasco the Tea Party and GOP made with the raising the debt ceiling, they were completely responsible for the country’s credit rating to be lowered in the first time in out history. One of the reasons we were down graded was because of the dysfunction of the US Congress i.e. the GOP. GOP lying point #4 Obama has made the economy worse: when in fact the GOP is completely responsible for the state of the economy by blocking each and every measure to make the economy better, its 100% on their shoulders.
The fact that President Obama can’t fight back, have an articulate message about his accomplishments, explain health care is astonishing. He is letting the GOP walk all over him. The GOP is taking the economy down, and America with it, and Obama can’t get his message out. As I have mentioned on this blog many times, Obama needs a new staff for messaging, PR, everything. Mitt Romney, an empty suit with no conviction has an excellent chance of winning this election. Why hasn’t Obama had Oval Office addresses, talking about the economy, talking about how much better he is doing in the war on terror, why isn’t he a fixture in our lives and living rooms? He should have been doing this from day one. Killing bin Laden and having a 2 minute statement at 11PM? W. would have had a media black out, all TV channels carrying an Oval Office address. Its infuriating to watch, since Obama is so clearly a better president that Romney ever would be.
A few other facts: Ronald Reagan believed in compromise, raised taxes 17 times, and worked with Democrats; Barbara Bush recently stated that ‘compromise is not a dirty word’ her words are directed at the Tea Party. The Tea Party is correct about lowering long term debt, but they don’t understand how to do it. Austerity in the EU has pushed them back into a double dip recession. The tax code should be redone, the more you make the higher your bracket should be. If anyone reading this knows Barack or Michele please have them contact me, what they are doing isn’t working.
As a job seeker I often wonder about the way people get hired and how ineffective it really is. Basically there are 3 main ways people find jobs: 1. digitally, job board or social media 2. executive recruiters 3. networking (or connections). Is this really the best way for companies to find the best talent and for job seekers to find a job they will prosper in? I don’t think so. There are so many ways things can go wrong that the current way we are doing things I find ineffective. Take for example job boards, companies are inundated with resumes so they use software to filter out people who they don’t think are a good match. This software is often times erroneous and leaves they best talent in a dark hole somewhere. I have heard 3% of people get hired from job board postings, thats not a good use of anyones time. Executive recruiters are another way people find jobs; now some of them are excellent at what they do and help both candidates and companies. I have found for the most part the rest of them act more like hustlers. The first thing they want to do is meet in person, like they have a quota or something; next they tell you what jobs they have and if you are a perfect fit you never hear from them again. I had one e/r ask me to fill out a 25 page form before going on an interview. Needless to say, I haven’t had great experiences with them. Networking is all the buzz, thats the way everyone says you find a job. Talk to people, ask them if they know anyone. This also isn’t a particularly effective way of getting a job since sometimes you can talk to everyone in your network and still get no where.
So, you are left with candidates; some of them longterm unemployed and desperate, spinning their wheels trying to find a job, any job. You have companies also spinning their wheels trying to go through the enormous influx of resumes. All of this wasted time and little gets accomplished. Many hires don’t end up being a good fit and leave their companies shortly after being hired. Many people who aren’t good fits become dead weight and companies aren’t able to get rid of them. All of this sounds like a mess, sometimes big enough to bring a company down.
What to do about this? I would like to change it all. From the way candidates apply for jobs; to the way recruiters treat candidates; to create a method to judge if longterm employees are still a good fit. At my last job one of the VPs who was in charge of our group was so negative she brought the entire staff down and killed morale. Sometimes its the VPs who are blaming the underlings for their actual failings. When you work at a sales job and company politics are more important than revenue generation you know you have a big problem.
I will be rolling out my fix for a cradle to grave approach to help both companies, employees, and job seekers. This plan will take a different approach to everything, I want to revolutionize the way we do things, because I don’t see that they are working well now. This will be a win/win happier employees are more productive, do better work which is what companies want. Stay tuned, if you have any ideas feel free to share. And this will require lots of VC financing.
I am not a sports fan so I don’t know what Fantasy Football or any of the other Fantasy Sports games are all about but I want to talk about Fantasy Politics, i.e. if politicians correctly did their jobs. Before I start I just have to comment on the situation around the world, Greece, Spain, the Euro Zone, Syria, Russia, Egypt – it seems like we are on some kind of precipice where they world is raving out of control both financially and human rights wise. Its scary to look at whats going on; I keep tweeting about WWIII but is that where this is headed? Anyway back to the politics of the United States. First, and I have said this before, I don’t think our country is all that divided. I think most people want the same things for themselves, their families and their freedom. At the core I believe that 80% of the American public wants 80% of the same things.
If this is true why are politicians at each others throats, the media screaming about the worst divide in American history and groups like the Tea Party screaming bloody murder. Well, 2 reasons for that: 1. The self centered greed of our elected officials – they have to make a big deal about how different (and better) they are from their opponent otherwise how would they get elected or reelected. The second is the media; they tend to be lazy and go for the topic of the day and both sides blow the smallest of things out of proportion. I think the public hears these vicious attacks from campaigns, then its reinforced by the media, and before you know it you have 2 sides hating each other and refusing to work together. My assessment is a bit different; I would like a news outlet to impartially go over all of the issues we are face with today. No spin, just the issues. I think you would find that same 80% of the people wanting the same things. Healthcare is a good example; the Republicans have demonized Obama’s plan to the point of no return; Obama and his team never talk about it. So how is the public to know whats in it, to make a decision if they like or don’t like it. I would have this news outlet go over all of the options individually to see what people want. Buying across state lines? Sounds good to me. Preexisting conditions? Sounds good. I surely think a group of grownups, who have their own healthcare paid for, should be able to come up with a plan that takes the best of what both sides want and deals with cost savings and lets every American be able to afford healthcare. In other words, stop playing politics and fix the issue; people are dying and suffering as politicians do nothing.
So the point is everyone wants some kind of healthcare; we needs grown up professionals to come up with a plan. Now the debt is a big issue that people talk about. The debt definitely needs to be addressed and again have grown up professionals come up with a plan. Most economists agree that the economy has to be on stronger footing before any debt reduction can take place and that right now more stimulus is needed to get the sluggish economy moving again. Once the economy picks up, immediately more revenue comes in to the government and thats the time the debt reduction should kick in. But make the plan now, exactly what we will do. This really should be coming from Obama and his not doing this makes him look like less of a leader.
I am reading a book now called The Presidents Club; its an interesting book that goes into detail about how presidents contact their predecessors for advice. Ike made an edict to the Republican party to not use any foreign policy against President Johnson; that the United States should stand united behind the president on all foreign affairs, wars, diplomacy. Whats happened to that attitude. The campaigns are out of control; I would suggest sweeping changes of everyone being in constant election mode; because whats happening in the end is politicians are looking at short-term solutions rather than trying to plan the next 50 years. I’d also get rid of the electoral college; I’d have the Senate filled with representatives proportionately; bigger states should have more reps. I’d think about having the presidential term 6 years so presidents can get more done; I’d make the house 4 years not 2.
One last ‘fantasy’ is to have everyone vote; everyone. I’d like to accomplish this through technology. I’d like for their to be a way that people can vote on their iPhones, Androids, computers, computers in public libraries. If every single American voted we might see very different results. We need to make it easier for people to vote, not harder. Someone should have a vision for out country in 2050, 2075. That is not being done, not at all!