Up until the last couple of days, I was sure that the economy and its sad, sad shape occupied the top spot on Barack Obama’s worry list as President-elect. That pesky Illinois Governor seems to have knocked Obama off-message and off-stride, but I’m hoping he’ll get his attention back to where it needs to be for the millions who voted for him — and for the ones who didn’t vote for him, as well.
President-elect Obama has his financial gurus all lined up, but plenty of people have been skeptical that they’ll approach things any differently than the current group has for the last eight years. Giving Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner major roles isn’t exactly instilling the most confidence for those who are hoping for a new economic agenda because it gives the appearance of more of the same. Kady at The Wonkess has a few suggestions for other economic types she thinks the President-elect ought to be listening to. How can it be a bad thing to throw some additional talented and experienced voices into the mix when we’re facing something no one has ever had to deal with in our lifetimes?
At this stage of the game, though, with the auto bailout plan in collapse and a Congress that can’t seem to make up its mind about how to keep hard-earned savings safe from further decline, it may be time for Barack Obama to come up with an even bolder plan, but one that doesn’t neglect the day-to-day issues.
I believe that Obama will do his best to turn this country around. But that’s going to take time — time that a lot of families don’t have. So what are the rest of us going to do in the meantime?
One thing is clear — it’s time to take more control over our finances to the extent that we can. i am bossy has taken the lead by starting her own daily Poverty Party blog to show us the way to dig out of the mess that, on some level, we have created for ourselves:
You see: Bossy and her family are broke and in debt. Many times in the past Bossy has grown serious about limiting her purchases to cash, and keeping a running record of transaction amounts throughout the day, and other tricks learned on Oprah. But that dedication only lasts a few weeks before Bossy caves-in to convenience. And boots.
But every indication suggests that right now is the time to truly reign-in spending and whittle down debt, where indication equals the breadline Bossy is standing in due to the collapsed economy.
BlogHer Contributing Editor Suzanne Reisman is excited about Obama’s plans to focus on our nation’s infrastructure and his desire to create new jobs. But she’s also worried that, as good as his plan might be, it leaves women wage earners out in the cold:
For all my excitement about investing in infrastructure (which I still think is vital), I hadn’t really considered what that meant in terms of creating a gender disparity in the new jobs. Then … I had lunch with some awesome women from the American Association of University Women, and they kindly (but firmly) plucked me off of Construction Cloud 9 with two facts: 1. Female headed households saw a stiffer decrease in income than those headed by men; and 2. Women make up less than 3% of the construction workforce. Oh. Shit.
I think it’s safe to say that Obama and his economic team have the big picture in their sights, but according to Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation, Obama may have to entirely rethink his current economic plan from the one he presented in the campaign and take even bolder steps to keep things running, especially in a time when, she notes, that 37 million Americans live below the poverty level:
What’s even more ominous about the current recession as compared to those of the past, the [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities] report warns, is the truly depleted state of the safety net: “Because this recession is likely to be deep and the government safety net for very poor families who lack jobs has weakened significantly in recent years, increases in deep poverty in this recession are likely to be severe.”
Protecting home ownership? I’m keeping my fingers crossed on that one.
Tax cuts for working families? Not likely now.
Work/family balance with increased paid leave? I’d be surprised if that gets attention anytime in the near future.
Catching up on his campaign sleep deprivation before January 20? Not likely as Obama is going to have to be willing to approach our economy’s failing health with the financial equivalents of tourniquets and transfusions.