Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Obama's "Change" Can Change Quickly

Today's world needs calm US leadership that shows a steady trusted hand. For instance, Russia and China are calling for the demise of the dollar, asking the IMF to create a new currency that will be the Global Standard. When it comes to a steady trusted hand, the Obama administration is letting us down. They are constantly flip flopping from one position to the other, showing that character and principle are not their guiding purpose. When the Bush administration took a stand, whether you agreed with it or not, you could be sure they were willing to ride the tide of public and global opinion to stand for their belief in what was right for America. Let’s look at how quickly our current administration drops its leadership ball:


Nailing the Soldiers: Last week the administration floated a plan to save $500 million a year on the cost of veterans insurance.  The idea was that if a veteran comes back from war wounded, and manages to get a job with private health insurance, that the Veterans Administration would bill the veterans private health insurance for the healthcare related to their war wounds.  Now I ask you, what hiring agent would give a job to a wounded veteran, if they knew it would drive up health insurance costs for the rest of the employees of the company?  Answer: none.  The administration demonstrated that it could not be trusted to think out the disastrous outcome of the plan in advance of scheduling them for review with Congress.  The outrage over this plan by the administration caused an immediate outcry from all angles.  Powerful Democrats in the Congress came out against the plan, questioning the administration's integrity toward veterans.  Showing a lack of principled integrity to his policy plans, the Obama administration came out the next day reversing this widely decried and unethical plan.  To cover the wound, Obama promise to stop the controversial Stop Loss program, effectively stealing credit from Robert Gates, who for six months has been suggesting an end to the program.  Or did someone think that overnight the administration could create their own plan that had been six months in the making?


War with Mexico: this month, the administration abrogated the NAFTA treaty, ignoring the requirements in it by canceling the Mexican Trucking Pilot Program, prompting Mexico to raise tariffs on $2.4 billion of US goods bound for Mexico, one of the four largest importers of American goods. This program showed real revenue savings for American companies who no longer had to pay extra fees at the border for good to be transferred from one truck to another, and allowed the Mexican or American truck to deliver the goods from the shipper to the consignee without interruption. Yo at u can read more about that HERE. Bowing to pressure from the Teamsters Union, the administration moved to hurt the US, make business more expensive for American companies, and broached the integrity of American signatories to the NAFTA treaty, citing safety concerns.  But this was an outright malfeasance that the administration tried to hide, burying it in the $400 billion omnibus spending bill, and making liars of themselves when it comes to being open and accountable.  If there were safety concerns, why not address them through the mediation program set up for NAFTA, that has been openly and accountably negotiated for years?  The truth was there were no safety concerns.  The Mexican truck program shown by the data compiled by the US Department of Transportation that the Mexican trucks coming into the US were safer, less likely to have accidents, better maintained, and met far more stringent safety requirements than the US trucks headed south of the border.  Indeed the Mexican trucks had a safety rating as high as or higher than any trucking company operating in the United States.  But the administration is showing that it doesn't care about facts, saving American businesses money, or the accountability that comes from the democratic process of open debate, opting instead to hide their decisions by burying them in unrelated bills hundreds of pages long, and sent to Congress. And now, due to the immediate trade war with Mexico it started, it turns out that the administration will create a new Mexican trucking program.  This is yet another example of Obama bowing to special interest group pressure, making choices that are bad for the United States, acting on them before thinking about them, and then having to reverse himself after the fact.


Let us Hope that the administration can Change, and will begin to carefully weigh policy initiatives prior to making them, so that the end result can be stated policy that makes sense for America, and doesn't require an immediate backpedaling from the president.  American global leadership does not start with breaking international trade treaties, and reversing our policy initiatives constantly.

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