Thursday, January 29, 2009

Here's Hoping, Obama

Barack Obama has become a rock star with all the attention from the media. One of hot topic links is “Obama’s First 100 Days.” is even selling a shirt that says, “Obama raises a hand, lifts a nation. I just saw it on 1.20.09.” CNN isn’t alone; Yahoo! News’s top story is Obama signing his first bill - the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act - and MSNBC, aside from the eight articles on the stimulus plan, has a political cartoon slideshow where out of twenty cartoons eighteen are strictly Obama. He’s everywhere and he’s been everywhere since he decided to run for President. Over a year ago, one of my friends went to see him at a rally and was convinced he was going to be the face of change. I know many individuals believe that; there is more hope in this President than there has been in a while. (I can’t help but wonder how George W. Bush feels!)

But where is all this hope going to get us? Good intentions are grand, but they’re just that… intentions. Action is what this country needs; Obama’s first hundred days are directly related. The trend for using the first hundred days as a benchmark for the rest of a presidency began with Franklin D. Roosevelt. The media loves to compare FDR to Obama, stating that the economy has reached similar lows as the 1930's and that the nation needs a President to push legislation through Congress to help stimulate the economy.

I wouldn't want this waiting for me.

There’s no arguing against the need for change in this country and Obama’s $819 billion economic stimulus package will hopefully bring some. Originally, it was $825 billion. So, what was cut out? Expanding family planning, re-sodding the National Mall, and a proposed tax credit for businesses for each job they create or save. Most of the money will go to help expanding the education sector, health care, tax breaks for individuals and couples, and energy.

But what does this package mean for small businesses? According to, the business breaks include “…allowing [businesses] to claim tax credits on past profits dating back five years instead of two. It also would offer bonus depreciation for businesses investing in new plants and equipment; double the amount small businesses can write off for capital investments and new equipment purchases; allow businesses to claim a tax credit for hiring youths and veterans.”

His plan correlates with a statement he made back in February 2008 when the American Small Business League publicly supported him. Obama’s comments on the subject in the days following help shed light on how much he will promote small business growth through the economic stimulus plan and other ways in both the public and federal sector. "…98 percent of all American companies have fewer than 100 employees. Over half of all Americans work for a small business. Small businesses are the backbone of our nation's economy and we must protect this great resource. It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants."

Sounds great, right? One can only hope. FDR’s New Deal did boost the morale of the country and did create jobs, but as most of us know, it wasn’t the only thing that saved this country. A war economy helped the US recover. However, Ronald Reagan helped the US economy more than most people acknowledge. His trickle-down economic actions in the 80's helped the economy later - as late as the Clinton administration - flourish. Like most economic plans, and like this one will, it took time for it to work.

Yee of little Faith.

President Obama is trying. He is pushing legislation that he thinks will help the US economy over time, not overnight. All good things come in due time. If we rush fixing the economy, it's like putting duct tape over the leaky pipe in the bathroom. Eventually, it'll burst, and then it'll take even longer to fix. Obama isn't using duct tape; he's interviewing plumbers at the moment, hoping that what he chooses won't be a quick fix, but one that lasts for generations to come.

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