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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/6/09

Why Obama's Economic Plan Will Fail

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To begin, I should make these disclosures. This is not a critique on the Presidency of Mr. Obama. To the extent that I am able to support any politician, I have supported this President now and during his candidacy. Secondly, I do not really know if his economic plan will fail or not. In this, at least I am being honest. The airwaves have enough self proclaimed experts professing their certainties of what will unfold. There are so many that no matter what your opinion, you will find a pundit in your corner.


The charismatic nature of President Obama has raised people's hopes, dreams and expectations.  At the time of this writing, the US stock market has been stuck in a range from 7900--8400. I submit to you that this stabilization is a direct result of the high hopes placed on President Obama. He inspires confidence, but has the bar been set too high? In reality, there continues to be only bad economic news. Banks are sure to need more money. Retail spending is way down. People are still not buying cars. More and more homes are going into foreclosure and every jobless report in worst than the preceding report. There is constant talk from the White House that things are going to get worse before they get better, and yet the stock market has stabilized (for now.)


I've confessed that I do not know if the stimulus plan will work, but I am highly skeptical that we can just buy our way out of this problem. Isn't spending money we did not have a big reason we got in to this problem? It becomes even more problematic when you place trillions of dollars in the hands of career politicians, who really have no clue how the economy works or how to run a business. They only need to look like they know what they are doing to get elected and that is their primary self focus. There is little actual substance. Even if it were possible to buy our why out, why would we think that these people are qualified to provide the proper direction?


The plan has been approved, so let the game begin. Does anyone really think that the public has the patience to see this plan out over many months or even years? Of course not. Instant gratification is alive and well and the expectation will be for positive change quickly. So what happens when the first sign appears that perhaps this plan will not work? Whether the plan has a chance or not (probably not), doubt will begin to spread, patience will be evicted and an unforeseen level of fear will move in. As confidence disappears, people will run for their foxholes and the markets will visit new lows. There is so much anxiety in the air right now, that it will not take much to get the dominos rolling.


It is very likely that the money in this stimulus will be wasted and we will face and even worsening economy deeper in debt. If we cannot buy our way out, then what is the way out, or better yet, is there a way out? Economists worldwide have spoken on how the interconnectedness and interdependency of the global economy was not fully understood until this crisis. Despite this understanding, nations are trying to fix this global issue on a national basis. There is little discussion on the cooperation needed to fix the world's economy. Please do not suggest that the G 20 Summit was more than a dog and pony show. It is good news that we recognize the problem as global, now if we could just take a cooperative global approach to its cure.


We should not discount our insatiable egos and the greed they inspire as a primary cause for this financial collapse. It seems like every other day we see another example of unmitigated selfishness. We should be careful not to pin the problem on these extreme examples because honest self examination will reveal a little of this greed in us all. Our world has become every man for himself and our motto, "he who dies with the most toys wins."- It is non-sense and more importantly, there is no evidence that all this wealth is creating more happiness.


President Obama can't fix this. We have to fix this and it might be as simple as living by the Golden Rule. You remember, "Do unto others as you would have then do unto you."- What if we as people, as nations truly began to live by this rule?  We live an existence of luxuries that we do not need. If we can learn to take what we need and pass along the rest we will find that there is plenty for all. I am not talking about a bare bones existence. There are enough resources on this planet for everyone to live a good life. All we need to do is to switch from competing for these resources, to sharing these resources.

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Pete Latona enjoyed a lengthy sales management career with AT&T and retired in 2006 to form his own consulting business. He currently resides in Edmond, Oklahoma with his wife Nancy.
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