Since Inauguration Day

These last few weeks since the inauguration, in the news and on the streets, I’ve heard and read mostly about three things: job losses, the stimulus package and drone attacks on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

People are getting very nervous. From talking to friends, I know that if you are retirement age, you’ve probably lost a good bit of your savings, if you have a mortgage, you might be worried about losing your job and your home, and if you’re looking for work, you are largely out of luck. Fortunately for me, I don’t fall into any of these categories. I’m also not someone who lives beyond my means. After experiencing life in Kiev, Ukraine for the first half of the 90s, I make it a point to live with little. So I’m perturbed not only by the corporate financial fat cats but by the overzealous spending habits of fellow Americans for which I will now have to pay. At this point even my own meager existence is in jeopardy. My freelance publishing jobs were cut recently in hours, and in one case, the company cut my pay by 37.5% in the middle of a project. When I protested and said, “…but you’ve already agreed to the price,” they told me I could either take their new terms or they’d find someone else to finish the job.

“Employers slashed another 598,000 jobs off of U.S. payrolls in January, taking the unemployment rate up to 7.6%, according to the latest government reading on the nation’s battered labor market. The latest job loss is the worst since December 1974, and brings job losses to 1.8 million in just the last three months, or half of the 3.6 million jobs that have been lost since the beginning of 2008.”
Source: Job Loss: Worst in 34 Years by Chris Isidore

The ever-fluctuating 780-920 billion dollar stimulus package is beyond my comprehension. It seems to me that borrowing money we don’t have is what got us into this mess. Of course we need to do something, and we’re going to have to spend money to do anything, but for this to work, we also are going to have to change the way we think about credit. We need to create jobs fast, turn the failing auto factories and large numbers of unemployed workers to mass transit projects, build new railways, repair roads, bridges and tunnels, manufacture wind farm and solar equipment, get small cooperative farms going again. We need universal health care. The stimulus package needs to aim at all of this first and foremost, and I hope the final version will do that.

Because I can’t possibly make much sense of the bill itself, here is what a few of the organizations I support on certain issues are saying about the economic stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“America needs a stimulus package that addresses our dire needs without wasting money on provisions that won’t create jobs or promote long-term economic growth… consider these five suggestions: Get rid of a $2 billion provision for “clean coal” plants. Invest in infrastructure, not tax cuts. Reinstate the Medicaid Family Planning State Option. Include meaningful bankruptcy reform. Don’t give Verizon $1.6 billion in tax cuts without generating a single new job.”

League of Conservation Voters
“Before the banks burned and before the housing crisis caught fire, it was soaring gas prices that sparked this economic wildfire. President Obama’s economic recovery package seizes the opportunity to put out today’s flames and prevent future flare-ups by putting millions of Americans to work to end our crippling addiction to oil. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will be the largest investment in clean energy and energy efficiency in our country’s history.”

“The feds’ monthly report was even worse than expected: 598,000 jobs cut in January. And, yet, Senate leaders have still not given permission for a vote on a Stimulus Bill amendment that would keep illegal foreign workers from getting jobs created by the massive taxpayer effort. How many Americans have to lose their jobs before they are given priority over illegal aliens and the outlaw companies that hire them?”

It may not be politically correct, but I believe we need to put tougher restrictions on immigration now for several reasons. We must not be inhumane to people who come, but we need to take care of business here, protect our citizens and jobs, wildlife and natural resources and our borders, and become more self-sufficient as a nation. We need to end foreign occupations; we need those soldiers here hopefully for rebuilding, for natural disasters and for potential civil unrest due to lack of work. Look at what’s happening in Iceland, Europe and Russia.

Our new president, who rightfully bragged about how he voted against the war in Iraq during the campaign, now seems to be carrying on the same aggressive policies of the last administration using some of the same old hawkish defense heads. Since he took office a few short weeks ago, he’s already ordered drone attacks; he’s already dropped bombs and killed civilians. Again, I turn you to my resources on the subject.

New York Times “Obama’s War – Fearing Another Quagmire in Afghanistan”
“Can President Obama succeed in that long-lamented “graveyard of empires” — a place that has crushed foreign occupiers for more than 2,000 years?”

Democracy Now “Obama Continues Bush Policy of Deadly Air Strikes in Pakistan”
“In Pakistan, outrage continues to mount over a US military attack approved by President Obama. Last Friday, unmanned US Predator drones fired missiles at houses in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA, killing as many as twenty-two people, including at least three children.”

Bill Moyers “Is a Military Strategy the Best Option in Afghanistan?”
“In the wake of the recent American missile attacks in Pakistan, this week’s JOURNAL explored U.S. bombing policies and how they affect U.S. objectives in Afghanistan and the region. Bill Moyers asked historian Marilyn B. Young and former Pentagon official Pierre Sprey about the effectiveness of targeting Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants when the casualties include civilians.”

From what I can tell, our best bet is to stop missile strikes and pull out of that region, except for some elite special ground forces with very specific targets, and continue to provide whatever humanitarian aid we are able.

– Hope Dascher

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