There is certainly no easy way to put it. You got your ass kicked in the mid term elections. Well, I got some good news now. As I already told you in 2008, your presidency is going to be about the economy. You did not choose these circumstances, but they are yours to manage. You did not make the economy your #1 priority. It is not clear that it was even your second priority. From the looks of your first two years, I would say that your first two priorities were health care and the war in Afghanistan. Whether I am right or wrong, jobs were certainly not your first priority.
On top of that, you trusted the wrong people. There is no dispute by anyone that Wall Street is the reason behind this economic crisis. Yet you continue to listen to them almost exclusively and unemployment still hangs at 10% even with interest rates stuck at 0% for the foreseeable future. You guys sit around now that interest rates are at a floor and figure out how to “stimulate” the economy. They call it quantitative easing and I call it bullshit. There is a saying that if all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. If all you trust is Wall Street, then all you are going to get is the Fed printing more money and deficit spending. On the surface, I agree that borrowing money from the Chinese creates American jobs, but at what expense? Let’s just say that you have made a mess of it. It’s not too late, but you have to first realize that it is a mess and you’ve made it worse in your 2 years. You didn’t create it all, not even close, but it is your role to fix it, not make it worse.
I got some really good news for you, Barack. The Republicans are more lost than you are. Remember the golden lesson. It is about JOBS. The reason that the Republicans won was JOBS. If unemployment was at 6% as opposed to 10%, Democrats would not have lost the house. Yet, now that the Republicans have the house, the Republicans are talking about repudiating socialism, repealing the health care bill and tax cuts and so on. None of these measures, including the tax cuts, will create jobs.
So it looks like it is a race between you, Barack Obama, and the Republicans to figure out that what the American people want is low unemployment. They don’t want lip service, they don’t want this issue falling back seat to some stupid war. They don’t want fear mongering. They want a fucking job! Is that so hard to understand? I am hoping not. In fact, I think that you, Barack Obama, will figure out before the Republicans. They are still drunk from their election day victory. They haven’t even had the hangover yet.
So the rest of the article will focus on what Barack should do to get jobs rolling in a short 24 months. That’s not a lot of time.
Everyone is focused on illegal immigration, but focus on legal immigration. Make it easier for people to visit our country legally. You don’t have to pass a bill, just do it. Did you know that the most difficult country in the world to visit is the United States of America? My mother in law would love to visit the United States. When my family and I visit, it would be great to have her along. She is a woman of modest means, but she has no desire to live in the United States legally or illegally. She has now tried 5 times without success. This is not an isolated incident.
There are probably millions of deserving people that want to visit the US and cannot. If you let those people into the country, the stimulus would be immediate. Everything associated with tourism would take off immediately. The airline industry, the hotel industry, the restaurant industry and so on.
The dollar is now incredibly weak. I think that it is the weakest that I have seen in my life time and I am over 50 years old. This makes tourism attractive and lots of foreigners will come to the US because it is so cheap. If we let them.
The beautiful thing about this plan is that it begins to address a horrible trend in the United States – the trade deficit. It is probably one of the largest problems with our economy. It is either government deficit spending (thanks Wall Street) or the trade deficit. IMO, it’s the trade deficit. Why didn’t all the stimulus work? After all, it worked for Bush and Clinton before him. What went wrong?
Go back 15 years, and the year is 1995. Let’s say that the stimulus is to build a hospital. And every desk at the hospital requires a computer. In 1995, as an ex SVP at Gateway Computers, I can tell you that every computer was built in the United States by American blue collar workers. Then, if you had any problem with that computer, the billing, a replacement part, etc, you talked to an American white collar worker. Fast forward 15 years, and that same hospital and those same computers. Now every one of those computers are built in China. Worse yet, if you have a problem, you are talking to someone in India or the Phillipines.
This one issue is hurting the American economy more than you can imagine. I am not suggesting going back in time, but you should work on the trade deficit.
So thinking through the trade deficit, here’s something Americans import heavily – Marijuana. Not only are we importing this crop in large quantities, no one along the food chain pays any taxes. We need to legalize marijuana, but that is not enough. If we just legalize it, then we will get a flood of imports. At the same time that we legalize it, we need to ban marijuana imports. Foreign marijuana will no longer be allowed in the US. All those Mexican drug lord dirtballs making money hand over fist will need to find a real job. Do not back down to these A Holes.
It should not stop there either. Once we begin consuming what we make, we should make more. Lots more and start exporting. If the United States can become the #1 manufacturer of tobacco in the world, how different can it be for marijuana?
It gets one step better because another side product of marijuana is a hemp industry. If you are making scores of money from the marijuana, then the hemp is amost free, a by product, if you will. This will lower the cost of lots of products from rope, string etc. Then we should start exporting this as well.
Automate the Government
As part of the tech sector, I have to say that our federal government is an embarrassment. We have the most brilliant minds in the world of software, databases, and automation, but we use none of that brain power to make a better government. The same as many of our software companies, the United States government should be the envy of the world in using technology to reduce cost and increase transparency. Computers are great at following rules if you have the right programmers doing it. The government should be attracting some of the best new young software programmers and will have to pay some of the best salaries. It will create new demand in a market that is one of our best anyhow. Barack, if you listen to one thing. Do not outsource this project to India. We want to develop these skills in house.
Bust the Trusts
In the United States, it is clear to me that we are on the road to monopolism. We have created an environment that no longer fosters competition. Instead, the formula to riches is to go public. Then with Wall Street’s money, you buy out all of your competition. Your competition is happy becaue they make a killing and retire. Once they become a true monopoly, then they start increasing prices. Each time, they increase prices, their stock goes up. Instead of retiring as millionaires, they have become billionaires.
It is happening right under our noses, and it is obvious for us all to see. Back in the late 1800’s, this issue of monopolization was much more severe. It took a unique and strong president to win a US election based on “trust busting”. His name was Teddy Roosevelt. Barack, do you have these types of leadership skills. Can you lead a fight against special interests that only a one of a kind president can lead? I don’t know the answer, but I hope so. If it makes you feel better, I don’t think that Sarah Palin is up to the task either. She seems to be attracted to money like a bee to honey.
If you are successful, it will create a new era of competitiveness. New horizons for small businesses will suddenly open as the monopolies release their stranglehold on commerce. Consumers will win as company’s are actually competing for our business. Products will get better faster, and markets will evolve more agilely and most importantly prices will come down.
End the War in Afganistan
Maybe I should say change the mission. As an American, I want Osama Bin Laden’s head on a stick. I want you to murder him in a very public way, and then we should create a national holiday for us to remember 9/11 and the day we got our revenge. Heck, I want to forget 9/11, and the only way for me is for the US to murder this MF.
Back to economics. The war in Afghanistan is a drain on the economy. Remember that hospital I talked about earlier? Now you are stimulating everyone’s economy but our own. The only possible downside is that the troops in Afghanistan will suddenly be unemployed. But you can reemploy them. If they are building bridges in Afghanistan, then they can build bridges in Alaska. Hell even Sarah Palin’s bridge to nowhere creates more jobs than an Afghani bridge.
There are many more ideas, but the underlying point is the same. You need ideas that focus on jobs. J-O-B-S. Nothing else. Nothing more and nothing less. It’s called focus.
Thanks for your time, Barack.
Your Home Boy in Rio de Janeiro,