If the United States under the Obama administration is going to get out of this economic mess it will not only be because the stimulus package drives up consumer demand and chips away at joblessness or new housing programs save millions from bank auctions or a sustained effort to ease credit lending offers new hope to those seeking capital.
No, the real keys to ending this recession lie in dealing with the deep layers of anger that have built up in the political arena, the fear that permeates the national psyche and the disappearing confidence level that eats away at hope and change.
Although President Obama has been at his desk just over a month, his plans to get the nation moving have been met with ridicule and stubborness from the angry right, who refuse to cut him any slack. Sure our government needs a loyal opposition, but all the conservatives in the House and Senate have to offer the American people are the tired and failed ideas of the Bush era.
A quick look at the public opinion polls point to the clear fact that Americans are not buying the righteous anger of the conservatives; in fact a huge majority of the public know that to go back to tax breaks for the rich, deregulation for the financial sector and generous give aways to big businesses who pad the pockets of CEOs and send jobs to China would bring further catastrophe.
Then there is the fear factor. Wall Street wise guys and their pals in Congress feed on the self-inflicted fears of bank nationalization, redistribution of wealth to the middle class, and more generous support for the unemployed, college bound students, and kids without health care. To hear some of these right-wingers talk, Obama is on the verge of making the ol’ US of A Sweden. Not. As FDR said, ” There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” The New Deal didn’t make the US Sweden and nor will Obama’s policies.
Finally, what all those in Washington, Wall Street and the corporate boardrooms need to concentrate on is rebuilding the confidence of Americans. How to do this? It is really quite simple. How about banks taking a chance and lending money to consumers. How about politicians stop complaining about the stimulus bill and use the money wisely. How about corporations start bringing some jobs home and give work to able bodied Americans. Building confidence among Americans who are down in the dumps is the quickest way to beat the recession.
Anger, fear and confidence; three words that could either send us further into darkness or with a little tweaking put us on the road to sustained growth.