Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Corner Turned

Michael Grunwald is a senior national correspondent at Time Magazine, who has written several successful politically-oriented non-fiction books, in addition to winning the George Polk award for national reporting.

Grunwald's works suggest professional competence in the arena of Beltway meetings and all the politically-oriented news situations in which such journalists find themselves. They commend his writing and journalistic skills for recounting various secret strategy sessions, utilizing numerous new documents, and dependably handling hundreds of interviewees, all of which make his works reliable for reference.

Working with more than 400 sources from both sides of the political aisle, Michael Grunewald “reveals the vivid story behind President Osama’s $800 billion stimulus bill,” which he calls “one of the most important and least understood pieces of legislation in the history of the country.”

Bemoaning the fact it is later than it has ever been before, as if the clock were striking thirteen; the political right capably utilized fear and guerilla warfare tactics opposing President Obama’s efforts to restore our economy. On the other hand, Grunwald calls the President’s successful Recovery Act “a down payment on the nation’s economic and environmental future, the purest distillation of change in the Obama era.”

Admitting that Obama has utterly failed to adequately explain his program to the public, Grunwald offers evidence of a transition toward a clean-energy economy, a doubled renewable energy power, and an unprecedented financial investment in energy efficiency that includes a smarter grid, electric cars, advanced biofuels, and green manufacturing. BUT IT ALL TAKES TIME...

Simultaneously, it "is" already computerizing America’s pen-and-paper medical system; iniating the boldest educational reform in history and the most extensive infrastructure investment since Eisenhower’s new interstate system. It includes the largest expansion of antipoverty programs, which is lifting people above the poverty line, reducing homelessness, and modernizing unemployment insurance.

“It works,” says Ron Book, a Florida Republican lobbyist who chairs the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. “It keeps people off the streets and saves an astronomical amount of money. I’m not a fan of the stimulus, but this is a huge bright spot” (424).

Grunwald recalls Joe Biden having fun at the author’s expense, needling him for his positive reporting when generally more “Debbie Downer than Little Mary Sunshine…” Grunwald admits, “It was kind of funny because it was kind of true. At times, I did feel like I was writing about an alternative universe stimulus. But the facts were the facts. The Recovery Act was on schedule, and was so far under budget that the administration had financed an extra three thousand construction projects with the savings.

“As Biden liked to say, fraud was the dog that hadn’t barked. Experts had predicted tens of billions of dollars in losses, but there had only been 298 convictions, for scams totaling just $7.2 million; the Recovery Act’s unprecedented transparency and scrutiny made it an uninviting target for crooks. And its oversubscribed competitive grant programs--for everything from brownfields redevelopment to emissions-reducing transit projects--really did seem to promote a culture of responsibility, forcing bureaucrats to use judgment instead of just checking boxes. Even when their judg-ments were wrong, as with Solyndra or the busted battery manufacturer Ener1, there was no indication of corruption or cronyism …” (emphasis added).

I found the author competent in reducing such hard-to-read [for me at least] materials into an easy-to-read book. I found the author very convincing of the President’s honesty in creating substantial change rather than simply fomenting political rhetoric. Most politicans are comfortable with the rhetoric but few want real change from the status quo.

I came away with a very bad taste in my mouth, for the partisanship of Beltway Politics, for the politics as usual, with its cronyism and power-grabbing by well-paid people more interested in personal patronage rather serving the common good of the country and creating good legislation. The potty-mouthed politicians who cannot politic without lobbing their f-bombs at their opposition sickened me with their offensive inability to use the English language without slanting it. I saw the Washington World as one inhabited by intelligent but myopic, arrogant, crass, greedy individuals more self-serving than public serving.

And while I tend to view our President as an idealist and public servant--right or wrong--I see people like him thwarted, diverted, resisted and ridiculed. And I see a public that prides itself on its wilfull ignorance and woeful passive resistance through non-involvement - totally unaware of the positive changes already mobilized by a Recovery Act in the first two months of office that will benefit EVERYBODY but the status quo sect..

From Warner’s World,, I admit I was surprised to learn--being totally unaware--just how many ways my wife and I had already benefited by changes effected by the Obama Recovery Plan.
I like it for the change initiated, for the integrity built into it, and for its futurity. Change is seldom popular and it is never overnight.
I am positively sure that had the President not turned us back from the brink as much as allowed to do, the evidence all points to a Depression deeper than any of us has ever lived in (I was a Depression era Baby-1927).
I simply find it incomprehensible how far down the tube I believe we would be today were we following the dictates of John McCain and company rather than Barack Obama

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