Get Over It: 10 Challenges President Elect Obama Faces Going Forward

President Elect Barack ObamaI can’t say I’m not disappointed in America’s choice for President. But all that is water under the bridge. What’s important from this point forward is to insure our own success because like him or not, we’re stuck with Obama for at least the next 4 years. What remains one of our greatest assets to the United States is our ability to adapt. So if you’re like me and your candidate lost … it’s time to get over it and move on. Here’s what I see as the 10 challenges faced by our next president.

Restore Calm to The Economy

We don’t need our newly elected President telling us every night how bad things are. We already know; the difference is we have known for a long time because we don’t live in the cocoon that is Washington, DC or the swanky parts of Chicago. We have higher energy prices, higher food prices, tighter credit, lower housing values, decimated retirement accounts, job loss predictions, and an overall feeling of dystopia. We are worried about our finances … seriously worried.

Keep Campaign Promises

We’ve been extremely disappointed in our past leaders, regardless of party affiliation. They traditionally have said just about anything to get elected and though we sense the same thing about our President Elect, we sincerely hope we’re proven wrong. The campaign promises have been HUGE and expectations are running high, very high. Personally, I’m not holding my breath and I’m looking into alternative ways to make extra money on the side.

Make the Tax Code Fair

Whatever “fair” is. It seems that everyone has a different definition. What seems fair to someone making $70,000 doesn’t seem fair to someone making $25,000. What seems fair to a $7/hr teenager doesn’t set too well with a business owner who has risked 30 years worth of frugal living and savings to start a business. Obama has promised that those who net $250,000 per year or less will see NO tax increase. We shall see. The record indicates otherwise.

Remember that the top 10% of income earners in this country already pay over 70% of all income taxes … fair isn’t making them pay 90% because they can “afford it.” The top 1% of income earners earn around 19% of all income, but they pay almost 39% of all income taxes. It isn’t wise to tax capital investment at a time when we need it so badly.

No nation ever taxed its way to prosperity.

Restore Relationships with Various Constituencies

The President Elect has damaged relations with groups ranging from gun owners to home schoolers to religious groups. Each one of these groups feel slighted and worried that an Obama presidency will portend disaster for their values and ideals. Now is the time to start mending these relationships, build trust, and assure them through actions that their concerns will have validity and that their rights will not be trampled.

Stem the Tide on Spending

We simply MUST stop giving away tax dollars to anyone who cries loudly enough. Just as we cannot “police” the world, we cannot support the world either. We are not an unlimited source of cash! First it was the large commercial banks that were huge systemic risks to the world’s economic system. Then community bankers claimed they would be disadvantaged without government money (though not systemically important, they are politically important). Then along came the the insurance companies. Now it’s the automobile manufacturers. The next group will be the state and local governments, being hit hard because of declining tax revenues in a struggling economy. Once we start down this path, how do we stop?

Answer: We may not have any other choice. There just simply isn’t enough money. Some companies will fail and jobs will be lost. That’s just how it will have to be.

We also need to examine the efficiency of the Federal government. Did you know there are more employees in the Department of Agriculture than there are farmers in the US? Anytime something gets as large as the Federal government, there are bound to be inefficiencies and it will take (literally) an act of Congress to eliminate them and shrink the size of our bureaucracy.

Encourage Trade

Already, people are discussing how to “Obama proof” their portfolios because of past speeches about bankrupting a certain industry or wanting to “re-examine” our trade agreements with our trading partners. Nations that depend on each other for trade rarely attack each other.

For an example of how free trade benefits everyone, remember that the states were once separate and individual entities with different currencies even. How has unlimited free trade amongst the states worked out? Pretty well. The same thing could happen with our trading partners if we would allow it. Can you imagine Ohio putting a tariff on everything that comes from Virginia? What about Michigan demanding that everyone there buy Michigan avocados ONLY and taxing California avocados into oblivion?

Reining In The Hordes

We’ve been barraged over the past few weeks with mountains of people who believe an Obama presidency means they “don’t have to worry” about their mortgage, gas prices, or their jobs. Obama will soon face the enormity of his new job, and it won’t be pretty. He will have to face up to a $10 trillion federal debt that’s projected to grow by $1 trillion per year. Couple that with his auspicious spending plans and you get a recipe for impending financial disaster. The Great Depression will be nothing in comparison.

He’s already trying to lower expectations because there is too much exuberance about “history being made.” Forget history. If he screws up by taxing a struggling economy more, his mistake won’t be easily blamed on the last 8 years. The electorate has a short memory.

Cool It With The Empty Platitudes

Obama’s speech last night took the crowd to rapturous heights, but that’s what they were craving.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there. –Barack Obama’s acceptance speech

Where is “there?” I know the 63,042,806 who voted for him probably understands where “there” is, but there’s another 55,821,650 of us who looked at each other and said, “Huh? Where are we going?” Empty speeches, empty words, and “Southern Baptist preacher talk” isn’t what the country needs. Please, I’m an adult. Please speak to me that way.

Health Care

Ah, the giant elephant in the room. All I can say on this issue is that socialized medicine doesn’t work, and we don’t want it. What we do want are choices and the ability to make them. No one wants to wait 14 months to have ACL surgery, or to have their spouse die while waiting on heart surgery. At the same time, no one wants to declare bankruptcy because of a health condition that winds up costing $25,000.

Reforming the industry will not be easy, there’s just so much “turf” that everyone wants to protect. If we can, for just one week, convince all the different factions to lay down their agendas and truly work to create a better system … nah, I better wake up. There’s too much money at stake, both going into the pockets of doctors, HMO’s, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies as well as politicians and lobbyists. This is another one where I’m not holding my breath.

The World Stage Isn’t Rosy

Though some in Europe and the Middle East are jubilant, there are other more sinister types that are nonplussed by the specter of an Obama Presidency. Add to that 2 wars and the ongoing threat of a test of the new President within 6 months (“guaranteed” according to Biden) which could be anything from:

  • A terrorist attack on our own soil or abroad.
  • Yet another war in the middle east.
  • The total collapse of the dollar because China decides to dump our bonds and currency on the global market.
  • A Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
  • A Russian annexation of the old Soviet Republics or launching missiles on Poland.
  • Iran (that little country) launching a nuclear attack on Israel.
  • North Korea “accidentally launching a missile at Hawaii.

No matter how you slice it, this is a dangerous world and no matter how likable you are, there are bullies out there with big guns who would love to see the US go down the tubes. When Obama is awakened at 3AM by someone saying, “Mr. President, we have a situation, sir.” Will he be ready?

We don’t have to wait on Obama to change the world. Its changing on its own … daily. Is he ready?

Nothing, NOTHING, the President Elect has ever done has prepared him for the challenges he’s about to face. The Presidency is more than speeches, more than “ideas,” more than jetting around the country shaking hands and kissing babies. It is the face of the United States of America. It is the Chief Executive of the most powerful country on earth. It is leadership and trials and “the buck stops here.” No longer can he blame things on the “past 8 years.” From this point on, he’s on his own.

I hope he’s ready.

photo credit: Sister72

[tags]Obama, Barack Obama, challenges, politics, 2008 election, President, moving forward[/tags]

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