President Obama Won; Now What?
Last week this blog endorsed President Obama for reelection because, based on all this blog had been tracking since he took office, the economy really did better than what people felt it had. Whether all of it was due to him or not might be debatable but it’s time to move forward.
Moving forward means addressing some big financial issues this country and the world still have to deal with. What lies ahead that we’re looking for him and Congress to do? I’m going to list 3 things that are crucial to address:
1. Taxes. When you really decide to take a look at business, you realize that you can only cut expenses so much, and then you have to start looking at how you’re going to increase revenue. For government, increasing revenue means raising taxes. One thing the last 4 years has shown us is that the poor got poorer and the rich got richer, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. And the Bush tax incentives are about to sunset, which will mean that everyone will get a tax increase while there will be automatic cuts to multiple programs.
Congress and the President need to work together on some sort of compromise but the President says any bill that comes his way has to have a tax increase for the rich, which could happen by just eliminating the break they got, and the House is trying to hold firm on “no new taxes” for anyone. This has to get done because all other possibilities are scary.
2. Health Care. Yes, the health care bill will be the law of the land, but there are financial issues that need to be settled. One, how many plans will there be and how much will they cost? Two, how will claims be reimbursed and what are the dollar amounts? Three, who will process the claims? Four, how will the government “bill” people who decide they don’t want to pay for health coverage? And five, will the House still try to find ways to de-fund parts of the bill so that it won’t be effective?
For an overwhelmingly high number of businesses, if you hear them saying the health care bill is going to hurt them they’re lying. There are some that will feel the pinch though, mainly construction companies and companies that deal with medical technology. I’ve never liked the caveat that construction companies have to buy insurance if they have 5 employees or more, whereas other businesses have to reach a higher figure, but I don’t have much sympathy for medical technology companies because they make untold dollars with their creations. In my opinion health care for “all” is a good thing, but there’s so many unanswered questions and very little time before implementation.
Finally, there needs to be a revamping of malpractice insurance and laws. Right now people are awarded ungodly sums of money for minor accidents and that has to be modified. When things are critical, and doctors and hospitals have been shown to be incompetent and negligent, then fine. Otherwise, you have your explanation of why fewer people are going to medical school to become health care providers.
3. Jobs. This is a tough one. Unemployment has come way down from its peak but there’s still a high number of people out of work. Frankly, there’s little the President can actually do here, but I have my one suggestion. Any company that decides to close a plant and open it up in another country needs to have major sanctions against it to sell those goods here. At some point we the people have to weigh whether we want cheaper stuff or jobs to stay so more people are working.
At the same time I’ve always advocated for more training programs, and this could be paid for with cooperation between state and federal governments. In what areas though might be the question. Frankly, I don’t think there’s enough plumbers and electricians, and more people need to be taught how to use computers and technology because long term that’s what’s going to take this country into the future.