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February 17th, 2009
09:50 AM ET

Obama Faces Growing Economic Storms

Program Note: Tune in to hear more from David Gergen tonight on the AC360° at 10 p.m. ET. And watch him on the CNN Money Summit on Friday at 11 p.m. ET.

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David Gergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Political Analyst

This is a good moment to look ahead at the extraordinary challenges facing President Obama and how he and his team will try to solve them. Based on what has appeared in the public press as well as personal conversations in Washington, here is my best take:

In winning passage of the stimulus package, the President managed his way successfully through his first storm but he and his team recognize there are darker, more treacherous ones ahead. The economy has been deteriorating at such an accelerating rate in recent months that the administration had to expand the size of the stimulus package far beyond what they originally envisioned. If the economy continues to sink – and signs around the globe point in that direction – even this package will not be big enough. And economists of almost every stripe complain that its impact was weakened during the political wrangling.

For now, administration insiders believe that the package will begin to help quickly in saving jobs that might have been lost (e.g., with infusions of fresh money, state governments will not have to fire as many people). But insiders are not really expecting the stimulus to start creating many new jobs - or at least those that will show up in statistics – until early next year. Moreover, they recognize that they may have to come back for additional installments of stimulus in the months ahead. No future package should be as large, but there is likely to be a clear need to expand unemployment benefits again. So, look for more stimulus down the road – we just don't know how much.

Here, in a nutshell, is a take on other issues rushing at the administration:

The auto crisis – As General Motors and Chrysler send their reports to Washington, scheduled today, there is a sense in the administration that no good choices lie ahead. The options are likely to boil down to a big, new infusion of money from the feds or a structured bankruptcy of the companies. Either way, there will be pain for auto workers, creditors, shareholders and others. In contrast to a few weeks ago, when the Obama team seemed extremely reluctant to allow a structured bankruptcy, I sense that they may be more open to the idea today. The fact that the President did not appoint a "car czar" suggests that they are not looking to have the tough medicine administered by the administration – as Democrats, do they really want to slice wages and close plants? – but rather, they might prefer to have it done by the courts or some other independent force.

The housing crisis – The President is scheduled to announce a relief plan this Wednesday in hard-hit Phoenix. The first question will be whether it has enough details to judge what it will do – something sadly lacking in the bank bailout "plan" announced by Treasury Secretary Geithner a few days ago. (He got badly hurt in that episode but can still rehabilitate the policy and himself.) The other issue is how the administration will provide mortgage relief to homeowners – if it is through cash infusions, that will be expensive, but if it is through judicial interventions, that could send up interest rates. My bet: more money. One good thing about a housing solution: it adds to stimulus.

The banking crisis – This is the lollapalooza. The cost of a banking bailout will be at least three times as big as the stimulus package. In the estimate of many experts, much of the banking industry (not all) is insolvent – its liabilities now exceed the value of its marked-down assets. So far, the government is ducking the question of how to get those toxic assets off the books of the banks. There is a growing sense in Washington and on Wall Street that we are moving toward nationalization of some major banks. That's not what the administration wants, but experts believe that is where we are heading – and overseas, there is a growing chorus that the sooner the better. This is a very, very tough problem for the administration.

Federal deficits – Toward the end of February, the administration will announce its budget forecasts. My bet is that the predicted deficits will be eye-popping in size and longevity. That is partly because the Obama team will introduce more truth in budgeting, showing – unlike the Bush administration – what the real costs will be of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other looming domestic initiatives. The White House clearly wants to move full steam ahead on health care reform and reform of energy policies this year – both costly. The hard political question in the country will soon be: how much more can we really afford? Is bailout fatigue going to set in, too?

Nobody knows the answers to all the questions just over the horizon. What insiders do recognize is that President Obama will need the political skills of an FDR and the tenacity of a Lincoln to help the country navigate through the storms that are coming.


Filed under: CNN Money Summit • David Gergen • Economy
soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. JohnnyBoy

    I can't believe you people – you think that Obama is the great savior – a smooth talking Chicago lawyer. You think GB stole your money – it's been gone a long time. You think it's a bad idea to invest your Social Security money in the stock market – did you think there was any money left in the SS trust fund? Oh puleeze. The money is all gone. We are in for a really bad ride. Obama won't be your hero much longer – his true abilities will shrivel – that is, to BS us all into thinking he's gonna fix the world for us. This has been brewing for a long time – ever since Johnson and the Democrats started their run on SS and their welfare society. It's over folks – keep your job as long as you can-you'll be supporting everyone else. I wonder what I'll do while you're at work – probably watch BO on tv talk about the good times ahead. Oh puleeeze. Suckers.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  2. Jesse

    matt from toronto,

    I don't think it had anything to do with the war. It's called government stupidity set in motion before Bush.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  3. Mike in Va

    Hey Pat...America needs to stop fighting? What fight? All I see is the rich making bad mistakes, asking DC Daddy for Billions...DC giving them the funds to what? Spend badly again? Oh wait ...I Know..hold on to it and profit off the interest...what about the lower middle class? Humm..the mininum wage force who for 11 years never got a raise up on federal wages..but Congress and Senate did!.. Each year....but they shot down our pay raise..quick....the rich said no.....wait! ..Who do they represent again? us or big business?...humm....

    The bottom line is this....the rich will always get the billion dollar checks from Washington...middle/lower class will get nothing but excuses and lies...promises they never keep...ok ...if its true..where is my check? My assistance? Im a small business! I earned my own way and need help now...or there will be no tomorrow to worry about beacuse we will be gone..I asked for loans/grants..got the door slammed in my face. Just yesterday I got a letter from my own state small business assistance program...."Sorry We Can't Help You" but if you made between $250,000 and $500,000 we can! $500.000?? ARE you serious?

    February 17, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  4. Jesse

    Pat,

    I believe this is a consevative figure but I would venture to say 60% or more (I believe more) are mortgages that they couldn't afford or qualify for under normal circumstances to begin with. So we help these folks and prolong the inevitable????????

    February 17, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  5. Karla Florida

    I would like to comment on the SBA loans, we had an opportunity to do a business and needed a SBA Loan, Actually we did not need a loan, just backing for a credit line to purchase product...after about 6 months of paperwork they came up with an "plan" where we would have to purchase some type of insurance which would be more expensive than the money we needed. End result ...we got private loans and never wasted time with the SBA again. We are still in business 7 years later.

    I agree with David about interest rates on mortgages. My thought was to have people pay the same house payment...as when they had a ARM... against the principle only for two years. If you sold your home within the two years you would pay back the interest from the sale of the house. This way the bank recovers the "actual" money they loaned out but the homeowner could pay what they could afford..I assume when they had the initial ARM, at the same time lowering the debt they owe.

    There many better ways to help the working class but this stimulus bill is not one. I am republican, but did not support the last bill under Bush either.

    For the truck drivers and construction workers who are crippled now, forgive the excise tax, road taxes, fuel taxes for two years. For each new tire sold in the US a fee of $25.00 to $54.00 is charged for infrastructure...not sure where all the money that was collected went...but this would directly help this sector who are losing everything.

    Since most banks are lowing credit limits on credit, keep the credit limits but only charge a small percentage over rate banks get.. didn't the feds give money at zero interest for loans between banks, why not make the interest rates no more than 4%.

    We need to get out of the crippling debt we have, it makes no sense to borrow to collect from taxes from people who have no money, so they can borrow more money they don't have.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  6. jennifer in va

    we decided to stop paying our mortgage, get foreclosed THEN get help. we asked for lower interest now to help, but we were refused because we pay our bills on time.....I think the wrong behavior is being incented with the various bail outs, stimuli, etc..... help folks before they need it so we do not get in deeper....

    February 17, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  7. norb

    13 buck's a week in stimulus ain't gonna cut it, period. I can collect that many can's in my State and get that amount back. If you don't have a job and even if you have one, how in the world would you expect someone to rush out and purchase a 30 thousand dollar car, even if they can get financing. I think most middle class people would rather take the 600 + dollars it cost to buy a new car in a payment per month and put it into groceries or something else like paying the heating bill. I say do away with the income tax for six months to a year and I'll bet you'll see people spending some extra money that they really will have. This 13 buck's is a joke.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  8. Doug Durkin

    O, NYC, You really don't know any facts O. For years Bush asked Congress to look into Fannie and Freddie. But, the Dems said there wasn't any problem in the sub-prime debacle. Dodd, Barney and many more said we don't need add'l regulations. Meanwhile the books were cooked for end of the year multi-million dollar bonus to exec's. Oh, and Barney. because he's gay, gets a free ride...he was living for years w/ one of the exec's. The press knows all this and reports none of it. So the very same people responsible are bailing our behinds out with a pork laden "stimulus." But, O you and press can continue to blame Bush, when this doesn't work. After Europe woke up they decided the Socialism thing wasn't working....and now here it comes to America. Are they going to rename us The United Socialists of America. Education is the key to a strong society, it eradicates the welfare state entitlement state of mind.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  9. Bill in Virginia

    This smacks of socialism. The auto manufacturers and banks should be allowed to fail. Like Mike in Virginia, I also own a small business. I have also suffered in this economic turndown. Businesses like ours have to just keep tightening the belt until it is no longer a belt, but a torniquet. Then we start chopping off limbs. No one will bail our businesses out, even though our businesses are the backbone of the American economy. The problem with the American dream is that everyone in America has lost sight of what that dream is, freedom of speech, religion, and the pursuit of happiness. Its not "A flatscreen TV, a huge SUV, a 500,000 dollar home, and unlimited credit on my mastercard". Americans need to regain a bit of common sense when it comes to spending....and so does our government. It is a tough time...for those who overspent, for those who didnt save, for the companies that rewarded executives for failure. The economy has to find its own way...painful as it may be. Socialised medicine? Theres people dying in the emergency rooms in Canada while they wait for doctors. Put limits on lawsuits and the costs of healthcare will go down.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  10. matt from Toronto

    It seems to me that everytime there is a downturn in the economy, there is one surefire solution to get out. I hate to say it but its WAR. The Great Depression (of the 1930's, not today) was post-sceeded by WWII. The economic slowdowns in the %)'s was eliviated by the Korean conflict. In the 1960's and 70's it was Vietnam to the rescue. In the late 70's and 80's, the USA sold munitions to other countries( Iraq vs. Iran; Arms race with the USSR escalated; various small conflicts occured as well Lybia, Lebanon et al. In the 90's recession it was Iraq Pt. I and Pt. II followed after the dor com bust in the late 90's and early 2000's. It should be obvious that the mechanisms of capitalism are maintained and oiled by the military industrial complex. Time and again this has been proven, to the chagrin of Eisenhower no doubt ( in regards to his famous military-industrial complex warnings as he left office) Therefore, to continue logic, ask your congressperson or senator to lobby the government to start a large, full scale war. It provides employment on the battlefield and on the homefront. It unites all countrymen. Saudi Arabia should be a nice start. China would be way to much of an undertaking at the moment, as they own most of the USA debt. get them at a later datae. This may sound tounge in cheek, but its all about scarcity, and there just is't that much to go around anymore.....

    February 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  11. Kathy

    I am heartened by the many positive comments and the willingness of some to be patient and make the sacrifices necessary to get beyond this difficult era. I agree with those who see Mr. Gergen as a voice of reason and objectivity. I can barely stand commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Lou Dobbs. If their ideas are that good, why can't they communicate them in a way that will interest and motivate those who can carry them out? It is so easy to criticize when you don't have the whole story OR the final responsibility.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  12. Jesse

    Chris, Your president has his name on that the 340 billion black hole also (of course at least he didn't cop out and vote present) and don't go crying when this stimulous bill does not work either but I suppose that will be Bush's fault also. That's the problem with this country today it is always someone elses fault. The democrats were the brain child behind the so called everyone should own a home even if they can't afford it. I believe this mortgage crap is what got us here. Oh I believe Pres Clinton was the author but I guess that wasn't his fault just like he didn't inhale!!!!!!!!!!! And guess what, the only thing Clinton did right while he was in office was Welfare reform which Pres Obama will handidly reverse that.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  13. Jerry

    Printing up a gazillion dollars and trying to use them to spend your way out of a recession will definitely stimulate one thing, for sure: catastrophic inflation. The good news: we'll all be billionaires. The bad news: we won't be able to buy a loaf of bread.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  14. Pat

    David,

    We need to get smart. We need as many as possible on the same page if we are going to have a chance. The republicans must stop digging in their heels and start contrubuting to the solution. They have been enriched for many years now. It is now time to pay for their wealth generation. The stimulus package is partly the result of thier action. In regards to what needs to happen:
    Auto Industry – Produce reliable smart cars that last. Reorganize via the bankruptcy court. Union will have to give.
    Housing – Start working out those loans immeditely.
    Banking -Let those leverage assets that have been swaped, future traded, derivatives net out to wherever the counter transaction sits and the loss fall where it may.
    Finally, we in america need to stop fighting and get busy correcting the error of our ways. We need confidence out hear and stop the its my way or the highway, both democrates and repulicans.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  15. M

    I expected this from Obama, I did not vote for him. He lied during the general election, if people had paid attention to the primaries Obama would be no surprise. Those that thought how great it would be to give him a chance well THANKS, This country will never be the same! Only days in office and generations will have to pay.

    He has already broken promise after promise.
    Was the stimiulus on internet for review before voting from congress?
    Was Stimulas bill given 5 days for review before Obama signed?

    Obama the greatest liar on all time. A President we can all be proud of just like Jimmy Carter.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  16. Mike in Va

    BTW.....IF they seriously read the bill..package...whatever..(I call it Sci-Fi.)..I mean really read it...each member of congress and senate...they could NOT sign it for three months...three months from now..if they READ it FULLY....Not in the time they had it, debated it...and passed it and the president signed it.....It is IMPOSSIBLE. It would take that long to digest it all.......but nooooooooo its sign a "Blind Bill"...that's what the people want right?

    Page 14,678 could say... they will take guns away from each legal owner...it is now ILLEGAL to own one..does it? Hummm...I wonder?

    February 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  17. Fed Up

    True leadership is lacking everywhere; in business and in government. Those in the executive and legislative branches of our government are simply not skilled enough to lead us out of this mess.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  18. jarrod Newark, Ohio

    I made some money and went to the ferrari dealer to pick up my car and they called the police they was going to arrest me for impersonating a politician???????? WHAT THE

    February 17, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  19. Jackie in Dallas

    All of these situations have global elements. Half of American cars are built in main, or their parts are, in other countries. Half of the foreign cars sold here are actually built here. I think the structured bankruptcy has the greater flexibility, because it will allow the US auto manufacturers to get out from under the thumb of bloated unions. Sorry, I don't think that someone who screws in side panels in a car should be making more than my physician!

    Nationalizing banks. Hmm. Not too fond of that option, but it may be the necessary step to take. Most industrialized countries have nationalized banks and do just fine with them. Typically, Americans think that this is socialism, just like universal health care, when it really is not. What we DO need is regulation back and enforced, both for banks and other financial institutions!

    The housing situation is possibly the simplest situation to fix. First, a moritorium on foreclosures as long as the owners are making some effort to make payments. Two, restructure ARM loans to a fixed rate, long-term loan, with negative consequences if people buy houses to flip and sell. Houses should be homes, not short-term investments. When I bought mine (on a VA-backed 30-year loan), I intended to live in it, probably for the rest of my life. I understand that growing families might want to buy up, but generally, stop thinking of houses as money trees and you reduce the impact that all these flip and sells have had on the market.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  20. Susie, San Clemente, California

    What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again expecting the same results.

    If we all do not see that nothing is changing and our politicans no matter who they are are not doing a thing to help the middle class you are on "Train to Nowhere". and selling you a line of BS...I just have to believe we are all not that stupid. Not much more than 52% of our country voted for Obama....glad to say I was not one of them becuase I don't believe any politican...Democrat or Republican...I believe in working for what you have and I am not looking for a handout. For those that are...what are you going to when the taxpayers who pay for all the freebies finally give up and join you?

    We are being robbed pure and simple and unless we take a stand against the insanity path I think we will all come to regret for not only ourselves in the current economic situation we are in, but for our children and future generations.

    Vote out every single Congressman and Senator and put in somebody new...and if Obama's plan doesn't work...get rid of him too in 4 years and put someone else in.

    Change is more than a PResident....it is putting in a New everything. Doesn't do much good to put in a new President if you have the same old dogs (Congress and Senate) not doing any new tricks wtih him allowing the old dogs to write the tricks.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  21. Bill

    Hey, Give Obama a break. He's really only spending $30 billion dollars a day since he's been in office. That's only about $100 per person in the US. He's only been in office 26 days. $787B / 26 days= 30 Billion Dollars a day. There, now that's an easier pill to swallow. Isn't it? OOOPS, I forgot about the interest.....

    February 17, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  22. Sam

    Letter sent to the President

    Mr. President:

    The most money that was lost during this economic downturn is retirement money. This is due to current regulations that only allow retirement funds to be deposited with financial institutions or invested in the stock market.

    I urge you to consider new regulation that would allow the investing of retirement money into the real estate market for purchase of a new property, capital reduction to existing property, monthly payment for struggling home owners, etc. The government can then lien the property for tax due.

    Real estate is a more sound long term investment than the stock market. Have you ever seen a real estate property that did not appreciate in 10 years? To the contrary, in the last 13 years I have seen my portfolio drop in value about 50 percent.

    Allowing the investment of retirement money into real estate is a win-win solution for the American people. It would boost the construction industry, help out the mortgage / credit crisis, minimize foreclosures, put more investment money in people hand and most of all, preserve the retirement funds for tax payers.

    Thank you for your time.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  23. jarrod Newark, Ohio

    why did it have to go denver to be signed

    February 17, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  24. MABEL JUDON

    This is a general question to the Republican Party in Washington who seem to have so much criticism for President Obama's Stimulus Bill

    Why is it that for the last eight years , all of your ideas and plans have failed to improve the economy and actually made it worse.??????
    Please allow President Obama's plan the chance to see if it will work!!!
    OK!!! You had your chance and really messed us up!!
    Thank you.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  25. Mike in Va

    Thanks for all the comments on my story...

    First off, if anyone had any dealings with the SBA they would know what I do, they are USELESS to small business..just another agency to make you think DC cares. Second, I would not care one bit about coming from Mexico to start a new life, just do it LEGALLY like everyone else. I have friends in skilled trades get laid off so illegal under the table Mexicans got work saving big business millions in labor costs. And please don't even try and say it does not happen..it does, wake up! The illegal immigrants themselves say they don;t want to pay taxes or help...they are laughing at us! I hear it all the time...from them! 22 live right across the street from me.

    Third...I have been a small business owner and got NOT A SINGLE DIME..as I said I worked TWO jobs to save my own money to start it. Then have two contracts drop due to budget cuts on us. When does it end?

    Lastly...NOT A SINGLE senator or congressman read the package...NOT ONE..they just signed off on it taking Obama at his word on what it had in it and not one person asked the important question...sure there's social services, education and transportation funding in it...but how much? To Who? And Over what timeframe?
    They all just accepted the fact these things are there..and they just might be...but what else? and how much? to who? Not a single asking question.......have you read it?

    February 17, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  26. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    David:
    This is a bit off subject but what is the story with this 'fairness doctrine' on radio that i keep hearing about ?

    I am a conservative Ronald Reagan supporter turned Liberal Democrat ..... but ..... this smacks of excessive Government censorship of the Air Waves. I listen to the IDIOTS Hannity and Limbaugh even though I can't see any merit in any of their self serving rather shallow and myopic extreme conservative Dogma but I most certainly will voluntarily put my life up against their right to say it just like I did in Vietnam ! I find them quite humourous at times and it really reinforces my belief after listening to their callers that the 'conservatism' they preach is both morally and intellectually bankrupt beyond a shadow of a doubt. What , however , gives anyone the right including the Government to limit or ban their stupidity.. My God under this reasoning every word out of Sarah Palins mouth should be banned ! and where does this 'fairness' stop. Must we now force equal time to Zorroastrian religious communities on the radio as well and limit Christian Fundamentalist mumbo jumbo to some specific time frame.

    You know I like to say that Jimmy carter made me a Republican and that G W Bush made me a Democrat, only because these two represent to me the political extremes of left and right respectively. Let's liberal both new and old get a hold of ourselves here. Doesn't this sound a bit too much like Big Brother for any true Patriotic American ?

    February 17, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  27. Elmer

    Mr. President...did you read it before you signed it? I hope so since it is YOUR stimulus package as you emphasized on the radio on Saturday. With all due respect, and I have truckloads of respect for you, I hope you looked to see what those weasels in Congress added in when you weren't looking since you will be held responsible for its outcome. God Bless us all.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  28. Ray Fountain Inn SC

    David,

    It take guts to do this size recovery package that's why the Republican's didn't sign on to the program. At least we don't hear President Obama saying every miniute how he inherited this and the effects 911 have on the situation. Let's have this discussion in September since we all know it takes months to get things going especially in Washington. The good news is Main Street does get some benefit from the package. I was just sick and tired of having Bush puppets tell me how threated I was while the fat cat's got fatter.
    Now them and everyone else is on a diet.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  29. Joe Cool

    OBAMAnation knew what he was doing with Timothy Geithner...OBAMA is a first class Chicago Crook...Crook working for a Crook

    February 17, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  30. mike from Toronto, ON

    I would really like to see the greedy pay and not the single parent trying to make ends meet. I wish we could let those B&*&tards get what they deserve. As for a solution, I think giving every American a couple hundred thousand dollars or some amount over the next couple of years, coupled with a gas tax to bring in revenue and encourage people to buy more efficient vehicles along with investing in infastructure and not pet projects of special interest groups but ones that make life easier for commuters and encourage going to work on public transportation would really help the economy. The next point is what would have happened if we tried to artificially save the Steel industry? A waste of money. Are we doing this again?

    February 17, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  31. Albert W

    I miss Bill Clinton who was a smart president in last two decades and the only president who let people in this country live with confidence and happiness

    February 17, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  32. Fed Up

    the Porkulus package will just put us deeper in debt... and raise the "baseline" of socialist spending that is already out of control... the end comes when nobody is willing to buy US T-Bills.... then the dollar will crash against other currencies... the irony?... the very people that Obama and his socialist Congressional buddies profess to want to help ("the poor", "the children", "the elderly", the "blue collar workers", etc) will be the ones crushed the worst by the cost of food, gas, clothes, and utilities doubling and then doubling again.... and taxpayers will finally see the "European" (50%+) taxes that the socialists have secretly been planning all along.....

    February 17, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  33. Kaj NM

    Rosm,

    Please address my one (1) question, Have you read any portions of the Stimulus Package? My answer would be NO! Take a clue!

    February 17, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  34. pierce

    How will giving filipino veterans money for fighting to defend THEIR country in WWII part of the stimulus package?

    How is paying someone's health plan bill supposed to stimulate the economy?"

    How is giving more money to the mismanaged Amtrak supposed to stimulate the economy?

    Voodoo economics.

    Democrats and Republicans should be ashamed.
    Pork barrel that our children and grandchildren will have to pay. All in the name of political expediency.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  35. John

    Why is CNN just now giving us the truth about the economy and the inadequate stimulus. Anderson Cooper has been less than forthright with us. I would like to, but i just cannot trust his reporting any longer.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  36. Kevin

    The actions of our elected officials in the past few months are TREASON against the taxpayers. Thomas Jefferson warned us "God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.
    The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. ... And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
    resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as
    to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost
    in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from
    time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
    It is its natural manure."

    Get your guns it is time to take back AMERICA

    February 17, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  37. JC- Los Angeles

    It has become crystal clear that Timothy Geithner, of tax evasion fame, is going to try to rebuild Wall Street by enlisting the same "private" parties that helped drive our nation into the ground.

    President Obama made a collossal mistake in not asking Geithner to step aside and will now watch him try to get his Wall Street friends paid a second time off of mortgage fraud.

    By creating a "Private/Public Investment Fund," Geithner's unemployed friends that formerly worked at Lehman, AIG or Bear Stearns will now make even more money off of taxpayers.

    It will be fascinating to see President Obama's reaction to seeing the usual suspects getting paid again while the honest citizens continue to pick up the pieces.

    Only in America can money be laundered in plain sight.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  38. NYC REPUB

    To PJ, from PA........ Bill Clinton did reform welfare, so that most citizens of the U.S., can no longer just sit at home and collect a check. The provision was called Welfare to Work....... which is extremely active in my state NYC......... After a recipient is recieving public assistance for a certain amount of time(I believe 6-8 weeks), you must now report in to a workforce agency, where they usually assign a person(s) to park cleaning, street cleaning, etc.....

    February 17, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  39. bryan, VA

    I am so sick of politicians spending money rather than representing me. I am sick of them thinking they can have a "town hall" meeting and get to know what I am thinking and understand how I feel about issues. Nancy Pelosi, George Bush, Harry Reed, Barack Obama have NO idea what its like to live like real people and they really don't care. It's despicable. What a joke. Stimulus for there egos and cronies.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  40. Rob

    Where's my kiss?

    February 17, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  41. Albert W

    You know what kills this country??? LOANS!!! I don't know since when that people in this country started living in all kinds of loans. The word of loan has been abused significantly and lots of people are living in red and don't even realize that their debts cannot exceed their assets. Such borrowing culture really destroys the country!!!! Obama perhaps can lead us ride thru the storm this time but he alone can't save this country except we change our way to live. More importantly, we have to educate our kids not making same mistakes like we did.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  42. James

    We have to hang together through this mess. We can't start pointing fingers besides there is plenty of blame to go around. I know the President is doing his best for our country. He is right one for these troubled times so lets stay tough and united.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  43. NYC REPUB

    These problems that loom........ are depressing for the average person to come to grips w/. I will pray constantly, w/o cease for this president...........We need this admiistration to succeed, or these domestic issues, (not to mention Iraq, and Afghanistan), will linger long after Obama's 4-8 years. So Republicans/DEMS, let's get it together, and get ideas flowing......... Let's support this President........Let us as americans, fight to live the American dream.....The Pursuit of Happiness........ Through education, and re-education, of ourselves, and job skills.....

    February 17, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  44. LarryinMD

    Our new President needs to stop trying to help the American people. Everytime he opens his mouth, the stock market drops another 3-4 %.
    Either he realizes that this is a big boy job and let someone else step up or just go ahead and resign before he puts the economy into a depression that we cannot recover from.

    And for all of those that voted for him. I hope he keeps his promise to you. He hasn't for others, but that is what we expected.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  45. L Carilo, H.R. CO

    I'd like to recommend Russell Baker's books: GROWING UP," GOODTIMES" and "THERE'S A COUNTRY IN MY CELLAR."

    They provide great insight about what our parents and grandparents endured, sometimes unknowingly, during their "depression." Compare his experiences to your family's ancestors.

    Mr. Russell is awesome. Read, talk, learn, laugh and let's get past all this.

    L.C.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  46. Hannah

    LMAO at Every Wilson: How is an income tax rebate a handout? If anything, it's an interest-free loan to the government. What do you propose? A flat income tax rate? That's called the AMT and you'll be paying it next year fur shur!

    February 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  47. Chad from Indiana

    This country may soon be faced with a troubling decision – either cut back in our efforts to police the world (Iraq, Afganistan, etc.) or continue to suffer with budget deficits and a fragile economy for years ahead. The ability to balance and redefine our roles as the economic leader and the military leader in the world within fiscal constraints may become the bellwether for measuring President Obama's presidential performance. We wish him the best of luck.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  48. Steve in Denver

    First, any repub not for the stimulus...well, give there $400 to me. Oh n!!! you won't do that will ya? How about then a simple explanation where the first $350 bazillion of TARP money YOUR PARTY SPENT!!!! SPENT! Like spending!!!! Like crazy out of your mnind rob the public spending. You have no right to criticize. Come down from your height of hypocrisy. Also....
    If you have a credit card balance well you're number 8 out of 25 on Time mags reasons for the cisis. Blame the person in the mirror, then if your not satisfied blame the deficit SPENDING repubs.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  49. Steve

    The stimulus plan isn't nearly large enough. We were lifted out of the Great Depression by a massive public works project alternately known as World War II. After the war we were left with huge debts, but a booming economy. It will take projects of similar magnitude to get us out of the current mess. If the government to act decisively on this, we will be left with the kind of long term stagnation that has plagued Japan.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  50. PJ from GA

    Let's talk welfare. In the "stimulus package" just signed into law, welfare has no end to it. In other words, you can stay on welfare as long as you want. What has happened to this country? We give out our hard earned tax money to people who don't want to work and are not expected to give back. Look at poor California. They are now paying for 14 children whose mother is MILKING the system!! Oh, but she has a need to give birth. What we need to do is to EXPECT those on welfare to provide a minimum of 20 hours a week to community projects such as cleaning up our parks, streets, working with kids in schools, helping a senior citizen take care of his/her yard, etc, etc. This will get folks to stop "expecting" handouts and accomplishing something that the community will benefit from. It's time to wake up America!! I'm tired of supporting every lazy person and I'm not alone!

    February 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
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