Obama's High Risk Gamble

Forgive me. I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade. I am compelled to say something about our current, deteriorating, state of economic affairs and the dreamland that Congress and our good President seem to be living in.

Those familiar with gambling, and from my new-found knowledge I include bankers, stock brokers and investment advisors here, know what it is to bet the house; to risk everything on the roll of the dice; being 'all in.' It's not the smart move; it's a move of desperation. It indicates blood in the water.

Gamblers know that if the dice rolls in their favor they go home happy, kiss the kids on the head, slip their loved one a Rolex and lie about how lonely they were while away. They also know that if the dice or cards turn against them; they are, to put it nicely, in deep doo-doo.

We're watching Congress and our rosy cheeked new President gambling with our future with an all-in gambit. They surround the economic gambling table wringing their hands in anticipation as they prepare to sling the dice. As they roll out the budget, sluice boat-loads of newly minted cash (and debt) into the market and propose to purchase the bad bank loans, are they really that confident that this will work?

They are. In the way that people are when they're not gambling their own money; they can afford some bravado, some reassurances that "we're on the right road."

Congress has developed a nervous tick however because they know that if this mother-of-all-gambles doesn't pay off - and quickly - that there will be heck to pay. It is entirely possible that for the first time in history that Congress (the faint-hearted should cover their eyes now) may be held accountable for their actions. And dare I say it, with far-reaching consequences.

Obama, who is visibly aging by the day, it is rumored (and his deepening voice on TV supports this) to be back on the Marlboro Reds, perhaps turning Clinton's former 'cigar' room into a smoke filled, cigarette-butt strewn den. He is under incredible pressure; pressure that few presidents have ever been under particularly during the first 100-day honeymoon. By comparison, I believe that Bill Clinton spent his first months watching TV, chugging beer and dodging Mrs. Clintons 'throwing of the lamps' if I am not mistaken.

To borrow a phrase that our young and somewhat naive President loves to utter "let me clear;" well, let me be clear, there is not a lot riding on the risks he and congress are taking, everything is riding on it. They're betting the house, farm - darn-it, the whole neighborhood. If it doesn't work they will have to admit that we are entering a depression that will see the dollar being replaced as a world currency by something the Russians and Chinese are already cooking up so confident are they that we're on the cusp of failure. Is there something they know that we don't?

Obviously someone in Washington has read about that flimsiest of commodities, consumer confidence, and has decided that it might be nice to work it into policy. As such, the President just recently mentioned that things are not as bad as we think. Really?

Unless he's smoking more than cigarettes and doesn't know better, I have to correct him and say that he's wrong, 'things' are worse. Much worse. His extolling the virtues of what remains of our spluttering economy is sounding hollow and is frankly inappropriate given the circumstances.

The huge numbers of unemployed, the newly homeless, people in despair as they fight foreclosure, the homeowners who are upside-down on their mortgages, know exactly how it is in the real world. It's not pretty.

No amount of glad handing is going to change the reality they live in. Actions, not words, are the only things that will help them. Fast action, in the form of tangible, real solutions - even just for the short-term - for their immediate problems, are what they desperately need.

Many people thought after Election Day that Obama would do for the average Joe what he and Congress have so eagerly done for the bankers and big business; provide them with a mini-bailout. Nothing special, just enough to keep a roof over their head and food on the table. Something to allow them to catch their breath.

They, all of us, are realizing that on entering the beltway even the best intentioned campaign promises evaporate when the true masters of our politicians - big business - come calling and demand payment for the cost of election; sadly at the expense of the electorate.

Tough times my friends. Tough times indeed.

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