What’s going on….

That title  more of a reference to the song rather than life at the moment but it happened to come up on my play list as I was blogging and seemed a good enough title for what I was writing about. Like many I’m struggling with looking for a new job and dealing with the unexpected challenges life throws at us but I remain optimistic. Or at least I try to with varying degrees of success.

So on to current politics and news.

In some ways I was surprised by Tom Daschle’s decision to withdraw from the Health and Human Services nomination given that another tax cheat, Geitner, went on to become Treasure Secretary. Some were also suprprised by Obama’s concession of error, but I wasn’t. Whether the pressure came from the White House or simple genuine conscience on Mr. Daschle’s part I am pleased to see at least someone being held to some sort of standard of ethics and integrity.

This brings me to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and President Obama’s press conference today on placing limits on companies that receive government bailout money. Mr. Geithner really should not be Treasury Secretary given his tax problems, but he’s already there now and it appears nothing can be done about that. Now, Mr. Geithner is proposing executive pay restrictions to companies accepting government bailout money. I agree there should be restrictions on companies using bailout money but this should not be used as a stepping stone to imposing these pay limits elsewhere in the private sector. I also fear it may chase away talented individuals from that industry.

What I did not like in the brief announcement was the near petulant attitude of President Obama retreating to out-of-step campaign speak used when defending the stimulus bill currently floating around Congress. Given the opportunity I would remind the President that fifty three percent of the popular vote is hardly a vote that was “resoundingly for change”. He is the President now and needs to get out of campaign mode and into governing mode. That includes negotiation, compromise, and bi-partisanship that he claims to support.

As for the stimulus bill President Obama champions there is naturally concern that the “Buy American” provisions within it may spark a trade war. Obama claims he doesn’t support such protectionist measures but the majority of his party in Congress do support these provisions. Should the bill come to his desk with these provisions will he approve it? I think it is unlikely Obama would not sign the bill in such a case, thus setting off a trade war with our largest trading partners at a time of global economic turmoil.

Another story hitting the airwaves is President Obama’s announcement of his intention to cut the United States nuclear inventory to around 1,000 warheads. While a very laudable goal, I do have some concerns given past reduction treaties leading to “loose nukes” problems in Russia and what I feel is a dangerous lack of will in Congress to properly modernize the aging U.S. arsenal. There is also the concern of China’s continued expansion of its own nuclear arsenal and the proliferation of nuclear weapons into unstable regimes and regions such as Pakistan, North Korea, and the Middle East. I will wholeheartedly support the cuts but only if it is not used to undercut the ongoing anti-ballistic missile interceptor systems work and is coupled with updating the nuclear arsenal to newer systems with greater efficiency, easier maintenance and safety and only so long as such cuts do not weaken U.S. deterrence capability.

Obama also signed into law the new Children’s Health bill that expands SCHIP. The only problem I have with the law is it eliminates the five year waiting period for legal immigrants. I think there should be at least some waiting period for immigrants to ensure the system isn’t abused at the expense of the citizenry. That may sound harsh but personal experience with aid service being abused in Arizona by immigrants (legal and otherwise) and the failure of similar plans in other states is what fuels my concern.

So I’m off to join the rest of the unemployed now schlepping for their next job. Perhaps I’ll become a contractor, though given the poor credit market and economy that may not be a good idea at this time. Something to consider during the job hunt though.


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