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home : opinion : news views January 25, 2015

6/20/2014 11:46:00 PM
All Lemons, No Lemonade
Gary Gerard
Times-Union General Manager

A poll out this week by Rasmussen showed that 26 percent of US voters think the country is heading in the right direction.
That’s a pretty low percentage. But, when you think about it, who are these 26 percent of people who think the country is on the right track.
What are they happy about? Immigration? Energy? Foreign policy? Health care? Environment? Economy? Taxes?
C’mon, what’s going right around here?
I hate to be Donny Downer, but seriously folks, there is not a lot to cheer about.
The economy continues to limp along, with negative GDP growth in the first quarter of 2014. Job growth continues to be lukewarm and wages are flat.
Oh, and this just in: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this month the seasonally adjusted price index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs hit an all-time high in May.
The BLS says the index has risen 7.7 percent over the past year and that the index for food at home increased 0.7 percent in May, the largest increase since July 2011.
The BLS reports five of the six major grocery store food group indices increased in May.
Meanwhile, I read in Bloomberg that gasoline prices in the US climbed this week, boosted by a surge in oil prices and will likely reach its highest level in six years.
The unrest in Iraq is expected to drive up the price of gasoline at a time when it normally would be dropping.
And I read on USA Today’s website Tuesday that consumer prices last month posted their sharpest increase in 15 months as inflation continued a recent acceleration from unusually low levels.
“The consumer price index jumped 0.4 percent after rising 0.3 percent in April, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Economists had expected a 0.2 percent increase. Over the past 12 months, prices have increased 2.1 percent.
“Core inflation, which excludes the volatile food and energy categories, was up 0.3 percent last month the most since August 2011.”
Did anybody get a raise lately around here? How are folks supposed to keep pace?
I know President Barack Obama inherited some tough economic problems. But it’s been six years now. Isn’t that enough time for a president’s policies to kick in and turn this stuff around?
I guess you could say I’m pretty disappointed with this president.
I have heard time and time again about this “laser focus” on job creation, but then there’s never a followup. There’s never a plan, aside from some stimulus program which amounts to pumping billions of tax dollars into dubious projects which may or may not ever create any jobs
And generally, if jobs are created, it ends up costing the government exponentially more than the job itself brings to the economy.
I just don’t understand how anyone could view government as some sort of lean, mean, job-creating machine. That just never really happens.
And it’s not just the economic part of the president’s policies that have me scratching my head. I fully don’t get what’s going on with immigration and the flood of children from Central America.
Why is this happening and why is the government powerless to stop it? It’s almost like the administration is supporting this illegal influx.
Reporters on the border say those coming across aren’t scared of the border patrol at all. Far from trying to avoid detection, they come across the border seeking out border patrol agents so they can get their free bus pass. It’s truly baffling to me.
US policy with regard to places like Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Israel seems almost unintelligible these days. I used to feel like I understood where the US stood with regard to foreign policy. Now I really have no clue.
I felt like the US was respected – if not feared – by other nations around the world. I felt like rogue nations were a little hesitant to do dopey things for fear of some sort of sanction or reprisal from the US and its allies.
I don’t feel like that anymore.
Truly, it’s one thing after another with this administration.
There’s Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS, Justice snooping on AP reporters, the VA and secretary Shinseki, Attorney General Holder, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the GSA gone wild, the Bergdahl prisoner swap.
Then there’s the “I’ve got a phone and a pen” executive orders that change duly enacted laws by executive fiat, like immigration and the Affordable Care Act.
I’ve been watching politics for a long time and I don’t recall anything quite like this. There were always scandals in every adminstration, to be sure.
But it seems like in this adminstration, there is a new scandal every week. And this is with a press that generally likes and supports the president.
Could you imagine what the press would be doing if all of this would have happened with a Republican in the White House?
Here’s an example:
When gas prices got high during George Bush’s administration – though not nearly as high as they are now – the press routinely did “high gas price” stories.
Night after night on network news we were told how high gas prices were cutting into people’s disposable incomes. We were told how people were having to choose between fuel and food, or fuel and medicine. We were told how people couldn’t afford to heat their homes.
Today, with gas – and food – prices at record highs, when was the last time you heard a story about that on your evening news?
Can’t remember, now can you?
Sure, you can surf the info up online, but it’s not being fed to the masses like it used to be.
So I guess I am not one of those 26 percent who think things are on the right track.
Really, I don’t ask for much. I just want things to get better. But I’m afraid there’s little chance of that with the current leadership in Washington.





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