Saturday, November 15, 2008

The President-Elect's Agenda???

After the lights are out, the cofetti has fallen and the last shouts of the campaign trail has been drown out- the new President - will be left with a nation in dire need of leadership. Barack will have to lead in a time of national distress: both a recipe for success/opportunity (check FDR, JFK, LBJ and to a lesser extent Clinton) and for disaster (Check Hoover, Carter, Bush post-911).

Why not a fuller extent Clinton? Well, Clinton started awefully disastrously, adjusted quite well at the middle and ended omniously in a plateful of scandal. The difference usually is in the beginning and how much effective planning goes into one's presidency. Any attempt to try to do everything can become a disaster. Lack of priorities and an assumption that the political sphere can absorb an infinite amount of change can spell stalemate as the Clinton health plan revealed.

While Barack is going in with a lot of ideas on how to improve or change how business is done in DC he is best advised to check his ideology at the door and get realistic. Oftentimes his own party can be his greatest albatross: and the democratic is one heck of an indisciplined fold. first, none of his program is more important than tackling the global financial crisis and restoring confidence in the financial markets while ensuring a somewhat healthy stock market. This task is more important than health care this, energy plan etc. that he might have. The genius of his presidency will be how he systematically links all these plans with curing the short term ills confronting the market:

For example, how he can use the leverage of trying to strenghten the dollar to force congress to dump earmarks and draw down faster on troops in Iraq which reduces deficit spending. Or how he leverages his clean energy plan into jobs, IPOs and bonanze and new economy for wall street as well as main street. Or how his healthcare plan can be clad a tax reduction on business that makes doing business more competetive in the US and creates and preserve jobs at home. To do these, he will have to distinguish between a plan (achievable by legislative action or executive fiat: eg. stopping the Iraq war, stimulus spendings,regulatory reforms) versus initiatives (largely the healthcare and education promises) which are multiyear and multi-cycles.

In summary a grouping similar to below may be aquick sheet and insight into how an Obama presidency might and should look:

1. Stopping the Global Economic Crisis:
* Coordinated Regulatory Reforms across the world with other governments to modernize financial system
* Targetted spending designed to spur short term growth: infrastructure, middle class tax cuts & relief for small business
* Bankruptcy and Home ownership relief reforms: holiday on foreclosures for invested banks, reserve $100bn for refinancing option @ market value, allow keeping first home in case of bankruptcy and modifying mortgage thru government program
2. Creating Jobs & New Economy through Energy
* Begin massive alternative energy initiative (using windfall profit tax); emphasize new energy and job creation with eye at equity market lead
* Revise CAFÉ standards in exchange for loan guarantees for Detroit
3. Initiate steps to halt the fall of dollar by decreasing deficit spending
* Wind down on Iraq war rapidly
* Close corporate tax loopholes (alongside middle class tax cut)
* Cut spending (e.g. medicare payments) with eyes on saving $50bn yearly

4. Health Program Initiative (To Span all 4 years)
* Health care reforms starting with industry deliberation to cut cost, and steps to go electronic
* Open drugs importation window to force down prices
* Open cheaper government plan
* Extend CHIP for children and begin immediate mandates
5. Education Initiative (to Span 4 years)
* Create a coalition led by private charity- Buffet and Gates- to tackle inner city education;
* Target building 1000 charter schools solely privately funded by private donors to provide alternatives, competetion and reduce pressure in the inner cities with the worst schools
* Replace No Child Left Behind with open curriculum standards and funding for increased pay for (performance) teachers


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