The MGH Report

Michael G. Haran, Proprietor

A LETTER TO OBAMA

Posted by on Aug 15, 2012

I am a 65 year old white guy who lives in Sonoma County, California. I’m a registered Democrat but I consider myself a center-left independent. I am a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. I’m a veteran and I’m collecting social security. I am also working on a project which will combine curriculum, eBook and entertainment to teach middle schoolers. If this works it could revolutionize K-12 education as we know it.

First of all I would like to say that it is absolutely amazing that anyone would vote for Romney except the right-wing wealthy and those under their thumb. With their stance on reproductive rights how could any women vote for him? Being ultra-rich how could any middle-class voter even identify with Romney yet alone vote for him. With Romney’s promise to gut our national social services programs how could any senior or unemployed person even think of voting for him? With his hypocrisy toward Latinos how could any minority vote for him? And yet the polls, which I feel are suspect because of their small samplings, are relatively close – although it looks like you are widening your lead at this point.

It is also unbelievable that anyone would vote for a Republican U.S. Congressman or Senator. Maybe in ’10 when democrats were blindsided by the Tea Party but not now since these people have been exposed as the obstructionists and mindless tools of the right-wing rich. Most people were shocked by the tea party members of congress unwillingness to compromise regardless of the situation. Bring the country to the brink of default is not what we want to see in our elected officials. And what’s with this Norquist pledge? How can they even think of putting this pledge before their pledge to the U.S. and its citizens? Americans are so used to seeing congress work deals out that it was shocking to see this extremism.

What I think you have to do is put a lot of effort into educating the swing state voters. You should win the popular vote but, as with Bush/Gore, lose the election. In order to avoid a similar fate you have to “double-down” on education. In a February ‘12 article by Paul Krugman he states that Suzanne Mettler pointed out that “many beneficiaries of government programs seem confused about their own place in the system.” She states that 44% of social security recipients, 43% on unemployment, and 40% of those on Medicare say that they “have not used a government program.” That’s hard to believe. I mean we all joke that you can’t “under estimate the stupidity of the American public” but those statistics are amazing.

You would think with our education system in the U.S. people could not be that dumb – its mind boggling. So I think voter education in the red states is going to be critical. Remember when Ohio put Bush over the top in “04? One of the first things he did was to cut the welfare benefits for the poor. “Thanks for voting for me, suckers.” So I think the easy “low hanging fruit” part is going to be “Romney bashing.” The hard part is going to be educating people who don’t understand that they are not educated.

You have to show that the Obama Administration has not only handled the economy as best as humanly possible during the worst economic down turn since the Great Depression but also has established the apparatus for future growth. To beat the Republicans at their own game you have to continually state, “Everyone knows waste in government has to be eliminated and the deficit has to be brought down – but not now not during a time of such slow growth.” Most people don’t know that the unemployment rate would be much lower if where not for the waste cutting that has been going on at the federal, state and local public sectors. Unfortunately, cutting waste at this time, like cutting the deficit, causes a big drag on the economy. But that’s exactly what the Republicans want.

When the tide went out on the private sector exposing the rotten under pinning of the public pension programs people were shocked. When the economy was strong no one cared but when people started losing their jobs people were outraged to learn that a fireman with a high school education could retire at age 50 with a $150,000 pension.  A grand jury where I live has suggested that these pensions were instituted behind closed doors and may be unlawful. However, the California Supreme Court, so far, has sided with the unions. The billons in unfunded pension liabilities that look like corruption are the things that cause revolutions. I know that the democrats rely on the unions for a lot of their support but this isn’t right and there will be a big voter backlash, as in Wisconsin, if this problem isn’t solved. I’ve talked to our district’s county supervisor and he says that the county can’t do much with existing conditions without filing for bankruptcy.

The problem with job creation, as you all know, is that during the last four years business have cut waste by becoming more efficient which also meant cutting overlapping jobs. That said, because businesses have managed to become productive with less many of those jobs won’t be coming back even when the economy starts growing again. Now with Europe in such a slump that will continue to be a drag on our economy not only through the election but also for years ahead as Obama has mentioned.

What we need is a jobs bill that will stimulate the economy even if it means increasing the deficit over the short term. But, as we have seen over the past couple of years, this congress will never agree to a jobs bill. They have shown that they don’t care about the economy or the American people. They only want to get you out of office even if that means further harm to middle class America. The rich don’t care because they’re rich and they will continue to be rich regardless of who wins the election. It’s just with Romney they will get richer which is all they seem to focus on. That too is amazing to me since 70% of our economy is from retail sales and it’s the middle class who buy most of the one percent’s goods and services. You’d think they would care more about preserving their customer base.

This admiration would be wise to create a program that would bring employers to red state areas that have good neighborhood but where housing costs have gone down. Since the cost of buying a home has gone down dramatically employer could pay internationally competitive wages but the workers could still buy the most import family investment – the family home. You should conduct a study to identify the best neighborhoods with lowest housing costs. The cost of housing on the coasts is too expensive but a program like this would be perfect for Middle America. Airbus locating in Alabama I think is a prime example of this.

The cost of education in this country is another albatross. Watching college student cost rise while administrators continue to get raises to the hundreds of thousands of dollars they already make is discouraging students and parents alike – and look at how the for-profit colleges have become an outright scam. Why graduate from college with all that debt just to live at home and work part time in fast food industry? I don’t think this is sustainable and, again, it’s just not right. I think the only entity with the power to correct this is the federal government. Any college that receives government grants should be accountable for their costs.

But wait! – There’s more. With the three months left until the election you should build a crescendo with your campaign advertising. As stated I think you should start with an education program. Such a program should contain an element of Romney bashing which look like education of the facts. “Did you know,” and “It may seem” should be key phrases. By now you should pretty much know where Romney/Ryan is going to be going in the debates. Your ads should subtly start rebutting Romney’s positions so that when the debates actually happen he won’t have anywhere to go. Since the Republicans have no addenda for job creation or deficit reduction other that attacking the middle class the Obama’s campaign catch phrase with Romney should be what you used with McCain which is – “That’s just not true” and “look at the American people and say that.”

I think you are in a good position with the recent health care victory. You should keep repeating that the law is still a work in progress and will be refined as weaknesses in it are exposed during its implementation. Roll out a program giving manufactures incentives to bring jobs back from overseas using low cost housing in quality neighborhood as an incentive.  I, like most liberals, were a little disappointed when you pulled center-right in trying to deal with congress but now that the Republicans have been exposed for what they are you can now go back center-left with a passion to rally the base and capture the independents. Remember the guy that said, “I want the government out of my social security?’ Remember – it’s all about education.

What I would say to someone who would vote for Romney/Ryan? – “What?! Are you crazy?” That may not be the most articulate approach but it pretty much sums it up.

My personal connect to you was when he said to Larry Baer, the president of the San Francisco Giants at a fund raiser, “What’s wrong with Timmy?” So cool – it’s nice to know that Obama doesn’t spend his entire time think about running the country. It’s healthier and, unlike Romney, makes him feel more in-touch with us little guys. Also, being a fifty-year basketball player (at 65 I’m lucky to still be able to play full court pick-up hoops at our local high school) I would love to hoop-it-up with you and your b-ball buddies. I entered the contest but if you have an extra ticket lying around let me know.

So there you go and good luck – although it’s amazing that you’ll even need it.

Michael Haran

Read More