Yesterday we watched as Obama and Bush met at the White House and it seemed pleasant to the press… as to what they really said to each other, we have only second-hand information and even that is uncertain. They talked about the economy, we are told, and I would imagine they talked about some foreign policy issues and other things.
We know Obama is pushing the “one President at a time” mantra, but he is starting to have influence in enough spheres that any changes by Bush in the next 70 days will be limited at best. We watch with a certain amount of anticipation as Bush gets ready to convene a G20 world energy summit that the President-elect will not attend.
And what about our economy and the way our corporate culture approaches it? Circuit City is in Chapter 11 (just as my wife and I are shopping for anew television to meet the February HD deadline imposed on us by the FCC), American Express is turning into a bank holding company and has been given a head start by being let out of the required waiting period (I don’t now why this bothers me… I guess it is the banking industry which lies underneath the current monster recession which makes me want longer waiting periods, not shorter ones), The AIG bailout seems to grow in size daily – as does the size of General Motors’ pleas for loans – and I wonder where this money will come from.
We hear claims that the jobs market will be expanded… perhaps with FDR-level National infrastructure construction projects. Since the infrastructure is falling apart, with bridge collapses all the way down to unfilled potholes as evidence that such work would be a plus to the country… but we wonder what will pay for such giant labor expenses. Restoring the tax levels of the rich? Adding taxes somewhere else? And what about my personal concern: 62- year- olds like me who were cut out of full-time jobs during the Bush debacle and who are forced into part-time low-income work while watching our retirement funds lowered to the point where any retirement by 65 will probably be impossible? Will we be able to find acceptable paying jobs in the recovery attempt? I doubt it. We are not even part of the discussion.
I have confidence in the team Obama and his friends are putting together. So far, it looks like they are making the kind of moves and appointment suggestions that make sense given the situation. This is not going to be easy… hell, it’s not even going to be just hard. It’s going to be a perceptually impossible set of circumstances to confront.
Keep your fingers crossed.