Saturday, May 2, 2009

100 Day Verdict

So what's the nation's verdict on the first 100 days of the great Savior of America? There seems to be some difference of opinion on that. Let's see who says what.

U S News grades the stimulus package effectiveness. It says it's really too early to be sure, but . . . . You know when there's a but, there are weasel words coming.

A quote: "But there are some promising signs. Paychecks are receiving bumps from the Making Work Pay tax credit, and one major pot of funds—$53.6 billion in aid to states, 82 percent of which must be used for education—started flowing when California received nearly $4 billion in mid-April. Government officials also have reported that many projects are costing them less than expected, as contractors, crunched for cash, compete fiercely for the work."

Excuse me, but that last sounds like desperation, not success, to me. To be fair, the article does mention some problems. The speed of money being spent is too slow, in spite of the President's evaluation that "this government effort is coming in ahead of schedule and under budget."

"We're losing perspective about how much is actually getting accomplished," says Bill Gale, the director of the Brookings Institution's economic studies program. Well, yes, that would be a problem, wouldn't it?

Another quote: One change that critics would like to see is better systems to stop waste before it starts, rather than relying on investigations and other mechanisms that kick in after the spending occurs. David Walker, the former head of the GAO, says that this was a key lesson from the first bank bailout legislation passed under the Bush administration. "We wasted tens of billions of dollars because we didn't have clearly defined criteria, objectives, and conditions," says Walker, who now runs the fiscally conservative Peter G. Peterson Foundation. "We don't want the same thing to happen."

All in all, the article leaves the question of success on this issue totally open.

CBS News has an article about the first 100 days grades. You can see if you agree or disagree. "Today is President Obama's 100th day in office, and we asked The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, CBS News' chief political consultant, to grade the president's performance on a variety of policy areas." I have to disagree with much of it. I definitely wouldn't give Obama an A on World Affairs! Be sure to grade him yourself so you get a list of how others are seeing things. I was pleasantly surprised to see that he's not getting a pass on everything by everyone. It may actually reflect a fairly honest expression of citizen's opinions.

Rush Limbaugh explains why you can't give Obama an F now. It makes sense! A caller, who is an unemployed baker, made some interesting points. Limbaugh gives him a D, basically. Not a surprise there. At the foot of the page, there are links to articles in Newsmax, National Review, American Thinker and Heritage Foundation. Well worth taking a look.

If you understand economic speak, try CNBC's Mad Money article which analyzes the stock market response to what's happened in 100 days.

I obviously don't understand economic speak. After saying that the stocks we depend on as a hedge against recession are all down, and GM has lost 41% (which is supposed to be a good thing, because Obama is now going to let it fail - if you call Government ownership failure, which I actually do, but not "real" failure, not the kind of failure you and I would experience if our personal finances were as bad as GM's), and other negative indications, it says this.

"These factors combined are enough for Cramer to give President Obama two thumbs up for his first 100 days in office. Stocks are much better judge of performance, he said, than any pundit. And the message these stocks are sending is loud and clear." Well, not so much, to those of us who are looking at losing our investments right and left.

Peter Feaver in Shadow Government gives him and his team "a respectable B-." This is a foreign policy grade only. He does point out that certain things, Iraq for example, are not greatly different than the policies of Bush. I agree with that, but there's more to his foreign policy decisions than Iraq. However, he makes intelligent points for his view, and it's worth reading.

Campaign Spot gives an impressive 18 promises that have been broken in the first 100 days. Read them to see if you remember the promise, and see where it was broken. If you click on links, you may find more double-speak.

Time has an article which headlines Obama's "impressive performance" in the 100 days. Here are two quotes from that one. "His (Obama's) house built on rock had five pillars — new rules for Wall Street, new initiatives in education, alternative energy and health care, and eventually budget savings that would bring down the national debt . . . ." and, "The most important thing we now know about Barack Obama, after nearly 100 days in office, is that he means to confront that way of life directly and profoundly . . . ."

I think that's a fair balance on both sides of the question of how Obama did in his first 100 days. If you wonder how I chose the sites, I used dogpile with the search string "Grading Obama's 100 Days." Then I went down the list and picked the first ones which seemed to be actual news and not someone's blog, how to buy Obama's 100 days on bizrate, or something about grading in construction. Try the string for yourself to find more sites.

So why did I do this? I wanted to check my own temperature. See if I'm standing alone in the field, or if there are others out here on the fringe lunatic edge with me. (For those who had their sense of humor chip removed, that was a joke from a Bible-hugging, gun-toting, independent-voting, 'Don't Tread on Me'-loving, citizen.) It turns out that I'm not alone out here. Yay!

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