Help is On the Way
In delivering his third press conference this week on the economy, President-elect Barack Obama announced Paul Volcker’s appointment to head his administration’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
In addition to announcing Volcker’s appointment, The President-elect sought to remind Americans that times are tough, and will probably get tougher. But he ended it with a fairly positive note;”There is no doubt that during tough economic times family budgets are going to be pinched, “Obama said,”I think it is important for the American people, though, to have confidence that we’ve gone through recessions before, we’ve gone through difficult times before, that my administration intends to get this economy back on track.”
As we approach the holiday season and Black Friday, all eyes will be on the consumer numbers as retailers are counting on the season’s revenue to stop some of the bleeding. Granted, there is not much Barack can do before he is sworn in, so maybe a message of confidence from the President-elect will go a long way toward helping the retailers. But we are still left with an economic quagmire. What else needs to happen in the economic theater from an Obama Administration?
In declaring “Help is on the way”, and that his economic plan will be ready the day he is inaugurated, the President-elect will find himself busy on 21 January. Several parts of his plan have been revealed and others speculated on. The middle class tax cut and an increase on the top wage earners have already been discussed, so what can, say, the US manufacturing sector or the agriculture sector look forward to in terms of help?
This column professes no knowledge of farm subsidies, but is there plan for ethanol subsidies? How will these subsidies affect supply in terms of food distribution? In addition, we are ignorant of ways to fix the problems in the manufacturing sector. In a time where jobs don’t have to go as far as China (Mexico is much closer), we wonder how to lure manufacturing jobs back to the US. Or whether we even should.
Factory and manufacturing jobs, with the exception of skilled jobs, are basically minimum wage jobs. If we have to raise the minimum wage to accommodate those who seek those types of jobs, aren’t we just perpetuating a lower class of earners? Wouldn’t it make more sense to break the cycle of minimum wages jobs for those who have families? High school age employees not withstanding (in the sense they are still living at home), it doesn’t make sense to plan on struggling through life. We wonder if job training and easier access to financing for trade schools, tech schools, and community colleges, might eliminate this cycle, and the need for low paying jobs in the community as a sole source of income for families.
So President Obama has his work cut out for him and his team. Volcker is smart pick, and so is the New York Fed guy. But it’s a tough row to hoe for anyone, it is quite the mess. So we await more of the details on the plan, and have to wonder if John McCain isn’t just a tad bit relieved he didn’t inherit this mess.