We have several major economic problems in the United States at the moment.
First is the cost of oil. It impacts each of us in terms of transportation. Every time we get in the car and go anyplace, it costs us money. For people who commute to work, the cost of their job has gone up. Additionally, in the winter, is is oil or natural gas which heats most homes. People either do without heat or they lower the heat a great deal. Needless to say, the cost of fuel drives virtually everything in the economy. Have you bought milk lately?
Secondly, the cost of health care. We can debate the solutions and that's all well and good. But we do have a problem. People cannot afford health care and they cannot afford many medications.
Thirdly, the housing market and home lending issues. The predatory lending practices have turned the housing market upside down. People have lost their homes as well as a large amount of money. The banks who loaned the money got paid----they all had insurance. However, those who insured those mortgages got stuck holding the debt and now several of these companies are about to fold. Jim Cramer predicts that if they do----and it looks like they will---that will plunge the market down 2000 points in one day. And I didn't add an extra 0 in that!
Lastly, we are fighting two wars. On credit. No sacrifice required on the home front.
Statesmanship takes place when leaders confront the problems honestly and directly and work to solve them. True statesmen (and women), are people who work to solve the difficulties no matter what cost they might pay politically.
Alas, a White House spokesperson called the housing market (a looming catastrophe) a 'housing course correction.' Don't worry, be happy.
The President traveled to Saudi Arabia to discuss fuel costs. They smiled and did a sword dance with him. He looked like he was having fun. don't worry, be happy.
Finally, the big gesture. Tax rebates. Everyone gets a check from the government putting the US further in debt and allowing everyone to buy some sneakers for their kids. It will be in the purchase of sneakers for the kids that will solve the health care crisis, the housing crisis, the looming debt, and the price of fuel.
Statesmanship or cheap gesture?