Sometimes it's the audacity of false hope that hurts far more than living with reality.
President Obama chose three of the bleakest economic sites in America to stage his whistle stop tour promoting the new trillion dollar (with debt service) spending bill. More fearmongering followed by more unrealistic promises were the order of the day.
Elkhart, Indiana known as RV capital of the world is suffering. Orders for RVs that cost an average of $163,000 each are off. Way off. 75%. The companies and the people that work at them are in dire straits. Unemployment in Elkhart is 15% more than twice the national average. Obama has promised them a turnaround - soon, if only they will support the trillion dollar spending bill. Cheering crowds chanted yes we can and had visions of RVs rolling off the assembly lines again.
One problem. A $13 a week tax break for working families, or an increase in food stamps of $25 a month, or an extension of unemployment benefits will not stimulate one person to say "Honey, let's pick up one of those RVs this weekend, I've got $13 burning a hole in my pocket."
But wait, what of the corporate tax breaks? Won't that let the RV companies hire more people? They are a joke. Corporations are going to be able to write off more of their stock investment losses than before. Well, the only stock investment losses that can be written off are those that match stock investment gains. Check your portfolio. Stock investment gains anyone? A symbolic bust. One of many in this bill.
In Peoria Caterpillar workers were told by the new President that the new stimulus bill would bring back some of the workers laid off (22,000) recently. "Jim" (the President referred to him personally) head of Caterpillar, told him so. One problem. Jim held a press conference an hour later and basically said just the opposite. Caterpillar will be laying off more people after the bill is signed.
In Fort Myers regular folk listened and cheered and many had personal requests. One woman told a touching story of how she and her 37 year old son were homeless, living in a pickup truck. Obama promised help and the lady that we all felt quite sorry for got it the next day. The wife of a local state rep Nick Thompson and his wife Chene presented the woman and her son with a rent free home. Thompson is a Republican.
Maybe that's what Obama means by bipartisanship.