Why We Need This Recovery Plan: An Op-Ed Piece

The Action Americans Need

By Barack Obama

Thursday, February 5, 2009; Page A17

By now, it’s clear to everyone that we have inherited an economic crisis as deep and dire as any since the days of the Great Depression. Millions of jobs that Americans relied on just a year ago are gone; millions more of the nest eggs families worked so hard to build have vanished. People everywhere are worried about what tomorrow will bring.

What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives — action that’s swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.

Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

That’s why I feel such a sense of urgency about the recovery plan before Congress. With it, we will create or save more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, provide immediate tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, ignite spending by businesses and consumers alike, and take steps to strengthen our country for years to come.

This plan is more than a prescription for short-term spending — it’s a strategy for America’s long-term growth and opportunity in areas such as renewable energy, health care and education. And it’s a strategy that will be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability, so Americans know where their tax dollars are going and how they are being spent.

In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis — the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

I reject these theories, and so did the American people when they went to the polls in November and voted resoundingly for change. They know that we have tried it those ways for too long. And because we have, our health-care costs still rise faster than inflation. Our dependence on foreign oil still threatens our economy and our security. Our children still study in schools that put them at a disadvantage. We’ve seen the tragic consequences when our bridges crumble and our levees fail.

Every day, our economy gets sicker — and the time for a remedy that puts Americans back to work, jump-starts our economy and invests in lasting growth is now.

Now is the time to protect health insurance for the more than 8 million Americans at risk of losing their coverage and to computerize the health-care records of every American within five years, saving billions of dollars and countless lives in the process.

Now is the time to save billions by making 2 million homes and 75 percent of federal buildings more energy-efficient, and to double our capacity to generate alternative sources of energy within three years.

Now is the time to give our children every advantage they need to compete by upgrading 10,000 schools with state-of-the-art classrooms, libraries and labs; by training our teachers in math and science; and by bringing the dream of a college education within reach for millions of Americans.

And now is the time to create the jobs that remake America for the 21st century by rebuilding aging roads, bridges and levees; designing a smart electrical grid; and connecting every corner of the country to the information superhighway.

These are the actions Americans expect us to take without delay. They’re patient enough to know that our economic recovery will be measured in years, not months. But they have no patience for the same old partisan gridlock that stands in the way of action while our economy continues to slide.

So we have a choice to make. We can once again let Washington’s bad habits stand in the way of progress. Or we can pull together and say that in America, our destiny isn’t written for us but by us. We can place good ideas ahead of old ideological battles, and a sense of purpose above the same narrow partisanship. We can act boldly to turn crisis into opportunity and, together, write the next great chapter in our history and meet the test of our time.

The writer is president of the United States.

Source: washingtonpost.com

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/04/AR2009020403174.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Grace in Small Things #34

Tropical Breezes and a Warm Blanket?

And for today’s list we have  the following . . .

1. Just finished a snack of a few Pepperidge Farms Gingerbread Men, which are not the same as gingerbread snaps. The snaps are thicker and harder and great with hot tea. The gingerbread men are much thinner and lighter, and it’s very hard to eat just a few because of that. In fact, it’s very easy to eat your way through half a bag of those little suckers before you even realize it, so I am very careful about doling them out to myself in limited numbers. I also hide them from Eamonn.yankee-candles

2. I love finding a new candle scent that isn’t overpowering. For example, I’ve almost burned down a Yankee Candle honeysuckle candle. Yankee Candles are more expensive than other candles, but I’ve come to find after much trial and error that they last longer than candles that aren’t in a jar, and their fragrances burn easily and aren’t overpowering but will permeate the air. I really hate it when I buy a pillar candle, and it burns unevenly down one side; that’s just a waste of money. Other candle scents that I am partial to include peony, fresh cotton, lilac, and lavender. Some of the heavier scents really bother me and give me a headache.

x-files-mug3. Coffee mugs. I love to find unusual coffee mugs, but they need to be of a certain width and thickness. The prettier mugs tend to be very thin, which is nice to look at, but not very good for keeping coffee hot. I have a mug that I bought at Starbucks about twelve years ago that has a nice wide mouth, and it is fairly thick but not too thick. Because it is the same shape all the way down, it has a nice, wide base, which is good because I tend to tip over glasses and such fairly easily. I love this mug and probably shouldn’t have written about it because now something will happen to it. Here’s a picture of another mug that’s been in my collection for a while.

4. My red throw. When we were traveling back and forth to Alexandria for my classes, Corey bought me a red blanket to keep in the car. After class on the ride home, no matter what the temperature was outside, I would curl up in the passenger side with my pillow and my blanket and go to sleep. Now that we don’t have to make that trip, I wrap myself up in my red blanket when I’m sitting at the computer. I suppose it’s become my Linus blanket, although the dogs try to appropriate it whenever they can.

5. My bottles of sand. I believe in buying tacky souvenirs from every place that we visit, usually magnets for the fridge, but when we went to Cancun for our honeymoon, I bought a bottle of sand to put on my desk at work. Then when we went on our first cruise, I bought a bottle of sand in Cozumel to sit next to the first bottle. That way, I always have a piece of the tropics and my honeymoon with me.

That’s all for today. More later. Peace.