Thursday, November 29, 2012

Careful, Mr. President

Mr. President:

Two things in the news over the last couple of days concern me. First, your proposal to Republicans on avoiding the fiscal cliff includes $1.6 trillion in tax increases and $50 Billion in stimulus spending. This seems like a bit of a “cram down,” as in something you cram down your opponents throat.

Given the stonewalling and muck Republicans drug you through with the avowed goal of making you in their words "a one-term president," I don’t blame you. Not one bit. Giving them a knuckle rub probably feels pretty good.

But is it right for the country? We are coming out of the recession. To avoid becoming guilty of everything the Republicans said you already were guilty of in terms of potential damage to the economy from fiscal imprudence, now is the time to think about going after the deficit in a year or two, not adding to the debt.

You rescued the ship, now steady as she goes. The deficit is not a single-generation problem, it is a problem for our children's grandchildren. Saving the country for them would be a legacy worthy of Lincoln, and only you can do it.

My second concern is you opposing the bill that would grant work visas for 50,000 educated foreigners who could greatly benefit the United States. Whoa… really? These are the very people who will build the very economy of the future that you have supported, another move that could cement your legacy. 

Please reconsider. Yes, different people make different contributions. A PhD from India will contribute more than a maid from Guatemala. That does not mean the PhD is worth more as a human being, only that their contribution will produce greater returns. If you have to give up one for the other, just do it, as we say out here in Oregon.

Finally, I am going to tell you to be wary of the advice of friends in your second term. Many will be looking for payback, others will be looking a political windfall. Success for you doesn't work like that. Yes, they stood by you and were often right. Smart people, they helped redirect the pendulum and were invaluable. But you are in danger now of being pushed too fast in a direction where we are already gaining speed.

Slowly, sir.

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