I have friends both very pro and con Obama who have expressed tinges of buyers regret. It goes something like this. PRO Obama : I am beginning to worry about Obama – look he is having a Gay-bashing Preacher give the blessing at the Inauguration. Or look he is wavering on removing the Bush tax breaks for the rich. CON Obama: I told you so – he is going to out-distance George Bush’s huge budget deficits by a factor of 2 or 3 times.
So far based on his appointments and leaks to the Press, I would say that Barack Obama appears to be working full time on correcting the Economy; getting the US Foreign Policy Shambles rebuilt and put on a better footing; and get moving on US health care right away. A lot else can be found on the Change.gov website and in very specific detail. But having caught a bit of the Buyer Regret Cold, I have made my own list of Obama Promises to Watch.
Top on my list of the Obama Watch is the repairs necessary at the Justice Department. The place has become highly politicized and compromised; non-functional in areas like Antitrust and Financial Regulation (conflicts with SEC, FTC, FCC and others just makes matters worse); and just inefficieny and low performance in many areas of Justice Administration. My main question is will Eric Holder be side tracked by Guantonamo and possibly a Supreme Court Justice appointment and/or be able to hold the President’s attention in the face of Economic and Foreign Policy problems?
Second, is the Energy problems. The Change.gov website has a lot of very detailed programs. But it appears the Energy program has been caught in the shuffle on revitalizing the economy. True- there will be some spending on Energy conservation programs. But the crucial questions will be on Kyoto-like commitments to carbon controls; floor prices on oil, gas, coal and other carbon emitters as alternative fuel tax rebate payer; plus putting in place energy grid technology and marketing systems that encourages and rewards conservation and conversion to clean resources.
Third, is the Education deficit. The US continues to show small improvements in Science and Math test scores; but its competitors in India, Korea, Japan and China among others are doing much better(and starting with a substantial lead). And since the US appears to have given up on competing in manufacturing, it will have to out-think, out-discover and out-innovate if it does not want to become a low-wage resource and service-based economy.
So along with rescinding the Bush Trickle Down tax cuts to the Rich, these are the three areas, low on the current Obama radar screens that bear watching closely.