Back, some thirty years ago, as a diversion from my college studies, I would sit on the floor of the stacks at Columbia University’s Butler Library and read old magazines, among those, The New Yorker . My father is still a devoted reader and gave a gift subscription this year. This week’s copy arrived today. It has the best cover I’ve seen in years, a visual indictment of Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on large soda drinks. Mostly 50s film noir, but with a hint of Reginald Marsh , it is nicely done.
The inside has some promise, as well. There is an article of sentimental interest about Natalia Solzhenitsyn and the archive of her husband’s work. There is also an article by Ryan Lizza, describing presidential second terms and especially the plans, goals, hopes for the current president’s second term. As Peter said, “Obama Might Lose (And He Might Win)” . Lizza describes the good news, or bad news (from my point of view), if the president does win. It might not be so bad, “A key challenge for a second-term President lies in managing the delicate balance between what he wants (his priorities) and what he thinks the public wants (his perceived mandate)and taking care not to confuse the two.” This is a cautionary reminder to President Obama who clearly confused the two after his first election. He seemed to assume that everyone loved him for who he is instead for what he said. Peter notes, lots of people still like him in a personal way.
It could be really awful. Whoever wins, what’s ahead will not be easy.
Election Day is November 6th. Fifty-five days later, on New Years Eve, the size and the scope of the federal government are scheduled to be radically altered. Federal tax rates for every income group will shoot up to levels not seen since 2001. Payroll taxes for employees will jump by two percentage points. Unemployment benefits for some three million Americans will be cut off. The Pentagon will start the new year with a fifty-five-billion-dollar budget cut. The budget allocated to everything from the F.B.I. to the Park Service to meat inspections will be slashed by the same amount. Soon after, federal payments to doctors who treat patients using Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly, will be slashed by about a third.
Lizza doesn’t mention the looming European economic crisis and its potential for harming our own economy. Whoever is in office cannot do anything about it, but guiding a national response, controlling or unleashing inflation among other things, the president has influence. There are other problems to be dealt with, of course. It’s interesting to see what someone of Ryan Lizza’s politics considers important. For Lizza, “Yet, in a quirk of history, a reëlected Obama could suddenly find his best historical opportunity thrust upon him.”
He’s looking for what could be done if Republicans become “bipartisan”, which means they give up principles either “pragmatically” or by force of politics. The article develops into a prediction of what will happen if the Republicans are forced to be sensible. In other words, in case the president can actually do
to us for us if he wins reelection in the right circumstances.
The article is worth a read. It’s a great argument for supporting Romney.