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With an end of military's combat role in Iraq, the President has now turned his attention to an aggressive nationwide economic agenda.
By Yussuf J. SimmondsSentinel Managing Editor
Recently President Barack Obama spoke to the nation and said, "Tonight, I'd like to talk to you about the end of our combat mission in Iraq, the ongoing security challenges we face, and the need to rebuild our nation here at home." In reference to 'rebuild our nation here at home,' the President has embarked on an ambitious and aggressive agenda that is designed to re- build the nation's crumbling infrastructure including railways and airports; provide massive job programs; and stimulate the sagging economy.
He plans to do all this even though his approval rating seems to be falling and the mid-term elections--just two months away--may erode some of his support in Congress. According to some of his economic advisors, the continued weakness in the private sector continues to illustrate the urgent need for the government to maintain its role in creating jobs and stimulating the economy.
"Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work," the President continued, "To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy. We must jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil. We must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs. This will be difficult. But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as President."
The task seems insurmountable and daunting, and there are supporters and detractors, split right down the middle between Democrats and Republicans--the Tea-party members have just begun to scratch the surface politically, but they remain as spoilers.
Once again getting into campaign mode, President Obama took to the road on Labor Day and told a crowd, " ... there are some folks in Washington who see things differently. (Boos.) You know what I'm talking about. (Applause.) When it comes to just about everything we've done to strengthen our middle class, to rebuild our economy, almost every Republican in Congress says no. (Boos.) Even on things we usually agree on, they say no. If I said the sky was blue, they say no. (Laughter and applause.) If I said fish live in the sea, they'd say no. (Laughter.) They just think it's better to score political points before an election than to solve problems. So they said no to help for small businesses, even when the small businesses said we desperately need this. This used to be their key constituency, they said. They said no. No to middle-class tax cuts. They say they're for tax cuts; I say, okay, let's give tax cuts to the middle class. No. (Laughter.) No to clean energy jobs. No to making college more affordable. No to reforming Wall Street. They're saying right now, no to cutting more taxes for small business owners and helping them get financing."
But the initiatives that the President spelled out will only be realized here in Los Angeles when local representatives can maintain a positive connection to their counterparts in the nation's capital so that what President Obama is saying will stimulate the local economy also.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa issued a statement supporting the president's plan to improve the nation's infrastructure: "President Obama's plan to improve and build upon our nation's transportation infrastructure is exactly the type of investment our country needs. The President's plan will put people back in jobs now while building and enhancing roads and railways across the country. This is an innovative vision that will give a much needed boost to the economy and will create a better system in which these critical investments are made," the Mayor concluded.
And 8th District Councilman Bernard Parks said, "I think he's going in the right direction ...I think the financial situation in the country is so dire that the amount of stimulus that he initially moved forward on, he now realizes was not sufficient--that it did not stimulate the economy to the level that he wanted--and the domestic agenda of putting people to work is the key because unemployment is our greatest enemy."
And the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, the connection between the local and the national officials finalized the situation as she remarked, "When Congress returns to Washington later this month, it is imperative that we continue to work with President Obama and his administration to develop solutions to further stimulate the economy and create jobs, particularly for the chronically unemployed."
The unemployment rate for African Americans is 16.3 percent.