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We all know the pleasure on Father’s Day of taking your kids out. What works for my little son is an amusement park, maybe a movie, lots of fries and a shake. (Take me out to the ballgame, alas, is no longer an option as most games run in excess of $100 for two.)
Barack Obama’s idea of Father’s Day is to lecture young minority men on the "cycle" that keeps them spiraling down. Here are his words from last Sunday:
"Just because your own father wasn’t there for you, that’s not an excuse for you to be absent also. It’s all the more reason for you to be present. You have an obligation to break the cycle and to learn from those mistakes, and to rise up where your own fathers fell short and to do better than they did with your own children."
Whatever else it is, this approach dovetails nicely with a recovery project — now approaching $8 trillion in loans, stock buys and other guarantees — that provides virtually no good jobs. It is now apparent to all that Obama’s priority in injecting capital into financial institutions means getting bank stocks up and filling up the coffers of our richest fathers. Not that they’re broke, mind you. Business Week reports that $9 trillion sits in this country’s private accounts. Check your account and you can figure out how much of that is yours.
What this recovery does not include is jobs now or anytime soon. An economist at Moody’s told the Washington Post this week that he figures normal unemployment levels (4 per cent) will not be reached until 2013-14. That’s four or five Father’s Days from now.
It is not just jobs. Obama’s habit of offering empty promises extends to his vaunted mortgage relief effort.
On February 24, Obama offered Congress this particularly offensive promise in a nationally-televised broadcast:
"[W]e have launched a housing plan that will help responsible families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their monthly payments and re-finance their mortgages. It’s a plan that won’t help speculators or that neighbor down the street who bought a house he could never hope to afford, but it will help millions of Americans who are struggling with declining home values – Americans who will now be able to take advantage of the lower interest rates that this plan has already helped bring about."
"…never hope to afford.."? You might have thought that someone who entitled a book, Audacity of Hope might have eschewed the "h" word when referring to low-income buyers. Brings to mind the oft-quoted example cited by Thomas Friedman about the $14 an hour California strawberry picker buying a lovely home he had no business owning. Beautiful homes are for columnists. Hope is for the deserving.
As with jobs policy, there is broad and growing consensus today that virtually nothing much is going to happen in the housing markets for those most in need. A recent report cited Wells Fargo (that’s a property on Democrat Warren Buffett’s much-touted win list) for failure to even set up the appropriate department to process mortgage relief applications. And why should they? There is no requirement that any bank do anything– a fact underscored over and over again by Jamie Dimon, CEO of mega-bank JP Morgan-Chase. In fact, failure to adequately protect shareholders is an SEC violation. Both Barack Obama, and fellow Harvard Law Review alum, John Roberts, mined that bedrock in Corporations 101.
Obama lives in a world where wage/housing policy and personal responsibility do not intersect. That’s tough going for dads who lost a job or never got paid properly for the one they have and can’t fund a day out– and for whom staying at home may not be an option, either.
Barack Obama hired an inner circle of some of the most irresponsible dads on earth and with their aiding and abetting crafts one empty promise after another. Now there’s a cycle.
CARL GINSBURG is a tv producer and journalist based in New York. He can be reached at email@example.com