Obama’s to-do list: Nukes, NASA and Wall Street steer rustling
By Wayne Dawkins
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Over the past month, the news cycle has been flying by at digital speed with so many noteworthy items that it was hard for me sit back quietly. But as a college professor, this is the time of the year where students come first.
Finally, though, I’m physically unhinged from school in Virginia so I can participate in the annual William Monroe Trotter columnists retreat.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the notable headlines that are going to become hot issues throughout the course of this year.
Item: After President Obama’s pitched battle with Congress to get a health insurance law passed, he pivoted and transitioned to a new major policy move. Obama met with the president of Russia and signed a nuclear weapons reduction treaty in order to mutually reduce stockpiles by a third, and then he quickly followed up with a summit of four dozen other nations with nuclear capability or potential in order to strategize on how to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists. Obama is leading the United States and sharing the weighty nuclear arms responsibility with allies.
Item: Next on Obama’s to-do list was space travel. He proposed scrapping NASA’s lunar program and instead proposed contracting out moon missions to private interests and to partner nations. NASA astronauts who walked the moon cried foul. In effect the president proposed scrapping a very expensive jobs program – space agency work in Florida, Texas and other locales. When challenged, Obama clarified that he supported the space program, but insisted that American scrap the short-term work and aim later and ambitiously at a bigger target such as Mars exploration, circa 2030. The Constellation program was an indisputable boondoggle.
Was the president supposed to turn a blind eye to the colossal waste of tax dollars? No. Good move by Obama.
Item: At the end of the week Obama refocused on ground-level and proposed tougher regulation of Wall Street investment banks. Republican leaders such as U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky reacted predictably and bizarrely. Republicans have been so opposed to anything Obama proposes, they now are tripping over their own words appearing as staunch supporters of Wall Street corporate sharks preying on innocent bystanders as they laugh all the way to the [offshore] bank.
At the end of the week, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued investment bank Goldman Sachs and alleged that the company created much of the toxic loans that knocked the U.S. economy into deep recession then calculatedly bet on the investments to fail.
That is a spectacular indictment, but SEC investigators say they have evidence that shows Goldman executives caught hatching the schemes.
Goldman’s lawyers blustered that the federal regulators will not win, not because their case isn’t righteous, but because in this era of government-is-always-evil to reduce it, its watchdogs have less bite because so many of their teeth have been pulled.
The SEC should fight to the finish because Wall Street greed and Main Street suffering is still evident. Scoundrels deserve punishment and the afflicted deserve justice.