Thomas Edison once remarked that genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.
Since genius is a term I can honestly say has never been directed at me, I think the same holds true for practically any endeavor worth pursuing.
Like, say, being Commander-in-Chief of the United States.
In perhaps one of the most well-run and strategically savvy campaigns in recent memory, Barack Obama first hurdled someone who had all but been anointed the Democratic nominee as our 44th president and then in the general election, he steamrolled John McCain by a Grand Canyon-like divide of 187 electoral votes,
The president-elect has inarguably shown a remarkable ability to inspire. Unfortunately, now comes the part about the perspiration.
He, for all his charisma and previews of promise, enters the White House with limited political experience but with a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. That obviously will be critical in helping push forth his agenda.
But there’s some question as to exactly what agenda.
There’s a great deal of skepticism surrounding his tax and economic policies (I include myself in this group) as well as his propensity to court the special interests who were no small part of ushering in his crushing victory over a respected and far more politically experienced opponent.
He has to, in no uncertain terms, set the record straight for those who think an Obama presidency translates into a permanent place as The Price Is Right contestant in terms of giveaways.
I offer up as an example, the poor misguided soul in Sarasota, Fla., whose ignorance of personal responsibility has had the misfortune to be broadcast over YouTube.
According to her, she no longer has to worry about “paying her mortgage or filling up her gas tank.”
People have gotten drug tested for far less than that.
His tax and overall economic policies have been dissected — in this space, as well as in Accounting Today — and I would be somewhat less than truthful if I said I think he’s on to something. But that’s fodder for another column.
He has an unprecedented financial crises to confront, conflicts in two countries as well as a subject that went nearly untouched during the debates as well as the campaign — the frightening bloated entitlements known as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which are expected to exceed projected revenue by $50 trillion (yes, that’s with a “T”) over the next 75 years.
Even with his proposed increase in Social Security taxes and excluding the mammoth costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, the country is staring at projections of debt that far exceed the comprehension of folks like Joe the Plumber.
I respectfully suggest that our president-elect ensure that he has a contract with a reputable linen company.
He’s going to sweat through a lot of towels.
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