This fall, our town, I'm sure like many others throughout the country, will hold elections. The posts being contested during this cycle are for supervisor as well as several openings on the town board.
Not surprisingly, my mailbox has been crammed recently with reams of campaign flyers, each candidate promising to hold the line on taxes while advocating "controlled" growth - both in population and in local businesses. But it didn't stop there. I received at least three voicemail messages a day from different contenders explaining why their qualifications are ideal to lead the hamlet to prosperity.
To be honest, I'm not impressed with any of them.
A few hundred miles to the South, I heard another re-election speech last week, this one disguised as the much-ballyhooed American Jobs Act proposal by the President.
As Obama called on Congress to pass a $447 billion package of spending initiatives, in the back of his mind - and surely his advisors' as well - he realized that this may be one of his last opportunities to jump-start his sagging poll numbers and avoid the moving vans pulling up to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in January 2013.
The proceeds would go toward infrastructure construction, local aid to preserve public-sector jobs, extended unemployment benefits and business-tax breaks.
The centerpiece of his proposal is both an extension and expansion of the payroll-tax cut - which the GOP said it would consider.
Obama also called for more than $62 billion in spending to extend unemployment insurance benefits through 2012 and fund programs to alleviate long-term joblessness. He also proposed $140 billion in infrastructure spending and aid to states.
But like most proposals thrown out locally or nationally, there's some degree of plausibility - the first and foremost being his insistence that it "would not add to the deficit."
So by asking the congressional Committee of 12, which is already pushing the envelope to come up with $1.5 trillion in spending cuts, to boost that amount and hopefully cover the full cost of the program, it will not add to that already astronomical total?
Wow! Now there's a relief.
But then there's his record on job creation - or rather lack thereof. And to no one's surprise, there was no prediction on how many jobs this plan would create. Also, the resurrection of the "millionaire's tax," which would trickle down to families in the $250,000 range, is certainly not the sweeping reform needed to free businesses from constricting regulation needed to encourage job creation.
He deftly avoided the noun "stimulus" which would have connoted less-than-stellar images of past failures.
Whether local or national politics, the song remains the same. I'll continue to treat both with an economy-sized dose of skepticism.
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