Friday, February 25, 2011
Obama’s evolution as commander-in-chief during his first year in office largely involved proving that he was up to the job that a 48-year-old former law professor and one-term U.S. senator who campaigned on ending the Iraq war had the resolve to lead the military through some of its toughest years in recent history.
Obama recently came under fire for his initial handling of the Christmas day Terror Plot but his approval ratings on terrorism and foreign policy issues actually outpace his rankings on the domestic policy at the heart of his presidency, the economy and health care, according to the latest USA Today/Gallup poll. A war-weary public did not welcome his decision to add 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, even though it won him praise from Republicans, but he's received good marks for announcing a draw-down in Iraq.
From keeping on as Defensrepublican Robert Gate Secretary to bringing the fist bump to the Naval Academy graduation, Obama has spent considerable time courting the trust of service members from the lowest to highest levels of command and assimilating into his role as head of the military, an institution that is historically skeptical of Democrats.
Obama’s challenge coming into the job was not that he didn’t have experience in the military in terms of making decisions, said Henry William Brands, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
“The problem, to some extent, is selling those decisions,” Brands said. “Because he doesn’t have that military background, he’s seen as less credible on military issues.”
The most visible appearances of Obama as commander in chief are the speeches he’s given at military bases, the visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day and the image of him saluting a flag-draped coffin at Dover Air Force Base.
But much more goes on behind closed doors. When Obama visits a military hospital, aides said, he sits quietly as mothers cry on his shoulder, or he puts on surgical scrubs to pray at the bedside of an unconscious Marine whose injuries are so severe it appears he won’t make it through the week. In class, we have discussed the particular roles of the president. In this blog, it tells of how Barack Obama has evolved as a president.
Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession’s first 18 months and that’s before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.
Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time in pay and hiring during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector.
The highest-paid federal employees are doing best of all on salary increases. Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009, the most recent figure available.
When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.
The trend to six-figure salaries is occurring throughout the federal government, in agencies big and small, high-tech and low-tech. The primary cause: substantial pay raises and new salary rules.
The report notes that the data analyzed do not include employees of the White House, Congress, the Postal Service, and the intelligence agencies or uniformed members of the armed forces. Adding these employees to the analysis probably would not alter the general outlines of the study’s conclusions.
This development would be remarkable at any time, but it seems even more remarkable when it coincides with a more-than-doubling of the unemployment rate, a 4 percent decline in real GDP, and the evaporation of trillions of dollars of private wealth in the markets for corporate shares, other financial securities, and real estate.
This development also highlights the division of interests at the heart of classical liberal class analysis, the division between those who gain their income from honest production and trade and those who gain their income by plundering the producers.. Now they are also the blank-faced bureaucrats, dozing over their desks in nondescript office buildings.
Even Franklin D. Roosevelt made a better showing in this regard, at least at the start of his presidency. Having campaigned against Herbert Hoover’s excessive enlargement of the bureaucracy and his large budget deficits, Roosevelt pushed through the Economy Act of 1933. This statute provided for substantial cuts in federal spending and veterans’ benefits and gave the president authority to eliminate some federal agencies to achieve greater government economy. Subsequent congressional and executive actions overturned most of the act’s provisions, but at least in this regard, Roosevelt’s heart was initially in the right place.
Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for Barack Obama’s heart. From his campaign, to the massive stimulus bill. power during the past two years, we see all too plainly that while those of us who use the economic means to gain our living are struggling, those who use the political means are enjoying tremendous success in their plunder of the productive class, and that this conjunction has been anything but accidental. Members of the plundering class wanted it, and they have brought it about, owing to the threats of violence that serve as the basis for all of their actions under the state’s banners. The relation to class is that in class, we discussed bureacracy as the government officials. We discussed the actions of organization in achieving its purpose or mission.