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PRESIDENT DO LITTLE OR TOO MUCH

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Africa, no, the whole world watches as President Obama pulled his weight in America. But a prophet has no honor in his own country. Those who thought winning the American Presidency was tough for a Blackman, an Irish or a Catholic would realize that was the beginning or the easiest part of the job. What is more important was if the nay Sayers and political opponents would let them deliver. Obama was popular at home and outside but his constant cynics have turn most of his honey-moon and goodwill into doubts. Just as planned by his opponents.

The ailing economy of Africa that would catch a cold if the rest of the western world sneeze needed Obama. If he could bring his Country and the world back from the brink of depression, imagine what he could do for Africa. Granted, that it is a reason to change the system rather than depend on one Messiah to change a country or a continent. A rotten system can hardly deliver a miracle baby. Nigeria and Kenya would corrupt any system, even American political system that elected Obama. A great American system would be manipulated into cash cow by our politicians. If refined, cabinet system similar to that of the old Oyo Empire might work.

We heard so many one liners during the US Presidential campaign, one had to pray that under the leadership of Obama, USA and the world economy do not collapse. Treasury Secretary Snow of Bush Administration painted the picture of calamity and the end of the capitalist world unless Congress gave him the needed bailout power he got. Obama won and he gave the job to Geithner that almost lost confirmation. Some of you know what it is to be either over qualified or under qualified if you have been refused those jobs because you would do little or do too much. If you get the position and mess up, they are waiting to laugh in your face – I told you so!

By trying to torpedo his economic plan, opponents want to diminish all the accomplishments he made in such a short time. Paul Grugman noted we praised Germany's percentage rebound in real GDP recently when its austerity measure has not kicked in, but ignore USA rebound from Bush years that surpassed that of Germany. Obama's record already stands out: he ended the Iraq War as promised; reduced nuclear race with the Russians; signed equal pay for equal work for women; appointed two women to the Supreme Court; Nobel Peace Prize for his historic win of the Presidency apart from historic Healthcare law that eluded the Democrats for decades.

Africans are nervous and wondering if they are going to turn a President that has done so much in such a little time in office, into President Do Little or Too Much. All the western countries have a healthcare system that takes care of most of their people cheaper than the United States. USA has struggled with it for decades, not for lack of money but for ideological reasons that “Obamacare” is Too Much and must be repealed. A country that is spending more than the rest of the western world per person claims they cannot afford universal healthcare.

When Obama took over from the last Administration there were those who claimed he was taking on too many tasks at the same time instead of concentrating on one task at a time. He thinks a President of USA must be able to walk and chew gum. But the task before him were not artificially created, they were problems that needed to be solved in order to move forward. Healthcare was part of the same puzzle, and if one was not taken care of, the others would ripe the budget. It should be expected that until more US jobs are created and people start getting hired again, the ground is fertile for his opponents to spew gloom in a recovering economy.

Even when companies are making profits, giving bonuses and stocks crawling out of doom days, some people and businesses are seating on cash. They blame it all on Obama because he wants to repeal tax cut that has got the Country into bigger deficit instead of creating jobs since 2001. Yet they want more tax cut deepening the deficit. It is amazing how they have been able to get people into believing that more tax cut for the richest 2% that worsen the deficit, close schools, lay off teachers, police, fire fighters and turn some US cities into a developing Country, is good.

Most of the studies by neutral bodies like the Congressional Budget Office and W.G. Gale of the Brooking Institution show that the richest two percent do not need the tax cut, will not spend the money to fire up the economy and that most of them do not depend on small business for their income in order to create jobs. Even if the tax cut make up 25% of the deficit this year, the increase deficit in successive years cannot be sustained. Alan Greenspan, a conservative former Treasury Secretary debunked the twisted idea that tax cuts create jobs, as it has not since 2001.

The debate on how much to spend to stimulate the western economies will continue but we do not have to wait in Africa for either Obama or his opponents on how much to pump into the hands of the working-class and the poor to stimulate our economy. Their debate is more on the political side than on the real economy. They are willing to say and do anything to defeat the economic influence of Obama at home. They do not care what happens in Europe, Asia or Africa and how the trade between the continents may affect their foreign trade until they win elections at home.

African leaders love economy miracle, especially when it favors the very cream of the society. So if it works in United States, they want it implemented in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. We listen and watch economic debates in Germany, England and USA between conservatives and liberals on more stimulus or spending cuts. African countries, sell off government properties, banks and industries to individual cronies with huge tax concessions hoping that they will create jobs for the jobless. It has not in African countries, unlike old cocoa cooperatives, the rich personalized and pocketed the concessions. Only little people pay taxes: Pay As You Earn And Drive.

Most economists believe the western governments must pump funds into areas maximum benefits can be gained for each naira, cedi, dollar or pound spent. The areas identified are funds for the unemployed like small businesses for graduates and market women in developing countries; infrastructures like renewable energy, roads into rural areas to develop agriculture and related mini industries; building houses, schools and paying teachers and police to maintain stability and highly educated work force. Critics ignore the related jobs created as hand outs.

The advantage of pumping money into these areas is that they spur economic activities by injecting money into the communities. On the other hand, when money gets into the hands of the very rich, they can afford to save it, spend it on vacations or on their children and relatives outside the country. That is, the very rich can afford to delay spending while the working-class spend on food, housing, clothes and other necessities. If we need world leader backing, Obama and Democrats agree it is the best way to revitalize the economy, no matter what conservatives say about him.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Farouk Martins Aresa and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Farouk Martins Aresa