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> OBAMA as the next US president
Les Infanterie
post Dec 8 2008, 11:16 PM
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any opinion - on how he would lead USA and how his decisions would affect our country?
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lafferty
post Dec 17 2008, 11:03 PM
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Interesting question.

Barack Obama as a leader I believe will be a sharp departure from George Bush's brand of leadership. Obama - depite being viewed as being one of the most liberal members of the US Senate - will govern from the center and will not be tied down with ideological underpinnings. This is what will spell the difference between success and failure for his first term in office. He will approach issues with fresh perspectives, deep respect for the contrasting opinions for each issue, a willingness to listen to opposing points of views, and a commitment to bipartisanship. Obama's policies and directions to address the various economic, national security, social, environmental issues will not be based on either a liberal or a conservative bent but rather be more pragmatic, action-oriented, and results-driven. This is what the American electorate voted him into office for.

While we still need to get a better sense on how his vision and policies will affect Asia in general and the Philippines in particular - what will be clear going forward will be the United States attempting to address global problems in a more multilateral partnership approach with other countries and global institutions. This will be so much different from the 'go-it-alone' approach the outgoing Bush administration subscribed to and which cost America critical international support and sympathy in the aftermath of 9/11. Thus the talk of closing down Guantanamo, recommitting resources from Iraq to Afghanistan in tandem with NATO allies, working with EU and developing nations to combat global warming and CO2 emissions, etc..

However, given the deep economic recession that the United States is engaged in I will not be surprised that an Obama adminstration be less supportive of global free trade (as espoused and driven by the Bush administration) to protect American industries and jobs. Rightly or wrongly the American public still needs to be convinced of the merits of free trade. Bush has not done a very good job in articulating why increased gloabl free trade will be a boon for Americans (in terms of both lower priced goods and higher-paying jobs from the 'new economy'). Against this backdrop we should expect renegotiations on free trade agreements, increased rhetoric to safeguard American jobs from being outsourced, and increased pressure to open markets for more American products.

Bottomline Obama - while a truly inspirational and a once in a generation kind of a leader with strong global mass appeal - will very much be keen on upholding and promoting American economic and political interests. He has the political capital to proceed with this. Whether several of these will be in conflict with our own interests will not be in doubt. The challenge for the Philippines is to be prepared to engage the United States by finding common ground that will advance both nations' interests with the least disruption to our own agenda.

On that note though I honestly wonder whether our own President is capable of doing so like Obama.


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rabbaddal
post Dec 18 2008, 03:54 AM
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Obama is in a difficult position. At best, his economic plan will kick the US economy out of recession and get private companies to hire again. Maybe he can even balance the budget. What he probably won’t be able to do is pay down America’s trillion-dollar debt level, which means that bigger underlying problems will persist long after his term.

To her credit, GMA has made some - albeit incremental - headway in paying down the Philippine's government debt.
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lafferty
post Dec 18 2008, 09:03 AM
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Agree.

However given how deep the United States is mired in an economic recession most economists - from both a liberal and a conservative bent - prescribe serious economic pump-priming to re-ignite the American economy. As such Obama is seriously planning for and crafting an incremental $700B - $1T additional government spending in 2009. Thus there goes the dream to balance the US national budget. This together with potential inflation risks become problems to be addressed beyond 2009.

To his credit though Obama is thinking more from a long-term perspective and ensuring that American economic competitiveness is strengthened. I appreciate that his planned additional budget requests from Congress will in most part go to rebuilding America's creaking public infrastructure and helping spur the 'new green economy' that the US is most anxious to be at the forefront.

The concern that I have with GMA's current economic policies is the general lack of a comprehensive plan to ensure that the Philippine economy is insulated from the global economic recession. Her administration appears to be clinging to the hope that exports growth will not be greatly impaired in 2009 (thus our export industries will continue to hum forward) and that OFW remittances will keep domestic consumption afloat (despite indications of Filipino OFWs becoming more at risk of losing overseas jobs given sharp economic downturns in US, Europe and Japan).

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hoops
post Dec 18 2008, 09:51 AM
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How about the Bush tax cuts targeted to upper income American households and business owners which was Obama's punching bag during the election campaign? Word now is that Obama is reconsidering withdrawing these tax cuts at least in the short term given the economic recession. That coupled with his economic stimulus package will really drive the US national debt to levels unseen before. Bigger - at least in the short term - is going to be better for the US both from an economic and political standpoints.

There is though one saving grace from this impending explosion of the US national debt. Obama at least is forward-looking and being strategic in resisting the temptation to simply spend the bulk of his fiscal stimulus package on direct payments to poor American households. Never mind that from a short-term point of view this gives him the biggest bang for the buck. Obama sees in the crisis an opportunity to drive key initiatives on public infrastructure, education, energy efficiency, broadband Internet access, and health care reform - while at the same time staving off the lingering effects of the economic downturn and generating new American jobs.



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rabbaddal
post Dec 19 2008, 01:34 AM
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Any strategy that does not include paying off national debt faces 2 weak links: the cyclical nature of today's economies and the willingness of creditors to continue lending to the US.

The first is obvious. Principal on debt and interest must either be paid or refinanced at fixed dates, but there is no guarantee that the economy will always be healthy such that government revenues will be sufficient to make these payments. It's more likely that there will be periods of surpluses and periods of deficits especially when the economy is weak.

On the second item, the US has long benefited from creditors' willingness to lend money at easy terms. Maintaining high debt balances for a long period exposes the country to the risk of creditors eventually requiring stricter terms of borrowing (ie, higher interest rates).

Obama seems to be more keen on riding on an economic rebound for the next 8(?) years rather than deleveraging the country. That will be something for future generations to worry about.
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