Tuesday, February 3, 2009 Michael_Jackson_Talk_RadioMichael_Jackson_Talk_Radio

Michael_Jackson_Talk_Radiocapitalver the years since President Jimmy Carter was ousted from office in 1981, after a single term, he has considerably improved in the polls of public acceptance. When he left office, his approval rating in the Gallup Poll was a lowly 34%. That was the standing of President Bush when he concluded his 8th year as our leader. Since returning to private life, Carter's achievements have been significant worldwide. He won the Nobel Peace prize, continues to build houses with Habitat for Humanity, been an election observer in several countries, written something like two dozen books and worked, successfully, through the Atlanta-based Carter Center. The work at the center has virtually eliminated the debilitating Guinea worm disease in Africa. President Carter has proven that the end of a term in office, or two in the case of President Bush, does not mark the end of life or necessarily affix forever the public's response to the former incumbent's remaining years. The only modern president to score lower than Carter and Bush was Harry Truman. Now judged by many as an outstanding president, when he packed up and left Washington he scored a mere 32%. Now he’s viewed with far greater respect.

Jimmy Carter feels that the passage of time might well be more generous to George W. Bush. Respectfully, I find that hard to believe or accept. President Jimmy Carter has written "I don't think there's any doubt, as time goes by, it is very likely that the animosity or the negative ratings will ease up for Bush; he'll see his popularity go up."

If Mr. Carter is to be accurate it would surely depend on what Number 43 contributes henceforth, as a very public citizen. I cannot think of anything to which Mr. Bush can point with pride or a sense of real achievement.

If you look to the Bush years we had a White House that seemingly failed to put front and center the middle class in its economic policies. The new president has made clear his intention to change this. America's middle class is hurting. Trillions, literally, trillions of dollars in home equity, retirement savings and college savings have gone forever. And daily more and more Americans are losing their jobs. Vice President Joseph Biden in a recent commentary posed the questions which, hopefully, the Obama/Biden administration will be able to answer.

What can we do to make retirement more secure?

How can we make child and elder care more affordable?

How do we improve workplace safety?

How are we going to get the cost of college within reach?

What can we do to help weary parents juggle work and family?

And above all else, what are the jobs of the future? (Perhaps they will be in greater numbers, green jobs, better-paying jobs and better quality jobs".)

These are just some of the issues with which the former U.S. Senator Joe Biden, now our Vice President, will be focused on. In government as in life, we need clear goals to succeed. In the Obama/Biden administration, they are setting a very clear goal; the administration will have succeeded if the middle class once again starts to share directly in the economic success of this nation.

Over at least the past quarter century I have had the great good fortune to share my microphones with some of the truly great minds in the world of economics; bankers, Wall Street gurus, Nobel Laureates, professors, honorable and dishonorable traders, world leaders, cabinet members and presidents. One of the most frequent and reliable of the voices has been that of the Canadian-born Mort Zuckerman. He has never shied away from an invitation to speak with uncommon grace, clarity and knowledge. His biography fills pages but suffice it to say here and now he is the co-founder and chairman of the real estate firm Boston Properties. That's the business to which he owes his considerable fortune. He happens to own the New York Daily news and the US News and World Report. Recently in an interview with the Financial Times he was asked "How much worse will the economic crisis get?” If the government has to intervene even further in the financial system, how much extra do you think it's going to end up spending on that. His answer? "Well nobody quite knows where the bottom is, but I think it's going to get substantially worse". Larry Summers estimated that it would take somewhere between a trillion and a half dollars and three trillion dollars just in a sense, to refloat the financial system. I'd wager it will most likely come out near the top end of that range.

There'll be much more... tomorrow and tomorrow,

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