President Obama has wasted no time since taking the oath less than one week ago.
The President has gathered congressional leaders to lobby for an aggressive economic stimulus package and he’s selling an ambitious agenda of economic overhaul straight to the American people.
That agenda includes help for homeowners with mortgage trouble, help for the financial system with toxic “assets” and a myriad of tax breaks.
Over the weekend, his aides indicated that we can expect proposals for tighter regulation of the financial system alongside the $825 billion stimulus package.
President Obama wants to create four million jobs with the package, begin rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, reform the healthcare system, decrease America’s dependence on oil, improve educational opportunities for average Americans and do it all in a non-partisan way. Well, what’s not to like? In addition, one has to admire the President for getting digital by creating a White House blog, promising a stimulus package website to launch once the legislation is passed, bringing broadband to the Oval Office and retaining possession of his personal Blackberry despite security concerns. All of his activities in his first week in office seem transparent and bi-partisan which certainly feel right for this time in history. All in all, it’s been a good start for the young President.
So how dare I see any storm clouds on the horizon? Because – since I blog about executive careers – it’s my job.
I see a new (or should I say “renewed”?) class war in the offing and I’ll be interested to see how (if at all) the Obama team manages this. My fear was triggered by two unrelated events last week – and a lifetime of historical perspective. The first event was the firing of John Thain, former CEO of Merrill Lynch (yes, he of the $37,000 toilet!) The second was the announcement on his first full day in office that President Obama was freezing the salaries of all White House employees who made more than $100,000 a year. The media applauded both measures and so did millions of Americans, cheering for justice against 21st Century robber barons and the comeback of “the poor.”