"Straight from the shoulder " by Toshio Masuda November 6, 2008
( Free of charge to the people I met)
The White House is No Longer White
The face of America has changed.
The presidency of the United States has shifted from the long line of white
leaders, largely put into place by members of their own race, to a representative
of the African American community that has effectively been supplied with
white leaders over the generations. The America that we have known, dating
from the Declaration of Independence in 1776, effectively came to an end
on November 4, 2008. Americaüfs first black President, chosen from the
general masses and largely unknown and untested, will be taking the helm
in the midst of economic dilemmas the likes of which the nation has never
This would appear to embody a power shift in the United States from the
elite to the masses, from the haves to the have-nots. We must pause and
ask ourselves what the American people, who have effectively rejected the
traditions of the past in favor of a largely unknown future, have in mind
at this particular point in time. In response to the watchword appeal by
now President-elect Barack Obama that, ügWe can do it!üh, the crowds shout
back, ügYes we can!üh What, however, lies ahead for the cheering and jubilant
masses, who have changed the course of the U.S. by 180 degrees overnight,
as well as for ügBattleship America,üh a stumbling superpower on the verge
I can only wonder if the world at large has ever experienced this great
a ügchangeüh in the nation of America? For incoming President Obama and
the general masses, the struggles can certainly be expected to drag on
for the time being. Over the turbulent times ahead, I can only pray for
the security and well being of the United States.
National Unity Fueled with Sweeping Senate Victory by the Democrats
I admit it. My prediction for a victory in the election by Republican Party
Candidate Senator John McCain, based on the perspective of what I perceived
as Americanüfs national interests, was totally off target.
The abject failure of the insurance taken out on Americaüfs national interests
to provide results is a signal, I believe, of the end of the so-called
ügCentury of the United States.üh A positive outcome of this election in
terms of U.S. interests, however, can be seen as the success by the Democratic
Party in seizing an absolute majority of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate
(winning the lionüfs share of the 35 seats up for grabs this year). Along
with gains in the House of Representative as well, Obamaüfs party has further
raised its strength in Congress. With both the executive and the legislative
branches of the government held by the same party, it should be possible
to fast track through the needed financial policies with maximum speed
At a point when there is no time to be wasted in using fiscal policy to
implement antirecession measures, the forging of a political system backed
by such national unity should be a big plus for the U.S.
In terms of financial policy, meanwhile, even President Obama will be unable
to avoid a course of war, played out under the name of public investment,
in order to raise his country out of the pressing economic crisis. It is
true that Obamaüfs campaign pledges include early withdrawal of U.S. troops
from Iraq. With regard to how he will deal with Iran, however, Obama has
yet to commit himself either way. I believe that the pundits who insist
that Obama will be passive about using military force are in error. An
examination of past Democratic administrations in the history of the United
States reveal just the opposite ? namely, that the Democrats have not been
reticent about going to war at all.
I continue to feel that the U.S. will be an active factor in the brewing clash between Israel and Iran (which should come next year). In that sense, the emergence of monolithic unity between the White House and the Congress may very well be a development that serves to lay the groundwork for the next Middle East war.
With regard to tax hikes on high income earners in the U.S., the concept of applying such a taxation measure to persons with annual incomes of $250,000 or more was lowered to the $150,000 line on the eve of the election. If tax increases are allowed extend to the ranks of middle-income earners, the U.S. economy will not pull out of recession, but rather continue its freefall until hitting bottom.
In my view, if former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker rises
to wield influence over economic policy in the Obama Administration, the
recession will worsen further. Back in the days when he headed the Fed,
Volcker refused to take action again the recession underway at the time,
instead choosing to rely upon the autonomous adjustment function of the
market, in which the economy is allowed to fall as far as it will, to restart
positive business activity. In fact, my recent remarks in this column about
how I would reserve judgment on my tentative conclusion that Japanüfs Nikkei
stock average has bottomed out in the event of an Obama presidency, stem
from my concerns about the influence that Volcker may yield in his administration.
On election day (Tuesday November 4), expectations for a new administration drove New York stocks higher by $303. The following day, when it was clear that Obama would be the next President, share prices fell back by $486. The dawning of the presidency of Barack Obama, therefore, was greeted with what can be described as a ügBlack Wednesdayüh in its own right.
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