Political Science is fascinating to me. A great example of it’s nuance is the recent tactics President Obama is taking in regards to Banking. He is proposing some new (actually old) regulation which would prevent Banks from using their deposit base as a means to fund the investment bank side of the operations. It is a move to quell populist sentiment that Bankers have gotten a sweetheart deal while everyone else suffers – hello 10% unemployment.
However, this new legislation is a complete left field left turn for the President and it comes as seats in Congress are being lost or expected to be lost in the fall. So as the President faces criticism for a year that has passed, he is now taking aim at his Republican colleagues and backing them into a corner. Over the last 12 months they have voted as a block against any bills introduced by the Democrats. I don’t feel this is the essence of a republic but I understand why they are doing it and it has worked.
But now comes a populist bill targeting banks, which normally pony up to Republicans. If the bill fails because of a Republican block vote then the President has something to tell the American people as midterm elections arrive. He can say “I tried to wrangle the fat cats, but the Republicans stone walled me.” If the bill passes then the President can claim it as an accomplishment. It’s a win either way for the President. The bill itself almost doesn’t matter.
However, simply creating jobs would also do the trick. This past Sunday, Thomas Friedman proposed to the President a catalyst type of plan to get jobs moving. It is anchored in entrepreneurism. To seed it he highlights these programs:
- NationalLabDay.org – Lab Day aims to inspire a wave of future innovators, by pairing veteran scientists and engineers with students in grades K-12 to inspire thousands of hands-on science projects around the country.
- www.NFTE.com – NFTE works with middle- and high-school teachers to help them teach entrepreneurship. The centerpiece of its program is a national contest for start-ups with 24,000 kids participating. Each student has to invent a product or service, write up a business plan and then do it.
- www.ten9eight.com – TEN9EIGHT, a thought provoking film which tells the inspirational stories of several inner city teens (of differing race, religion, and ethnicity) from Harlem to Compton and all points in between, as they compete in an annual business plan competition run by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).
And my education themed entries often talk about making kids do something. Memorization is not that valuable, teaching to problem solve is.