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Barry Fills Out His Bracket

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A few weeks ago when it was clear that the NFL owners and players were going to have a lockout, President Obama was asked by a reporter if he was going to intervene. President Obama said that he would not stating that it's something that the owners and the players union have to work out and it was not a subject that the president should be involved in. I was in complete agreement with the president. The president has far more priorities that need addressing and his complete attention than what is going on in the NFL especially during the off-season. I was hopeful that he was going to come to his senses and find that he has far too many crises to attend to and forgo a waste of time explaining his brackets for March madness. But I was wrong.

Perhaps this bothers me more than it should because I am not a college basketball fan, but President Obama has far too many things going on in the world that need his attention and college basketball is not one of them. First, there is Libya. After weeks of trying to figure out what's going on, the president has decided that Moammar Qaddafi needs to be removed from office. The United States is officially siding with the rebels... whoever they are. This comes after a crisis in Egypt in which the president has decided that Egyptian President Mubarak needs to go. The United States was sliding with the rebels who oppose the government... whoever they are. Whatever happened to ending the war in Iraq? The United States government is supposed to be helping the people of Iraq establish a stable government with their leader... whoever that is.

How about the economy? We supposedly are well into the second year of recovery. It certainly does not feel like we are in the middle of an economic recovery. Is GDP increasing? If it is, it must be spurred by the increase of political commercials. Or it could be precession fatigue. People are just so tired of finding ways in order to scale back spending, that they need a break in the depression brought on by the recession.

Is the country going in the right direction? It's sure does not seem like it is. People are not feeling confident in the economy. It is not easier to buy things. Inflation is up 2.1% so far this year. So consumers, if you have had cuts in pay in the past couple of years, or had to forgo a raise in the past couple of years, you can add 2% to the erosion that your buying power has now taken. Have housing prices rebounded? This is becoming a silly question. The value of your house has certainly increased while the property taxes on it have not. This trend is going to continue especially in the short term. Had he gone to the gas station lately? What level of economic confidence do we have when we believe that it is a good thing if gas prices stabilize at $3.50 per gallon.

Sure, it's great to take a break from the monotony and problems of everyday life. But the presidency is not a job in which someone can escape from only hoping that the problems will take care of themselves. Making a decision on military action has consequences. Guessing who is going to the final four does not. Americans have been starved for strong presidential leadership for more than two years. We should not have to resign ourselves to waiting for at least two more.

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