You’ve probably seen this very funny Obama meme, which seems to involve cats, McCain, Sarah Palin, babies and my favourite to be picked on – former Prez Bush. Apparently, Obama was having a bit of fun with one of his staffers and snowballs were being thrown. Somehow, an orange kitty cat became the butt of the joke. Here’s the cat and Bush versions.
You can see other versions here. Now, these snowballs are not like Rumsfeld’s snowflakes and I can’t give Obama any advice on his throwing arm or his aim. But seems Indiana University is prepared to give Obama some words of wisdom. Imagine you had the proverbial 2-minute elevator ride with the Prez – what advice would you have for him? If you’re a bit stuck, you can consult the University’s latest issue of Perspectives on Policy, which sees 30 academics dishing out thoughts on health care, education, the environment and so on. Here are some of their ideas:
- Boost consumer spending by using federal funds to reduce state sales taxes.
- Use the power of technology to improve citizens’ health, not just the health care system.
- Take advantage of the global interest in learning English to help young Americans engage with the world.
- Reach out to China and India, the world’s most populous countries, to tackle climate change.
- Create an Arts Corps of people to share the experience of having one’s life changed by art.
- Send Mahlia and Sasha to ballet class. “It will send such a powerful message to children all over the world.” (Chair of the Department of Ballet).
- “…we need to value science for what it can teach us about uncertainty, as well as for its ability to reduce uncertainty” (conservation biologist) because it can provide strategies for “weathering surprises, reducing damage and hastening recovery.”
I would advise: no matter how tough it gets, erase the word “secrecy” from the US Government dictionary – make sure all your policies are transparent, not just your talk. And think very carefully about throwing money into the potential black hole of bailouts – because the economy as we know it is stuffed. We need to think about what the post-global financial economy and society will look like. Let’s not go back to the greedy bankers, pillaging of the environment and obscene consumerism. There is a gentler way. We must find it.
So…what advice would you give Obama right now?