A giant sigh of relief is emanating from the White House now that the budget deficit crisis has sort of passed. This however will not be a victory for President Obama and the Democrats as much as a train wreck averted, but there are still plenty of cows to be cleared from the tracks before year's end and the beginning of serious 2012 presidential campaign politicking.
Chief among those cows is jump-starting an economy that is technically out of recession but far from being out of the woods. You would recognize this cow because it has a sign around its neck that reads "Will Work For Hay."
Jobs growth is excruciatingly slow and for this the president and that deeply divided Congress must share much of the blame. The rest should be saved for big business, which has shed jobs by the millions while turning obscenely high profits.
Then there are the war cows. Yeah, the ones wearing fatigues and flak jackets.
Obama must continue the draw down of American troops from Iraq no matter how big a mess the country remains. This is because Iraq will always be a big mess. And he must make good on his commitment to begin a draw down of troops from Afghanistan. For the very same reason.
Then there is the health-care reform cow. You would recognize this cow because it is nursing a young calf.
While health-care reform is the signal accomplishment of Obama's first term, the job is far from complete, and the area needing the greatest attention is medical cost transparency; that is, curbing huge premium increases by insurers and requiring hospitals and drug companies to post the actual prices that patients and consumers have to pay.
Finally, there is the immigration reform cow. You would recognize this cow because it lost its Green Card. Or more likely never had one.
Obama came to office vowing to reform immigration policies, something that George Bush pushed for but failed to achieve. Reform must include an amnesty program
which would grant legal permanent residence status to the nearly 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and quicker visa approval for high tech foreign employees.