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A Word, Mr. President

Bob Herbert @ NY Times - If I were a close adviser of President Obama’s, I would say to him, “Mr. President, you have two urgent and overwhelming tasks in front of you: to put Americans trapped in this terrible employment crisis back to work and to put the brakes on your potentially disastrous plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan.”

Reforming the chaotic and unfair health care system in the U.S. is an important issue. But in terms of pressing national priorities, the most important are the need to find solutions to a catastrophic employment environment that is devastating American families and to end the folly of an 8-year-old war that is both extremely debilitating and ultimately unwinnable.

We have spent the better part of a year locked in a tedious and unenlightening debate over health care while the jobless rate has steadily surged. It’s now at 10.2 percent. Families struggling with job losses, home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies are falling out of the middle class like fruit through the bottom of a rotten basket. The jobless rate for men 16 years old and over is 11.4 percent. For blacks, it’s a back-breaking 15.7 percent.

We need to readjust our focus. We’re worried about Kabul when Detroit has gone down for the count. Read more.

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