Monday, July 25 2016

            We Deliver News to the Sierra
News Fire News spacer Latest News spacer Regional News spacer California News spacer USA News spacer World News spacer Op-Ed spacer Enviro News spacer Sci Tech News spacer Life spacer Odd News spacer Cartoons spacer
Features The Calendar features features Weather features Sierra NightSky features features features Road Conditions features Home spacer

John Cavanagh: Obama's State of the Union No Game Changer


By: John Cavanagh, OtherWords.org

Feb. 13, 2013 - In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama deftly nudged the national debate further away from the dominant austerity framework that brought us the misguided budget deal on New Year's Day.

He also brought much-needed attention to the critical jobs shortage by eloquently calling the need for more good middle class jobs the "North Star that guides our efforts."

But, did Obama offer a convincing vision for how to do this? Not quite.

First, he missed a beautiful opportunity to connect the jobs and inequality crises with the climate crisis, all of which can be solved with the same solution: a bold transformative "new jobs" agenda. This approach would move government incentives and resources away from fossil fuels and poorly paid jobs to a vibrant, caring, green economy with quality jobs.

Imagine the stir he'd make if he declared it was time to move from an economy dominated by Wall Street, Lockheed Martin, and Walmart to a Main Street economy. Or if he promised to block the Keystone XL pipeline and crack down on the dangerous practice of natural gas fracking as part of an effort to wean our country off fossil fuels.

Main Street embraces everything from clean energy to high speed rail, from energy-efficient buildings to composting and recycling. And, it means making sure that fast-growing sectors like elder care jobs are upgraded from Walmart poverty jobs to ones that pay a living wage.

Yes, Obama highlighted the challenge of climate change and he mentioned clean energy. He called for a higher minimum wage and stronger education opportunities for all. But he failed to make a powerful call for a transformative economic agenda to replace our Wall Street and Walmart economy with a fundamentally new one rooted in ecology, equity, and democratic forms of ownership.

Obama could also have reminded Americans that there'd be abundant resources to invest in pressing needs if the wealthy, corporations, Wall Street, and polluters paid their fair share of taxes and if we cut fossil fuel subsidies and the wasteful Pentagon budget.

Obama knows full well that he's working with a gridlocked and largely dysfunctional Congress. But he did make a compelling appeal to lawmakers to take two major actions that could win in 2013: comprehensive immigration reform, and real gun control. Both are long overdue and would make this country a better place. His salute to Desilene Victor, the 102-year-old Florida woman who became famous after a lengthy wait to vote last year, underscored concerns about the outrages of Republican efforts to suppress voting rights.

And I also applaud him for urging the renewal of a strengthened Violence Against Women Act, acknowledging the excesses of CEO pay, and calling for a $15 billion construction jobs program.

But in the face of a Congress too beholden to corporate interests, Obama could have made a better case for vital actions that his administration can take on their own. These include ending drone attacks, shuttering coal plants, using the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring basic labor rights for domestic workers, and pardoning prisoners who were unjustly sentenced. Of these, Obama only indicated that he was ready to order the EPA to take steps to counter climate change.

Obama's also clinging to a failed free trade policy. And he's addicted to oil and gas even as he embraces alternatives. His foreign policy vision is overly focused on fighting terrorism as opposed to fostering diplomacy.

Between his more powerful inauguration speech and this address, he's begun to shift the national conversation toward things that matter to most people. But he's got a long way to go before he embraces a game-changing agenda.

John Cavanagh is the director of the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank celebrating its 50th year. IPS-dc.org
Distributed via OtherWords. OtherWords.org


Help us bring you more news. Be a real reader: Support YubaNet

By submitting a comment you consent to our rules. You must use your real first and last name, not a nickname or alias. A comment here is just like a letter to the editor or a post on Facebook. Thank you.


Latest Headlines


Wendy Feliz: Donald Trump’s Losing View on Immigration Policy

Frank Sharry Reacts to Donald Trump’s Dark, Fear Mongering Draft Speech

Marge Baker: Trump Isn’t the Only Republican with a Woman Problem

Chuck Collins: The American Dream Moved to Canada

Juan Escalante: It’s Official: Donald Trump’s Racist Agenda Is The GOP

Jill Richardson: The Problem with ‘Blue Lives Matter’

Ebony Slaughter-Johnson: Still Second-Class Citizens

Jim Obergefell: Congress Should Abandon Latest Anti-LGBT Effort






NEWS . Fire News . Latest . Regional . California . USA . World . Op-Ed . Enviro . Sci/Tech . Life . Odd News . Cartoons
FEATURES . The Calendar .Weather . Sierra NightSky. Road Conditions
YubaNet.com . Advertising. About Us . Support YubaNet . Contact Us . Terms of Use . Privacy

YubaNet.com © 1999-2016
Nevada City, California (530) 478-9600