Daily Archives: January 29, 2014

Obama Misses Opportunity to Address Severity of America’s Poverty in SOTU

Not to pile on or anything like that, but The Real News Network has another interview Obama Misses Opportunity to Address Severity of America’s Poverty in SOTU.

James Henry: Obama’s State of the Union address should’ve been used to convince the public of the shared interest in solving the problem of poverty
We know he has a hard time getting anything done in Congress, and he’s going off in the direction of trying to do executive actions unilaterally. I think it’s more important for him to actually use these opportunities to educate people about how serious a problem we’re facing.

To be fair, Obama did do some educating. You have to make some judgment about how much your audience can take. Maybe more talk about LBJ would help. The emphasis should be on how much LBJ accomplished in the War on Poverty and how much of those gains we have let erode. It’s almost like throwing the Taliban out of Afghanistan and then walking away and letting them back in.

Obama’s Address Fails to Look at Roots of Income Inequality

Ok, so you knew I was going to have to say something negative about the State of the Union Address. The Real News Network has the interview Obama’s Address Fails to Look at Roots of Income Inequality.

JOHNSTON: No, not even close. It’s important that we restore the minimum wage. We’re not talking about raising it. We’re talking about restoring it. Back in the mid ’60s, it was almost $11 an hour. And education is certainly very important and too much neglected in this country. We put huge barriers to bright but poor and middle-class children getting first-rate educations, especially at college.

But we have much more fundamental problems than that. Many of these problems involve things like government rules that hardly anybody knows about that take money from the many and redistribute it to the few, the use of tax dollars to build factories, office buildings, and shopping malls, the rules that allow multinational corporations–not domestic, not mom-and-pop corporations, but multinational corporations– to actually profit off their corporate income taxes by delaying payment of them for 30, 40, 50 years and having you and I let them deposit that money with the government to collect interest while the value of the tax they owe erodes.

In thinking about the President’s speech, I felt that it was a pretty reasonable speech to give if you had a reasonable loyal opposition. The opposition that Obama actually faces is neither reasonable nor loyal.

Perhaps Obama was too afraid of getting people riled up. Then he could have said something like, “If you really wanted to solve the problem, you would make radical changes as proposed by the progressives. However, I am only proposing a few mild changes. If you block these proposals, there is no telling what you will be facing down the road when the voters wake up and start electing enough progressives to make a difference. The longer you suppress people, the more likely their eventual reaction will erupt in violence. Moreover, you have insisted that they have unfettered access to guns.”

Shared Prosperity Agenda

Progressive Massachusetts has come out with the Shared Prosperity Agenda.  Here are a couple of items on that agenda.


Whether you agree with all or any of the items on the list, I think you have to admit it is pretty bold. The only way to change the terms of debate is to have the courage to come out and say what it might really take to fix things.