Obama's Economic Speech And A Step Beyond Bush
by Josh Orton, Mon Jun 09, 2008 at 12:43:38 PM EDT
Obama Kicked-off his two-week "Change That Works For You" tour with an economic speech in Raleigh, North Carolina today. And as Todd points out, Obama and the larger progressive movement is doing a good job reminding people of the McCain-Bush similarities. But today's speech text also has some positive signs that Obama will work to hold the larger conservative governing philosophy responsible for our economic circumstance, not just George Bush:
We did not arrive at the doorstep of our current economic crisis by some accident of history. This was not an inevitable part of the business cycle that was beyond our power to avoid. It was the logical conclusion of a tired and misguided philosophy that has dominated Washington for far too long.
George Bush called it the Ownership Society, but it's little more than a worn dogma that says we should give more to those at the top and hope that their good fortune trickles down to the hardworking many. For eight long years, our President sacrificed investments in health care, and education, and energy, and infrastructure on the altar of tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs - trillions of dollars in giveaways that proved neither compassionate nor conservative.
And for all of George Bush's professed faith in free markets, the markets have hardly been free - not when the gates of Washington are thrown open to high-priced lobbyists who rig the rules of the road and riddle our tax code with special interest favors and corporate loopholes. As a result of such special-interest driven policies and lax regulation, we haven't seen prosperity trickling down to Main Street. Instead, a housing crisis that could leave up to two million homeowners facing foreclosure has shaken confidence in the entire economy.
I understand that the challenges facing our economy didn't start the day George Bush took office and they won't end the day he leaves. Some are partly the result of forces that have globalized our economy over the last several decades - revolutions in communication and technology have sent jobs wherever there's an internet connection; that have forced children in Raleigh and Boston to compete for those jobs with children in Bangalore and Beijing. We live in a more competitive world, and that is a fact that cannot be reversed.
But I also know that this nation has faced such fundamental change before, and each time we've kept our economy strong and competitive by making the decision to expand opportunity outward; to grow our middle-class; to invest in innovation, and most importantly, to invest in the education and well-being of our workers.
We've done this because in America, our prosperity has always risen from the bottom-up. From the earliest days of our founding, it has been the hard work and ingenuity of our people that's served as the wellspring of our economic strength. That's why we built a system of free public high schools when we transitioned from a nation of farms to a nation of factories. That's why we sent my grandfather's generation to college, and declared a minimum wage for our workers, and promised to live in dignity after they retire through the creation of Social Security. That's why we've invested in the science and research that have led to new discoveries and entire new industries. And that's what this country will do again when I am President of the United States.
Full text here.
As millions of Americans start tuning into our political process for the first time, it's crucial that they hear detail about which underlying causes brought us to this mess in the first place - it's not enough for people to assume that George Bush's incompetence sunk everything. Politicians come and go, but the bogus assumptions about "tax cuts,""privitization" and "free markets" have endured long past Reagan. It's good to see a Democratic nominee talking concretely about the good things our government can accomplish.
Update [2008-6-9 16:54:25 by Josh Orton]: As diarist sricki notes, Obama also mentioned his intention to partner with Elizabeth Edwards on his health care plan. Elizabeth, as we remember, chose initially to endorse Clinton's plan over Obama's.