Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Did You Get Anything From The State of the Union Speech?

I didn't. He said what he was expected to say... but beyond that, he really didn't address any pressing issues for the non-wealthy - issues concerning me. I was invisible. Post-SOTU interviews done by NPR of St. Louis listeners reflected my view... and confirmed that it wasn't just me. I am resigned to the fact that I will continue to be invisible to this Administration.

I would have loved to hear something about a bailout for the working class....and even the middle class. I would have loved to hear about some sort of relief for college graduates who can't find meaningful work, who are drowning in student loan debt and can't afford to make payments (because of America's corrupt profit driven system of higher education that leaves students in debt for much of the rest of their lives....slaves to financial institutions before they even have a chance to start families). I heard nothing about helping Americans pay for higher education.

In terms of jobs, I really didn't hear much about a robust job creation plan and how he would make it happen. We only heard a vision and a rough outline.... not much else. The outline was fairly good.... but it is about 18 months too late. I was calling for the kind of job creation that he mentioned 2 years ago. More of the stimulus money should have been directed towards green energy projects and R&D to encourage innovation and job creation. But I guess it's better late than never.

It is clear to me that the world that he sees and the world that working people see are two different images. He thinks he is rolling out a wonderful plan....with perfect timing for the election cycle... while working people on the ground - who have been talking about jobs for at least the past year - see a man who is a good year to year & a half late in terms of recognizing the issues facing real people. It's as if he woke up one day last week and realized jobs and the economy were the real issues. Of course that's not the case, but (not surprising considering how horrible the image problem is in this Administration) that's how the President often looks to political observers like myself. It just looks like he ends up devoting quite a bit of time & energy playing catch up. How often does he go to rural & urban areas to sit down with real people? I'm not talking about staged productions and photo opportunities at auto assembly plants... but really getting in touch with people and learning about what it's like to live on incomes that don't amount to living wages.

Realizing what Americans voted for last November, and understanding that nothing of real significance is going to get done over the next two years in terms of Progress and good legislation directly benefiting ordinary folks, I found it hard to be excited or remotely hopeful about anything from this SOTU.

See commentary from around the net.

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