Obama's Address -- A Prole's Critique
OK, so maybe Obama does "have a clue" at least about domestic issues. In his speech to the Congress and nation last night he addressed many of the issues that most concern us and I think he is on the right track. He also does well at putting the Repugs in a tight spot by preemptively countering their predictable criticism and setting the trap for their own self isolation.
A few critical questions -- I think it is great that he asks "every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training." but how can we afford to do that? An investment in funding job retraining programs for displaced workers would be a wise investment sure to pay off in taxes and economic growth but I didn't hear that and many of us won't qualify for traditional loans, especially if we are already unemployed. Let's "Leave No Adult Behind."
Healthcare -- I applaud his intent and await the possibilities but tax breaks on insurance policies and electronic records won't do it. We need a single payer program
Social Security -- He scares me on this one. We don't need a Repug lite approach of "creating tax-free universal savings accounts for all Americans." SSI is already a tax-free universal savings account for all Americans and it would take far less money to keep it solvent indefinitely than he is committing to bailing out the banks!
As for his foreign agenda -- he still may not have a clue. I'm glad he is still committed to getting us out of Iraq but his incursions into and bombing of Pakistan only strengthen Al Qaeda and further destabilize Pakistan strengthening militant Anti-Western Islamists. His escalation of our occupation in Afghanistan is unwise and unwanted there and while he is closing Guantanamo, the Bagram gulag in Afghanistan is far, far worse. And yes, we do torture though I hope he means we have stopped. His support of Israel as it moves to the racist right also shows a lack if insight that sets the stage for further US backed atrocities.
All in all, it was a pleasure to hear an intelligent and articulate leader and that does give me some hope but we will have to stay on his case. It was my pleasure to stumble into the opportunity to converse with my local Senator, Senator Mark Warner last week where I pointed out our need to retool for a different era with a new public power grid and rail system and how that would also create jobs. I also pushed the idea of publicly funded skill re-training for displaced workers and he seemed genuinely interested and responded positively to the idea. Of course he's a politician but he is one of the better ones. I hope I planted a bug that will have some results.