The president’s state of the union address lived up to its billing, sort of.
The GOP’s response, panned by virtually every major media outlet in the country, left much to be desired.
In fact, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s sweaty retort was so lacking in any depth that it quite possibly made President Obama look twice as good as he actually was. So is today’s GOP, a shell of its former self, a sell-out party stuck between a CEO’s gold brick and a bunch of tea bagger hard heads.
This does not bode well for the country. In a two-party system, competent people from both sides of the aisle are required to engage in smart debate, come up with fruitful compromise in order for something, anything, to get done. When one side takes its cues from a mentally deranged fringe, the other side has no one it can really intelligently talk to, hence the gridlock. And Democrats are wimps in the face of insanity, prone to caving in at the slightest GOP-generated sound byte, when in fact Dems should be cramming their agenda right down the throats of the vanquished Republicans at every turn, just as the GOP did when a certain special someone from Texas took the reins in 2000.
Too much to ask, the victorious to lead, I guess.
Despite President Obama’s disappointingly conciliatory bipartisan tone (bipartisanship worked real well the first go-round, now didn’t it?) , despite his wonderfully progressive ideas for the next four years, I bet my bottom dollar not a semblance of what he wishes to accomplish will get done. How sad. Until Democrats control both houses of Congress, Obama’s agenda will be watered down and virtually tasteless if it ever does get out of House committees.
Yet, we little people will endure more of the same.
Our economy, slowly recovering as it is, will still be vulnerable to the excesses of Wall Street greed because of the gutlessness of leaders to enact real reform — what a complete and utter failure is Obama’s strategy to help homeowners facing foreclosure five years after the housing bubble burst, for instance. And, of course, you can draw a straight line from gutless banking regulation right to the failure to fix the truckloads of cash being pumped every election into the political process. How can you govern effectively if you can’t see above the pile of cash being doled out by the very people that desperately need governing?
Obama’s rhetoric on minimum wage and the middle class and CEO pay rang hollow Tuesday night, too, when in fact his own rubber stamped Treasury nominee, Jack Lew, is nothing more than yet another cardboard cut-out front man for Wall Street who likely helped raise tons of financial sector cash to get his boss Obama elected in November, hence the plum job, left by Tim Geithner, himself a Wall Street proxy man, who replaced another, who replaced another, who replaced another, et cetera, et cetera.
It’s hard for me to swallow the hypocrisy of the president’s choice at Treasury. He picks a man who engaged in the same tax haven shenanigans as Mitt Romney, who Obama attacked over and over for his offshore money hiding ways?
Boggles the mind. Washington, D.C. is truly broken when Republicans, straight-faced during his confirmation hearing, rail against the former Citibankster Lew for taking a $1 million bonus while his bank was failing so badly it required a bailout of historic proportions. Washington, D.C. is truly broken when Democrats, also straight-faced, defend the man against said attacks, when they engaged in similar soirees just four months ago against the other side. Talk about an acid trip. More like a whitewash. Lew will get in like greased lightning.
Among the high points of Obama’s state of the union were his call for a gun control vote and his call for a better, more secure future for the middle class, though both have an icicle’s chance in hell of being enacted with any meaning.
I agree guns should be more tightly regulated. Too many whackjobs have access to too much firepower and too little education in my humble opinion. There should be a vote. Too many people are dying in our streets for the country’s leaders not to do something. And for the fringe to bark about their rights in the face of so many dead children, sorry, you lost most of us, you’ve already lost the debate before it’s even begun.
Less barking, more compromising, and you might actually keep your guns and make the nation safer in the meantime. How nice would that be?
Tying the minimum wage to the actual cost of living is another nice idea that I was glad to see the president address. Still, it’s a grandiose notion that corporate America will surely spend billions trying to defeat — how ironic, CEOs won’t pay a living wage but have no problem lining the pockets of some revolving door lobbyist in order to ensure your neighbors stay poorer.
Nine dollars is what Obama and company might soon ask for. Nine dollars an hour. Fast food joints and Walmart will most likely lead the charge against such an egregious assault on free market capitalism. Of course, if the minimum wage were tied to actual increases in worker productivity over the last few decades versus the cost of living, one recent study suggests that wage would have risen to over $21 an hour last year. Compare that to $9 an hour. One is a real wage, with a real life guaranteed; the other means you will still, despite the president’s socialist largesse, be living with your mama.
Karl Marx figured out the secret in the late 19th century. He published it in a really complicated book called “Capital,” or Das Kapital, if you prefer. See, capitalists don’t earn their wealth off the value of their products. It’s the value of labor, that’s where the gold is mined — keep the value of labor low and the world is your oyster. Why does Nike make shoes in China, no, Vietnam, no, Bangladesh? Cheap labor. Why are manufacturing jobs leaving the U.S.? Cheap labor. What is the number one cost for business in America? Labor. So keeping it cheap is a capitalist’s number one priority.
Why are all of the jobs being created during this puny recovery — lest you know, this is the longest and most sluggish economic recovery in U.S. history — fast food and minimum wage jobs? Cheap labor is where the money is.
Don’t vilify Marx (the wingnuts are starting to growl already) , he just pointed it out over 100 years ago, that’s all. The president, oh so careful not to sound too Marxist, and even his Republican opponents, who turn their noses up at such talk, know in their hearts that this country is sunk without good jobs that pay good wages.
But $9 an hour isn’t what anyone should consider good enough. We can do better, but I fear greed and gridlock will continue despite Obama’s kind words.