state of the union

01/27/2010 § Leave a comment

obama makes his first state of the union speech as president

populist rhetoric with a mixed bag of policy solutions.  obama shifts frame to economy (stupid) mostly.

1.  i like that he calls for $30 billion recuperated from bank bailout into a federally funded jobs bill.  he didnt name the specifics, but im aware of HR 4268 sponsored by rep. ellison that says $30 billion would produce 1 million new jobs.  really, $30b barely dents the 50% young male unemployment seen in communities of color across the country.  but the resurrection of a federal works program (shout to the CETA or WPA) is policy/bureaucratic shift that reasserts governments responsibility to create productive employment in the face of joblessness.  its a framework that was abandoned i think under reagan era, and would buck the trend of increased privatization (let the market take care of it ex. charter schools, deregulated utility companies, for profit prisons, and of course jobs).

so if this were like an analogy puzzle relating the health care debate to jobs advocacy:

public option : single payer (universal healthcare) ::  ellison’s jobs bill : publicly guaranteed jobs or income (the right to work)

which brings me to the actual point.

a federally funded job program would be great, but a guaranteed right to jobs or income would be way better.  after leading the end of legal segregation in the US, dr. king et al tried to move the movement towards abolishing poverty.  the poor people’s campaign was an interracial movement that was supposed to take over DC in an indefinite camp out until the passage of an “economic bill of rights” with guaranteed jobs or income for all.  he was killed and the campaign fell apart.

in the end, the public option is officially dead.  maybe obama and dems should have fought for single payer and we would have ended up with a public option.  maybe we should be demanding a guaranteed right to work and we’d end up with a decent jobs program.

say what you mean.  mean what u say?

2.  energy bill.  obama apparently still ❤ nuclear, clean coal, off shore drilling etc.  he said it in the campaign and he’s sticking to it.  clean coal is a joke paid for by the coal companies.  thank u for believing in the ‘overwhelming scientific evidence’, but co2 is not a joke so y r u playing?

tangentially on energy, its cool to see ARRA stimulus funds for home weatherization work becoming visible on the ground in boston.  new subsidies for residential energy efficiency retrofits creates new jobs while delivering a service that can dramatically reduce energy use and heating bills.  its sort of the low hanging fruit in the green economy game.  whether those jobs are ultimately accessible to poor communities is yet to be seen.

3.  obama says hes going to freeze overall discretionary spending starting in 2011 EXCEPT for MILITARY, social security, medicare.  WTF.

i was happy he verbalized commitment to ending don’t ask don’t tell. preparing for the gratuitous homophobic flip out of right wing punditry.

also, he mentioned immigration reform.  yes, 2nd time will be better.

Scott Brown

i think the national media is playing up the scott brown-election-as-referendum-against-DC-Democrats angle more than is real.   i think its frustration with state politics and a lack of results in an all D Beacon Hill that allowed for the C[h]oakley Effect.  its not a call to the center, its reaction against inaction.


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