State of the Union? Getting better

 

I liked President Obama’s State of the Union speech. While I don’t agree with everything he said (don’t even get me started on the offshore drilling thing), he covered all the issues people care about these days, and he made it clear that he needs Congress to get onboard with his “Blueprint for an America Built to Last.”

You can watch the speech here here. If you prefer speed-reading, you can flip through the slide-show version here here. You can read the President’s 2012 “Blueprint” here.

We – at least we middle-classers – who are privileged to live in the Washington, D.C., area are relatively protected from economic recessions and depressions. Bad times generate as much government work as good times do (maybe more…). But we all have friends and family living in less-protected places who have suffered since Republicans took the White House in 1980. I’ve watched it up close, here inside the Beltway, and heard it from beyond. The Reagan Administration gutted the regulatory and enforcement arms of agencies ranging from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Even eight years of Democratic administration (Clinton, 1992-2000) was not enough time to rebuild, and President Clinton and his appointees didn’t push back hard enough against powerful interests such as the telecommunications oligopoly. From 2001 to 2008, more gutting took place, by more subtle, less public, but equally pernicious means.

I vote for getting to work on cleaning up the mess.

I wrote the President late last year to report that under his administration, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds had helped to put my brother back to work while the Federal Emergency Management Agency had helped him to put his home back into working order after a catastrophic flood. In my book, this is what government’s supposed to for The People. Let’s keep it up.

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