Here are some excerpts from the video of President Obama's speech:
I believe this is the defining challenge of our time – making sure our economy works for every working American. It’s why I ran for President. ...It drives everything I do in this office.... And I am convinced that the decisions we make on these issues over the next few years will determine whether or not our children will grow up in an America where opportunity is real.
After all, the premise that we’re all created equal is the opening line in our American story. And while we don’t promise equal outcomes, we have strived to deliver equal opportunity – the idea that success doesn’t depend on being born into wealth or privilege, but on effort and merit...
When millions lived in poverty, FDR fought for Social Security, insurance for the unemployed, and a minimum wage.
When millions died without health insurance, LBJ fought for Medicare and Medicaid.
Together, we forged a New Deal, declared a War on Poverty, built a ladder of opportunity to climb and stretched out a safety net beneath so that if we fell, it wouldn’t be too far, and we could bounce back. As a result, America built the largest middle class the world has ever known. And for the three decades after World War II, it was the engine of our prosperity...
But when the music stopped, and the crisis hit, millions of families were stripped of whatever cushion they had left.
The result is an economy that has become profoundly unequal, and families that are more insecure. Since 1979, when I graduated from high school, our productivity is up more than 90%, but the income of the typical family has increased by less than eight percent. Since 1979, our economy has more than doubled in size, but most of that growth has flowed to a fortunate few. The top ten percent no longer takes in one-third of our income – it now takes half. Whereas in the past, the average CEO made about twenty to thirty times the income of the average worker, today’s CEO now makes 273 times more. Meanwhile, a family in the top 1% has a net worth 288 times higher than the typical family – a record for this country...
Just last week, the Pope himself spoke to it at eloquent length. “How can it be,” he wrote, “that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”...
The idea that so many children are born into poverty in the wealthiest nation on Earth is heartbreaking enough. The idea that she may never be able escape it because she lacks access to a decent education, or health care, or a community that views her future as their own should offend us all, and compel us to action. We are a better country than this.
So let me repeat – the combined trends of increasing inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe...
Finally, rising inequality and declining mobility are bad for our democracy. Ordinary folks can’t write massive campaign checks or hire high-priced lobbyists and lawyers to secure policies that tilt the playing field in their favor at everyone else’s expense. They get the foul taste that the system is rigged, and that increases cynicism, and polarization, and decreases the political participation that is a requisite part of our system of self-government...
[T]here’s the myth that this is a problem restricted to a small share of predominantly minority poor. It’s true that the painful legacy of discrimination means that African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are far more likely to suffer from a lack of opportunity. It’s true that women still make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. So we’ll still need anti-discrimination laws, immigration reform that grows the economy, and targeted initiatives to close those gaps.
But the decades-long shifts in the economy have hurt all groups: poor and middle class; inner city and rural folks; men and women; and Americans of all races. As a consequence, some of the social patterns that contribute to declining mobility, once attributed to urban poor, now show up everywhere... The fact is this: the opportunity gap in America is now as much about class as it is about race, and that gap is growing...
It’s time to ensure our collective bargaining laws function as they’re supposed to, so that unions have a level playing field to organize for a better deal for workers, and better wages for the middle class. It’s time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, so that women will have more tools to fight pay discrimination. It’s time to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, so workers can’t be fired for who they love. And even though we’re bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, and creating more good-paying jobs in education, health care, and business services, we know that there are airport workers, fast-food workers, nurse assistants, and retail salespeople who work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty. That’s why it’s well past the time to raise a minimum wage that in real terms is below where it was when Harry Truman was in office...
“Of all the forms of inequality,” Martin Luther King, Jr, once said, “injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhuman.”
In the three years since we passed this law, the share of Americans with insurance is up, and the growth of health care costs is down – to its slowest rate in 50 years. More people with insurance have new benefits and protections – the 100 million Americans who’ve gained the right to free preventive care like mammograms and contraception; the more than seven million Americans who’ve saved an average of $1,200 on their prescription medicine; every American who won’t go broke when they get sick because their insurer can’t limit their care anymore. More people without insurance have gained insurance – the more than three million young Americans who’ve been able to stay on their parents’ plan, and the more than half a million Americans and counting who are poised to get covered starting January 1st – some for the very first time.
It is these numbers, not the ones in any poll, that will ultimately determine the fate of this law...
[E]ven as I keep offering my own ideas for expanding opportunity, I’ll also keep challenging those who oppose my ideas to offer their own. If Republicans have concrete plans that will actually reduce inequality, build the middle class, or provide more ladders of opportunity to the poor, let’s hear them. If you don’t think we should raise the minimum wage, let’s hear your idea to increase people’s earnings.
If you don’t think every child should have access to preschool, tell us what you’d do differently to give them a better shot. If you still don’t like Obamacare, even though it’s built on market-based ideas of choice and competition, you should explain how, exactly, you’d cut costs, cover more people, and make insurance more secure. You owe it to the American people to tell us what you are for, not just what you’re against, so we can have a vigorous and meaningful debate. That’s what the American people deserve. That’s what the times demand. It’s not enough to say we should just get our government out of the way, and let the unfettered market take care of it. For our experience tells us that’s just not true.
Oh now what? As opposed to memes to the contrary all over the Internets Machine, there's good news from (!) Fox Biz that's happening right now, under Socialist Marxist Commie Fascist President Obama's watch. What kind of crazy world is this that upbeat stories can be reported while he's still in the White House? Unheard of!
Via an email alert:
The Institute for Supply Management reports manufacturing activity expanded to 57.3 in November, from 56.4 the month prior, beating estimates the gauge would fall to 55. The reading is the highest since April 2011. Readings above 50 point to expansion, while those below indicate contraction.
While we're on the subject of good news, how's about this one? Report: Nov. O-Care site enrollment near 100K.
I'm sorry, I truly am, but I'm just the messenger here. However, there is no cause for alarm. Fox "News" [sic] will swoop in and negate anything positive in 5...4...3...2...
The Political Carnival T-Shirt
Modeled by @suzannegypsy
Lt. Col Barry Wingard is the lawyer for Gitmo detainee Fayiz Al-Kandari. For their ongoing story + related topics, please click on the link below:
Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
The Political Carnival is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Photographs on The Political Carnival site (please read):
Photographs from other sources sometimes appear on TPC for humorous or illustrative purposes. As it is not our intention to use these images in any inappropriate manner or to infringe upon any rights held by others, anyone holding legal rights in the use of these images who wishes to have them taken down please contact us immediately requesting such removal, with which we will comply promptly.