For those of us wedded to the idea of human development, we try to draw lessons from the catastrophes we manage to live through. One lesson we need to learn is that the impact of natural disasters will continue to grow.
Despite the label "nonsecurity discretionary programs," many of the proposed cuts will reduce our security in a variety of ways, among them increasing our chances of getting sick from unsafe meat and contaminated drinking water.
The government needs to make investments rapidly in education, infrastructure, and research and development to make us more competitive globally. These investments, if done substantially, will create millions of jobs.
The Republicans told us what they wanted to do in their "Pledge to America" last year: it involves ripping the heart out of the future and burying it at the intersection of crumbling highways and a falling-down bridge to nowhere.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out strategies for better education, better energy production, better transportation and better job creation. All of these strategies are key to a stronger American economy.
I was around for the launching of Sputnik in 1957. It created a huge wave of shock and paranoia. Obama was trying to create a mood of crisis in the country, and for a reason: That's the only way we get things done.
The ultimate paradox facing the president -- and the country as a whole -- is that while innovation, education and infrastructure are necessary ingredients for global competitive success, they offer no guarantee.
President Obama reaffirmed his economic philosophy in the State of the Union address -- a government that works, invests, delivers opportunity, and that we can believe in. It is a lean government, not a big government.