Little did I expect that on my first day as executive director of Interfaith Alliance, the most concise articulation of our mission would come from the President of the United States.
Fairness is a very powerful American value. That's why the most successful Democratic candidates in 2014 made it clear that they were on the side of working families against Wall Street.
The last two years of "lame duck" actually present an opportunity for executive leadership to truly drive policy change without fear of re-election politics. If caveats are included, here is where Obama may truly leverage his power as someone who has freedom to really pursue an agenda without worrying about spending political capital
Being a change leader is a tall order. People love the soaring rhetoric with which he outlines his vision of a better life. We trust that he has the right stuff to do the job. We want to believe that he'll deliver on his promises. And above all, we want him to be all things to all people.
President Obama may only have named two example of business upping its game in educating its workforce, but that hardly means he is wanting for examples. They're out there.
With a president too often bold in words but timid in action facing a Congress more Republican and obstructionist than ever, little will get done to fix inequality. Even the Tea Partiers who howled in protest over the bailout of the big banks back in 2008 have been taken to the woodshed by the likes of Karl Rove, and are silent as establishment Republicans complete the return of the GOP as Guardians of the One Percent. For now, don't really expect further taxes on the wealthy that could help those at the bottom. (And did you hear much discussion of America's poor people at the State of the Union?) Funny how trickle-down economics, a concept beloved by the GOP and its plutocratic allies, as well as by corporate Democrats, become an abomination when the galoshes are on the other foot and favor the less well off. Suddenly, trickle-down becomes all wet.
Well, President Obama has given his State of the Union address and the Republicans and political pundits are having a field day. And I'm pretty sure that even many of the Democrats who were disenchanted with him and his low ratings are now enthusiastically supporting him.
While President Obama's "middle class economics" speech last night certainly laid down a few markers for Democrats in 2016 and beyond, the real reason it now seems Democrats will be playing on familiar turf comes from Republicans.
Obama's SOTU presented Americans with a strongly argued case to press a progressive agenda that encompasses taxes, social spending and a variety of ancillary programs. It was rooted in the philosophical soil that has sustained the Democratic Party for nearly a century. It meets crying national needs. It conforms to principles of justice and decency that hold the Republic together. Unfortunately, it all amounted to little more than an exercise in rhetoric under current political realities. Those realities are the ineluctable outcome of the Obama presidency's abandonment of those very ideas from the day he entered the White House. The speech is six years and three elections too late -- literally behind the times.
The president's sixth State of the Union address to Congress last night was heavy on the actions our country should take to build on the progress that American families have made over the past two years, thanks to a recovering economy.
Obama's January 20th State of the Union Address was everywhere on the Twittersphere. From the beginning of the president's address through the conclusion of Senator Joni Ernst's official Republican response, more than 2.6 million Tweets sent were related to the State of the Union.
Although the president didn't go into detail in his State of the Union, the details that were released in the week before the speech should make middle class American's think twice. Despite the rhetoric of "taxing the rich" -- it's pretty apparent that the middle class will do most of the paying.
Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, I think there are some undeniable truths regarding our economy that need to be addressed before we reach the next phase of robust and sustainable economic growth.
President Obama will end his years in office as the most liberal president since Nixon. But while the president frames the argument well, making this economy work for working people once more will take far bolder reforms. His years may mark the beginning of a new era of progressive reform, but only if people in motion force the argument.
Workers and businesses are linked at the hip, but business has the scalpel to cut that bond. The relationship is, if not a war, then a continuous battle. It is a battle by definition. It only becomes "class warfare" if workers want raises or the government wants to have businesses pay higher taxes.
In last night's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama was triumphant in taking credit for a growing economy, being "as free from the grip of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years," and noting that Russia's economy was "in tatters." What the president failed to acknowledge was that entrepreneurs largely drove these results.