For the first time in his presidency, President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address to a Republican-controlled Congress. Yet he spoke with confidence and ease as he laid out a progressive agenda for the final two years of his presidency.
Last night in the State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out an agenda to protect and grow America's middle class. From spurring innovation and creating high-skilled jobs here in the U.S. to protecting our homes and businesses, acting on climate change is crucial to achieving this vision.
What Obama is proposing puts the GOP in a bit of a pickle. They're going to have to explain why they think giving working Americans tax breaks, more money in their pockets, and a hand up is a bad idea and why they would prefer to use public money to support billionaires.
There's a pattern here. Whenever the push for taxing Wall Street speculation starts to build some serious steam, the Obama administration dusts off their proposal for a big bank fee. This fee idea was is a good one. The problem: Obama officials have presented the big bank fee as an alternative to a financial transaction tax.
While Latinos are impacted by every public policy issue debated at the federal level, there are at least four areas with a tradition of bipartisan cooperation where the 114th Congress should start.
The president recently announced a plan to make two years of community college and technical school free to responsible students, which underscores a serious problem that not only affects unemployed youth, but small business owners, as well.
[Banks] want to be able to do things their way, and that's very dangerous," MIT economist Simon Johnson tells me. "'Here we go again' -- I think that's the motto for this Congress."
In emerging markets, slow growth in the advanced economies has shut down a traditional development path: export-led growth. As a result, emerging markets have had to rely once again on domestic demand. This is always a difficult task, given the temptation to over-stimulate.
Immediately after he was inaugurated six years ago today, President Obama started passing measures to help revive the economy -- over Republican opposition: the Recovery Act, the auto rescue, and significant investments in our education system. His opponents and their allies predicted that his policies would lead to further economic disaster, but they were wrong.
What is most surprising about the U.S. Congress today is how harmful its parochial views have become to America's long-term global economic interests.
I think about money all the time. I think about the bills that need to be paid, the things my kids need, and the fact that what's coming in currently is not enough to cover what needs to go out. Every day is a list of choosing. Of overdraft fees. Of cancellation notices. Every moment is a feeling of defeat and a pang of failure.
The House Democratic Party leadership made a remarkable step forward last week in putting out a proposal for a financial transactions tax (FTT). There has long been interest in financial transactions taxes among progressive Democrats. The list of people who have proposed financial transactions taxes over the years includes Representatives Peter DeFazio and Keith Ellison, along with Senators Tom Harkin and Bernie Sanders. But the proposal last week came from Representative Chris Van Hollen, who is part of the party's leadership. And Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi indicated that she also supports the proposal. This means that financial transactions taxes are now part of the national debate on tax and financial policy. And there should be no mistake; this is a really big deal for the financial industry.
Unless the president gets trade policy right, and starts to tackle some uncomfortable truths about trading partners like China and Japan, America will be stuck with little more than a marketing campaign in place of serious manufacturing policy.
I bet you did not know the financial services industry has two ethical standards. One benefits Wall Street and one benefits you.
Instead of the plodding turtle he's normally satirized as, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is all cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof about Trade Promotion Authority, better known as Fast Track.
This was a busy week in politics, as the Republicans in the new Congress began a bout of legislating and President Obama ramped up his agenda in preparation for next Tuesday's big speech to Congress and the country.