Just hours after the State of the Union, our friends at the Drum Major Institute created a rapid response to the address. Click here to read DMI’s full analysis of the President’s domestic policy prescriptions – complete with statistics and talking points — online at www.drummajorinstitute.org/sotu2008 The American people want change. Every Presidential candidate, Democrat and Republican, has made this a mantra. But the State of the Union Address reveals no alteration from President George W. Bush. This year the President labored to keep breathing life into the same worn out ideology that has repeatedly failed America’s current and aspiring middle class. The President continues to proclaim the foundation of our economy sound when so many current and aspiring middle-class Americans are losing their spot in the American Dream. He prioritizes ideology over proven methods of stimulating the economy and providing health care. He uses the language of consumer choice to dress up what really amounts to unbridled corporate power and profiteering. He continues to assert that the market will right itself, if only people understand it more and restrict it less, despite all of the evidence to the contrary. Despite the praise-worthy components of President Bush’s address tonight – his signing of the Energy Independence and Security Act, his cooperation with Congress to pass a stimulus reform that would include millions of low-income Americans he initially intended to exclude, his newfound interest in supporting military families – his approach reflected a commitment to ideology, as opposed to willingness to see how that ideology has actually impacted current and aspiring middle-class Americans. After years of insisting that the economy was doing great as middle-class families were squeezed by stagnant wages and a rising cost of living, it takes weak corporate profits to make the President recognize that times are tough. * Because the President’s ideology insists that tax cuts are always preferable to government spending, the stimulus proposal includes costly and ineffective incentives for business rather than a fast and efficient expansion of unemployment benefits that would both boost the economy and help the middle-class households hardest hit by the downturn. * Looking at the corporate recklessness and lack of government oversight that created the subprime mortgage crisis, President Bush avoids regulating the industries at fault. Rather he touts a plan that allows banks to decide on a purely voluntary basis whether they care to work out a payment plan with beleaguered homeowners. We don’t imagine that’s the kind of volunteerism he heralded elsewhere in his address. * A middle-class standard of living is defined by things like access to education, health coverage and the opportunity to hold down a stable, well-paid job, yet from education to health care to tax policy, the President preferred to experiment with market-based solutions that won’t help aspiring Americans work their way into the middle class. It was particularly shocking that the President urges Congress to make his failed tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, despite their failure to help the nation recover from the last economic downturn. The President tells us that he trusts the American people. The more important question is whether the American people have any reason to trust the White House. The President’s support of choice in this State of the Union address reveals that he is choosing not to heed the call of the American people for common-sense solutions to the challenges they face. Yet, what is most important in this address is not the President delivering it, but the ideas represented. This State of the Union can either serve as a blueprint for continuing to move backwards, or a line of demarcation away from a policy outlook that has caused irreparable harm to America’s middle class. While the President’s years of imposing dangerously flawed policies on the nation are drawing to a close, future leaders, in Congress and the White House, will determine whether his distorted worldview lives on, and continues to afflict the middle class and the nation. Read DMI on the 2008 State of the Union in its entirety.
Americans Demand Change, State of the Union Stays the Same
By Guest Columnist Jan 29, 2008