Saturday, February 12, 2011

Will the wave of democracy in the Middle East ever reach US shores?

Obama today, quoted from DailyKos:
So Brenda and her husband know what they can do without. But they also know what investments are too important to sacrifice. Their daughter, Rachel, is a sophomore in college with a 4.0 grade point average. The tuition is a big expense. But it’s worth it, because it will give her the chance to achieve her dreams. In fact, Brenda is looking for a second job to ensure, as she told me, “the money is there to help Rachel with her future.”

Really? This is where we've landed? In a place where a special-ed teacher from Missouri, with a husband on a half-pay pension, is considering taking on a second job to pay for the tuition of her 4.0 GPA daughter? And the president of the United States is holding this up as a good model? [link added]

Where is the federal student aid for a family like this?

Why isn't investing in our young people up there with investing in all the broadband, clean energy and research? In fact, how can you be investing in research for the future without investing in educating future researchers?

Still, this address today will probably score well with most audiences. Families are struggling, and belt-tightening by government will be welcomed. And at least the president is continuing to push the investment angle, which is certainly not a message that's going to be trumpeted at CPAC or on Fox News this week.

Bob Herbert today:

When the game is rigged in your favor, you win. So despite the worst economic downturn since the Depression, the big corporations are sitting on mountains of cash, the stock markets are up and all is well among the plutocrats. The endlessly egregious Koch brothers, David and Charles, are worth an estimated $35 billion. Yet they seem to feel as though society has treated them unfairly.

As Jane Mayer pointed out in her celebrated New Yorker article, “The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry — especially environmental regulation.” (A good hard look at their air-pollution record would make you sick.)

It’s a perversion of democracy, indeed, when individuals like the Kochs have so much clout while the many millions of ordinary Americans have so little. What the Kochs want is coming to pass. Extend the tax cuts for the rich? No problem. Cut services to the poor, the sick, the young and the disabled? Check. Can we get you anything else, gentlemen?

The Egyptians want to establish a viable democracy, and that’s a long, hard road. Americans are in the mind-bogglingly self-destructive process of letting a real democracy slip away.

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