By Ben Cohen
Obama's address to Congress was a rousing affair, and I must admit to being impressed by his performance. The speech was basically a defense of Governments ability to make people's lives better, and Obama made a very good case.
While free marketers believe industries and people that cannot compete should be left to rot, Obama made a stirring argument that government has a role to play in re-boosting flagging companies and helping unemployed people get good paying jobs. Obama pointed out that it would be insane to let the automobile industry fail in the country that created the car. While the crisis is severe, Obama also pointed out that there are many opportunities to be taken. He said:
In the midst of civil war, we laid railroad tracks from one coast to
another that spurred commerce and industry. From the turmoil of the
Industrial Revolution came a system of public high schools that
prepared our citizens for a new age. In the wake of war and
depression, the GI Bill sent a generation to college and created the
largest middle-class in history.
Importantly, Obama also made clear that health care, job creation and infrastructure were top government priorities, and the days of incessant tax cuts to the wealthy and deregulation were over. This was an important break from the Bush doctrine, and the clear stamp of a new era.
Here's an overview of his speech from the Hill.com that covers the main points:
While Obama certainly inspired hope, the proof will be in the pudding. The next few months will be absolutely crucial, and some major changes need to be made. The promises he made were bold, so let's see whether his action is.