The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

President Barack Obama spoke at length on the economy on Wednesday in the first of what is reported to be a series of speeches he will give around the country to push his economic ‘agenda.’ A question for his supporters is why Mr. Obama is now purporting to promote the interests of the middle class and working poor when he has remained silent for the last five years during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression? If he cared one whit about these people the time to promote economic policies to help them was five years ago. And conversely, the economic policies he has pursued have decimated the very people he now claims to want to help.

Mr. Obama’s analysis of economic travails—globalization and its effects on an under-educated workforce, are the same neo-liberal pabulum the ‘Washington consensus’ has been serving up since Jimmy Carter was in office. And his economic prescriptions—public-private ‘partnerships’ to boost investment in technology, bringing corporate executives in to assess what is wrong with the educational system, building out lower cost ‘online’ education and community colleges to ‘boost American competitiveness,’ increased infrastructure spending and the creation of tax advantaged savings accounts for middle class families, are straight from the neo-liberal playbook as well. To ask the obvious question: if neo-liberal policies worked, why then the laundry list of economic travails?

Rob Urie