When I watched the video of Obama’s speech yesterday I expected him to triangulate, setting the stage for another crushing compromise. He surprised me. His speech came almost as close to what I wanted to hear as a speech of my own design. Here is a link to the transcript, and the complete video for those who missed it. Next I explain what I think was right and wrong with the speech. Then we have a couple more videos with other opinions. Last comes the big question.
I found his speech compelling, one of the best he has ever given. He explained how we got here, making it clear that the blame belongs to GW Bush and the Republican Party, without mentioning either by name. When Bush assumed office, America was running a surplus and on the path to eliminating the national debt. Then came two wars, the prescription drug plan and the tax cuts that went mostly to millionaires and billionaires. All were off budget, so when Obama assumed office, the deficit going forward was over $1 trillion, and the economy was on the verge of collapse.
He trashed the Republican budget plan and showed how it’s purpose is transferring wealth from the poor and middle classes to the rich, not balancing the budget. If cutting the deficit was their intent they would not have included huge tax cuts for the super rich.
He promised that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will be protected.
He promised to make the investments in education and infrastructure America needs.
His plan going forward starts by keeping the budget cuts just negotiated. There I have to disagree. That mess contains excessive cuts in critically needed areas. Next he intends to cut Defense spending and evaluate our missions, capabilities and roles. I like that, but I’d like it more, if he evaluated us out of Afghanistan. Next he promised to reform Medicare and Medicaid by reducing the cost of health care, such as negotiating prescription drug costs like we do in the VA, NOT by increasing premiums or reducing benefits. I like that too, but I’d like Medicare for all more. Finally he promised not to go along with Republican plans to cut the the top marginal tax rate (what the richest are supposed to pay, but seldom do) by 28.5%. He promised not to renew the Bush cuts for the top 2%, and suggested simplifying the tax code by limiting deductions for the top 2%. I fully agree.
Rachel Maddow was overjoyed.
Rachel was wrong about one thing. Republicans do have a plan for dealing with health care costs. Their plan is to let greedy insurance companies charge more money for less coverage, and when it runs out, there’s the RepubliCare death benefit.
Ed Schultz and Barney Frank discuss the pitiful Republican responses.
Would they like a little whine with their greed?
And that brings us to the big question. Now that Obama has finally talked the talk, will he actually walk the walk? Last October I pushed myself beyond the limits of my disability to go see him in person, and suffered for doing it. I cheered him as he promised that he would not renew the Bush tax cuts for the top 2%. When he caved-in, I felt crushed. So, I have to admit some skepticism. But, if he follows through, he will have earned my full support.