The State of the Union will be given tomorrow during prime time. The date was possibly picked in an effort not to conflict with the premier of the final season of “Lost,” one of the most popular and confusing television shows on right now. The once popular and now confusing President is bowing not only to television programmers, but to conservative interests in an apparent effort to doom the Democratic party in 2010. White House sources have stated that President Obama plans to institute a three year freeze on domestic spending. This move would save an whopping $250 billion over 10 years. Keep in mind the deficit is $1.3 trillion and expected to accumulate about $9 trillion over the next ten years. I’m taking the Robert Reich-ian tack (Why wouldn’t you after this?) of thinking the President’s move is almost certainly the wrong one.
The problem in the United States at this exact moment is jobs. Jobs makes money. Money gets spent. That money creates more jobs. More people make money. More people pay taxes. More taxes help pay off the deficit. Freezing spending isn’t going to do anything meaningful for the deficit and it just another effort by the President to walk down the middle of the road without regard for the future of our country or the future of the Democratic party. It isn’t really clear who this proposal is good for (even Paul Krugman can’t defend it and he’s trying). The President is going to lose us all.
As Naomi Klein put it gloriously a week before this announcement was made:
“But what will happen when the throngs of Obama faithful realise that they gave their hearts not to a movement that shared their deepest values but to a devoutly corporatist political party, one that puts the profits of drug companies before the need for affordable health care, and Wall Street’s addiction to financial bubbles before the needs of millions of people whose homes and jobs could have been saved with a better bailout?”
Many, including Klein and Reich, are calling for some major changes to our political system. Some independent social movements, embracing the things that really matter to the people of this country, could do nothing but good at a time like this. And if people can get riled up by the ill-treatment of Conan O’Brien (seen by some as an emotional conduit for the distrust and powerlessness that young people are feeling right now), then I’m sure they could get behind a movement promising (finally) some post-Bush era progressive action.
We are at a policy school, folks. Maybe we should be the ones that start taking this action.