Reich on What Obama Should Focus on

Robert ReichDespite what it says on the right there, I don’t read Robert Reich that much. The reason is that generally I agree too much with him. We see politics very similarly. But given that he isn’t a blogger, he doesn’t have to write about things that aren’t his focus. Plus, he never writes about music, film, or literature. Nonetheless, I try to keep up on what is on his mind. And yesterday, he wrote, Tuesday’s State of the Union’s Economy.

There are lot of political issues that I care about a little. It is important that same sex couples be given the right to marry. But we have to have our priorities. And my biggest complain about the Democratic Party is that they celebrate minor policy victories while not even fighting for the really big issues. Consider the gun control debate. If things go well, we will end up with an assault weapon and high-capacity magazine ban. But this legislation will not get rid of the tens of millions of these things already around. And even if it did, the legislation really only attacks the margins of the problem. But you can depend upon Rachel Maddow and company proclaiming this as a great liberal victory. Food stamps can be taken away from kids. Adults can’t find jobs. Income inequality continues to skyrocket. But 30-round magazines can’t be bought at gun stores! It’s party time in liberal land!

Robert Reich agrees with me, although he puts it in a more staid manner:

President Obama has been focusing his (and therefore America’s) attention on immigration, guns, and the environment. All are important. But in my view none of these should be the central theme of his address Tuesday evening.

His focus should be on the joblessness, falling real wages, economic insecurity, and widening inequality that continue to dog the nation. These are the overriding concerns of most Americans. All will grow worse if the deficit hawks, austerity mavens, trickle-down charlatans, and government-haters who have commanded center stage for too long continue to get their way.

There is a more cynical take on Democratic priorities, of course. I’m not quite ready to go there, but more and more I think that when it comes to economic issues, the two parties are the same. They are both dependent on the same donor class. It is certainly the case that the main difference between the parties is in social issues. I still think there is some difference between the parties on economic issues, but it isn’t nearly as big as it ought to be.

I’m proud that now gay people can serve openly in the armed forces. But that doesn’t compensate for my fear that soon gay people will have to serve in the military, because there are no other employment options.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Reich on What Obama Should Focus on

  1. The greatest thing about Reich is his unflagging consistency. Monday: write a column about what the US should do. Tuesday, it does the opposite. Wednesday: write a column about what the US should do. Thursday, it does the opposite. Friday: make a useful video about what the US should do. Etc., etc. Just keeps on truckin’.

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