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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Waiting For The Obama Deal

When President Obama gets sworn into office on the 20th of January, he will have a wonderful opportunity to transform the relationship between the federal government and society. For twenty-eight years, and in particular the last eight, the federal government's number one priority was to destroy itself. Congress after congress, administration after administration, we sold off our government, piece by piece. The resulting chaos could be seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the collapse of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis. Both incidents drew attention to our national irresponsibility to our infrastructure and to ourselves. This America lay prostrate at home in full view of the world.

Today, Hank Paulson and Ben Berneke speak to Congress on their spending of the $700 billion blank check Congress handed them six weeks ago. Thankfully, this will be the last Bush Administration fleecing of the American pocketbook. Voters everywhere spoke loudly two weeks ago. We are sick and tired of funding a corporate welfare state. We need a new vision of American domestic policy. And we can find that vision in the past.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt entered office in January of 1933 with America at its lowest ebb since the Civil War. Over the next hundred days his administration was a legislation machine, throwing a hundred crazy ideas at Congress. The resulting New Deal did not get us out of the Depression, but it did put regular Americans back in charge of their own destiny. They built bridges. They paved new roads. They wired power lines. They painted murals. They recorded indigenous music. You may not place a high priority on these actions, but they are the nuts and bolts of a nation. The heart and soul of a nation. What example does America offer to the world when we ask others to help us off the mat? We need to own our best interests, not sell them to China or India. We can do this, because we have done it before. We need an Obama Deal which invests in us, not in corporations.

If the above stump steech leaves you less than motivated, New York magazine also asks for renewed public investment. Check it out.

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