Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, December 05, 2013

The President Addresses a Deaf Nation

Barack Obama’s “best speech” on the economy goes unheard, like the tree in the GEICO commercial. The ambient health-reform noise leaves him looking like the nation has pressed a mute button.

More response comes from implacable haters than admirers. “For all of their mutual public admiration, Presidents Clinton and Obama react differently to political trouble,” huffs the Wall Street Journal. “Bill moved to the middle, while Barack always moves left. So it's no surprise that Mr. Obama is responding to his ObamaCare rollout slump by doing his best Elizabeth Warren imitation.”

If an estimable man in the White House speaking truths about the nation’s economy can be drowned out by liars and buffoons, where does American democracy go from here?

It was no doubt the President’s intention to rise above the Obamacare din and ask voters to see how far they have fallen in the past decades.

In addition, he pointed out, to “increased inequality, we’ve seen diminished levels of upward mobility in recent years. A child born in the top 20 percent has about a 2-in-3 chance of staying at or near the top. A child born into the bottom 20 percent has a less than 1-in-20 shot at making it to the top. He’s 10 times likelier to stay where he is. 

“In fact, statistics show not only that our levels of income inequality rank near countries like Jamaica and Argentina, but that it is harder today for a child born here in America to improve her station in life than it is for children in most of our wealthy allies--countries like Canada or Germany or France. They have greater mobility than we do, not less.”

If that sobering truth is not heard above all the partisan noise and posturing to arouse debate about where America is heading, what will?

A poll shows American women may be turning against Obamacare and Democrats for coming elections, to GOP delight. But those who have or plan to have children may want to consider the ultimate cost.

The price for tuning out the President now will be paid by future generations.


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