Thursday, June 03, 2010

Another Speech Worth Noticing: Obama in Pittsburgh - Politics - The Atlantic

James Fallows on President Obama’s energy (and more) speech yesterday; read the full post; also see the Climate Progress summary

But in keeping with his other most serious speeches, and in contrast with the typical politician's "turning now to domestic policy" laundry list, this one stands up fairly well as a logical construction. I would paraphrase its logic as follows:
      1. We are only beginning to recover from one disaster/emergency, in the world's financial system; and we're still in the midst of another one, with the BP oil catastrophe;
      2. In the short run, we have to deal with those emergencies as emergencies;
      3. But in the long it would be criminal (not his word) to fail to correct the underlying disorders that caused each crisis;
      4. In the economic realm, that means not just dealing with the rigged financial markets but also making sure that we address some of the big, structural issues that will either keep the US economy growing or bring it down;
      5. Those include managing health care costs, improving education, and investing in fundamental science;
      6. Private industry obviously is what makes our economy run, and what will create the business models to solve these problems;
      7. But just as obviously, the government has to play an active part -- in setting standards, investing in basic research and "public goods," containing what any sane observer sees as the self-destructive excesses of the market, and promoting the next big waves of technology growth as it has done for all previous ones through the nation's history;
      8. This includes taking an active role in shifting the U.S. economy away from its environmentally and strategically damaging dependence on oil in particular, and the way to use market energies toward that end is through a carbon tax.

Another Speech Worth Noticing: Obama in Pittsburgh - Politics - The Atlantic

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