Today’s radio address begins the beginning of a progressive political era in Washington. Obama has said that he will create a sustained economic stimulus plan focused on improving the country’s infrastructure and investing in the still amorphous alternative energy economy.
The Republicans held the line this week with the automotive industry and with Waxman replacing Dingell on the House’s energy committee, the cards are lining up to focus all governmental intervention in Detroit on huge fuel efficiency improvements. Fortunately, for Obama, who really wants to invest in environmental and educational change, he will face little resistance to spending initiatives this spring. The country’s political leadership is scared not to spend money during this recession. As we have written before, some people fear we really are heading into a depression and think the economy will fall off a cliff in 2009.
Obama now has a chance to use the disastrous economic climate to invest in a progressive agenda on his three key issues: Energy, Education, and healthcare. On energy, expect to see tax incentives and investments made in what is likely to be the fastest growing sector in America: Alternative energy. People will get rewarded for making their homes more energy efficient, producing wind power, recycling, and my longshot, riding bicycles in lieu of cars.
Obama has a chance to radically address education. We do not know who Obama’s choice for Education will be, but I’m hopeful he will make his most radical appointment here. Today’s NYT says that Obama will govern from the center-right with appointments like Clinton, Daschle, and Geithner. We have to govern from the radical progressive on education. We have to try anything and everything. We have to be provocative. The Atlantic ran a well-researched story about Washington D.C. School Chancellor Michelle Rhee this month. That’s the kind of innovation we need now.
Finally, what can Obama do in healthcare that doesn’t cost a fortune and will not face resistance from the HMO, Pharma, and AMA lobbies? This is the toughest and most concerning of the issues because so many people have no insurance and the cost of healthcare has risen so much faster on a percentage basis than anything other than higher education. I’m most worried about this issue, but I think the appointment of Daschle shows it’s going to be more reform rather than revolution and I’m ok with that. If we can get radical change on energy and education I could live with reform in healthcare — at least this term.
Filed under: economy, Politics | Tagged: alternative energy, AMA, Daschle, dingell, education, energy, energy crisis, Geithner, hilary clinton, HMO, Michelle Rhee, Obama, pharmaceutical companies, waxman |