It’s become a cliché to say that Occupy Wall Street has changed our country’s political conversation. But if you want to know exactly how the Occupy movement has impacted the debate in Washington, read Barack Obama’s speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, today. For much of 2011, Obama’s speeches were all about the deficit. Today the central theme of his speech was income inequality—and how this mounting problem weakens our economy and our democracy. At long last, the president sounded like he was channeling his inner Elizabeth Warren. Obama’s pivot away from austerity orthodoxy and toward public investment began with his jobs speech in September, but he’s subsequently sharpened his language and focus in recent months in response to pressure from Occupy Wall Street. He’s now tackling issues of basic fairness and attacking the GOP’s brand of “your-on-your-own economics” in a much more direct way. His nod to Teddy Roosevelt, who delivered his “New Nationalism” speech in Osawatomie in 1910, could not have come at a more appropriate time.The level of dishonesty in this argument is simply appalling. The President has been talking about social justice and income inequality since the primary elections in 2008. A journalist could have gone to the White House web portal and looked at the President's speeches,but Mr. Berman is no journalist so I'll do the work for him. Here is the President in August - before this "pivot" that has become part of the self-serving narrative of the fake-left.
So the question is, what do we do going forward? Look, even though private sector job growth is good, we’ve still got a long way to go before we put everybody back to work. We need to go ahead and act right now on some proposals that are before Congress, ready to be voted on. We should extend the payroll tax cut that we passed in December, put $1,000 in the typical family’s pocket -- we need to extend that into next year. (Applause.) Because if you’ve got more money in your pockets, that means businesses have more customers, they’re more likely to hire. There’s no reason why we can’t do that right now. There’s no reason why, as Ray LaHood knows, we’ve got over $2 trillion worth of repairs that need to be made around the country, and I know there are some right here in this county and right here in this state. And we’ve got a lot of construction workers that are out of work when the housing bubble went bust, and interest rates are low, and contractors are ready to come in on time, under budget -- this is a great time for us to rebuild our roads and our bridges, and locks in the Mississippi, and our seaports and our airports. We could be doing that right now, if Congress was willing to act. (Applause.) http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/08/17/remarks-president-town-hall-meeting-alpha-illinoisHere's the President in July:
The only reason this balanced approach isn’t on its way to becoming law right now is because a significant number of Republicans in Congress are insisting on a different approach -- a cuts-only approach -– an approach that doesn’t ask the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to contribute anything at all. And because nothing is asked of those at the top of the income scale, such an approach would close the deficit only with more severe cuts to programs we all care about –- cuts that place a greater burden on working families. So the debate right now isn’t about whether we need to make tough choices. Democrats and Republicans agree on the amount of deficit reduction we need. The debate is about how it should be done. Most Americans, regardless of political party, don’t understand how we can ask a senior citizen to pay more for her Medicare before we ask a corporate jet owner or the oil companies to give up tax breaks that other companies don’t get. How can we ask a student to pay more for college before we ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries? How can we slash funding for education and clean energy before we ask people like me to give up tax breaks we don’t need and didn’t ask for? That’s not right. It’s not fair. We all want a government that lives within its means, but there are still things we need to pay for as a country -– things like new roads and bridges; weather satellites and food inspection; services to veterans and medical research. And keep in mind that under a balanced approach, the 98 percent of Americans who make under $250,000 would see no tax increases at all. None. In fact, I want to extend the payroll tax cut for working families. What we’re talking about under a balanced approach is asking Americans whose incomes have gone up the most over the last decade -– millionaires and billionaires -– to share in the sacrifice everyone else has to make. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/07/25/address-president-nationAnd in June:
For better or for worse, our generation has seen more than our fair share of economic change. Revolutions in technology have changed the way we live and the way we work. A lot of jobs can now be located anywhere there’s an Internet connection. And companies have become more efficient, so they get by with fewer workers. Now, in some ways, these changes have made our lives a lot easier. It makes products cheaper. You can produce them faster. But for a lot of our friends and neighbors, these changes have also caused a whole lot of pain. Today, for example, a high school diploma no longer guarantees you a good job. I met a couple of the guys here whose fathers had worked at the plant. Now, when the previous generation came to work at this plant, it didn’t matter what kind of education you had, it just mattered whether you were willing to work hard. But these days it’s hard to find a job without a high school diploma. And in a lot of cases, it’s hard to find a job without a college diploma. Over the past 13 years, about a third of our manufacturing jobs have vanished. It’s not just that they’ve gone overseas, it’s also that you guys are just better at producing stuff now than you used to be, so you use fewer workers. And meanwhile, a lot of workers have seen their wages not keep up with rising costs. So I spent a lot of time thinking about these issues when I ran for this office in the first place. When I ran for President, before I came to Iowa, when I was still a senator in Illinois, I kept on thinking about all the folks I would meet in my travels who were feeling that squeeze of wages flat, costs going up. And then in the closing weeks of the campaign, the bottom fell out of the economy –- and the middle class got hammered some more. And I know talking to Klaus, Alcoa got hit pretty good too. [..] That’s why I ran for President -- to get us where we need to be. I ran because I believe in an America where working families aren’t just treading water but they’re moving forward, and where our businesses lead the change on new technologies like clean energy and advanced manufacturing of the sort you’re doing right here at this plant. I believe in an America where our government lives within its means while investing in things that will help us grow, like a world-class education system and cutting-edge innovation and the best transportation and communication systems anywhere in the world. That’s how we’re going to make America the best place to create good, middle-class jobs. That’s how we’re going to win the future -- by doing the smart things right now to help the middle class grow and feel more secure. And a big part of that, a big part of our future has to be a robust and growing manufacturing sector.Remember, this is what "left" journalist Ari Berman wrote: "Obama’s pivot away from austerity orthodoxy and toward public investment began with his jobs speech in September." The President in May: "In the previous decade, wages and incomes have flat-lined for too many families. " Ah, to hell with it, let's jump back to 2010. The President in September 2010 with some of that "austerity orthodoxy".
Now, anybody who thinks that we can move this economy forward with just a few folks at the top doing well, hoping that it’s going to trickle down to working people who are running faster and faster just to keep up, you’ll never see it. (Applause.) If that’s what you’re waiting for, you should stop waiting, because it’s never happened in our history. That’s not how America was built. It wasn’t built with a bunch of folks at the top doing well and everybody else scrambling. We didn’t become the most prosperous country in the world just by rewarding greed and recklessness. We didn’t come this far by letting the special interests run wild. We didn’t do it just by gambling and chasing paper profits on Wall Street. We built this country by making things, by producing goods we could sell. We did it with sweat and effort and innovation. (Applause.) We did it on the assembly line and at the construction site. (Applause.) We did it by investing in the people who built this country from the ground up –- the workers, middle-class families, small business owners. We out-worked folks and we out-educated folks and we out-competed everybody else. That’s how we built America. (Applause.) http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/09/06/remarks-president-laborfest-milwaukee-wisconsinAnd so on. Apparently reading speeches on the White House web site it too damn hard for Mr. Berman.
Editor's cut - Action Item: Give Ari Berman a piece of your mind and send him this article. Since I can only find a twitter name for him, twit the heck out of him @AriBerman. - Deaniac83