The speech Barack Obama ought to give right now
Today is the deadline for a decision on how to raise America’s debt ceiling. It is not a matter of whether, but of how. And today, Barack Obama will sign an agreement that compromises the very values upon which he campaigned, and won the presidency.
Below is the speech I believe he should give to the American people once the deed is done. I believe a radical faction on the extreme Right really does have a coordinated plan to consolidate even more wealth into even fewer hands, and to erase our way of life forever, and that left unchecked, they will succeed. This is but one step down that path, and not the first, nor, sadly, the last.–Tom Strini
My Fellow Americans,
The House of Representatives and the Senate have agreed upon a deficit ceiling bill and I will sign it. If I don’t sign, the nation will not be able to pay its bills, our credit rating will fall, and interest rates on our loans will rise to unmanageable levels. Faith not only in our government but in our economic system would be shaken. Economic collapse, even worse than we experienced before I took office in 2008, would be likely, possibly on a world-wide scale.
Therefore, I must sign this bill. But I must level with you, my fellow citizens: I am deeply ashamed of it. This bill, which I am compelled to sign, is a key part of a larger effort on the part of an elite and malignant few to transfer even more wealth to the wealthiest, even as it establishes a zero-sum, no-growth economy.
This larger effort aims to further enrich the greediest among us by attacking economic and environmental controls that any prudent society requires. This bill represents an attack on the middle classes and the poor. It seeks to protect exactly the sort of generational, aristocratic privilege our founding fathers warned against. It solidifies wealth won not by industry and creativity, but by inheritance. It absolves the wealthy from their obligations to the rest of us, to the society that sustains them.
As the ill effects of this extremist effort take place — as your wages and home values tumble, your health care premiums rise, as the public safety net is cut to tatters, as you can no longer afford to send your children to public universities, as homelessness rises — I urge America to track a key statistic:
2% of the people own 40% of America’s wealth. Even that is not enough for the extremists who have forced my hand in this debt-ceiling matter. If that spread strikes you as obscene, I invite you to watch it grow even more lop-sided as the extreme right has its way. I will do what I can to arrest their recklessness, greed and disregard for working people. But in the end, only you, the American people, can stop them in their explicit campaign to create a crueler and more economically divided society.
Good night, and may God bless America.