After the SOTU What We Want to Hear Next: The Fight for a Fairer Economy

By Amy Dean

Amy B. Dean

While I admired so much of what I heard from the President last night; after the applause dies away, we have to face the next difficult stage of this national conversation.  It’s the kind of conversation that gets to the tough decisions and real problems only alluded to last night.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama explained that in the past two years we have faced “the worst recession most of us have ever known.”  Historians and economists might differ in how they compare the recent economic crisis to the Great Depression. Nevertheless, Obama’s descriptions of our economic difficulties have a political effect. They lead people to liken him to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the president who dealt with the last century’s most profound economic downturn.

Yet, as the State of the Union made clear, there is a critical difference between the two presidents. While both have similarly spoken of the gravity of unemployment and economic stagnation, we need to hear next if President Obama will follow FDR’s lead in highlighting the institutions that can bring about middle class prosperity in America. We need to know how the broad vision President Obama outlined last night will become a concrete plan to strengthen the government’s role in creating greater fairness in our economy.

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