What the State of the Union could have been.

Last night, President Obama delivered his State of The Union address, and what we didn't hear is almost as important as what he said. The President said he wants 2014 to be a year of action to fight income inequality, but he never mentioned raising taxes on the rich, or helping labor groups fight the war on unions. We heard the President talk about working with CEOs to help the long-term unemployed, but he never suggested a new public works program to make our government the employer of last resort.

He talked about climate change and the importance of green energy, but he never explained how nuclear, fracking, and so-called clean coal are going to help us address global warming. And, President Obama talked about “opening new markets,” but never addressed the fact that free trade ships our jobs overseas and puts downward pressure on American wages. The President did address equal pay for equal work, he announced an executive order giving federal contractors a raise, and he talked about rewarding companies that bring American jobs back from overseas. But, this speech could have been so much more.

President Obama could have come out strongly against the Keystone Pipeline, the TPP, and the Republican obstructionism that's left Congress at a standstill. He could have embraced policies that have worked in our nation – like FDR's “New Deal” or President Harry Truman's Public Works Administration. Those are the policies we need to repair our nation, and revive the American Dream. Those are the ideas that could usher in a new era of shared prosperity, and the actions that Americans would support.


Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 7 weeks ago

It worked for FDR but he had a little bit of help...the spectre of masses of out of work, starving and dying Americans rebelling against the few wealthy elite that ruled the country. All of the violent clashes, internal dissent, made the world very unsafe for those who had all the money. Obama, or any other next President, will never get the CEOs or any other ruling elite to create decent paying jobs in America when there is very little expectation of massive overthrow of those ruling elite. The squeaky wheel gets the grease! That's one reason why they are trying to put limitations on the internet. That's one reason the ruling elite has to rely on puppet Presidents to say lots of good sounding things yet screw us later. That's why they need the fake system of democracy we have now.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 9 years 7 weeks ago

When the Prez first took the stage, I thought I was at a pep-rally. He seemed forced and insincere...which he doesn’t do well...although there were glimmers of hope in the speech, most of it was vague and completely disingenuous. Hints at using exec. powers, not only to raise min. wage requirements for new fed. contracts, but also to expand ‘opportunity’ still make me wonder if he tends to use exec. powers to fast-track TPP.

Jeremy, I could not have said it better myself. Jeremy Scahill on The De-clawed, toothless tiger Obama, State of the Union;

“...Does the average American benefit from the continuation of these wars? Who benefits...corporations...war corporations...John Kerry...is giving these awards for ‘corporate excellence’ around the world. He’s giving them to Citibank, to Apache, to Boeing, to Coca-Cola, so you have this neoliberal economic agenda which is...the hidden hand...of the US Empire, and then you have this iron fist of US militarism that is being sold to the American Public and increasingly to the world as ‘National Security‘ policy...When corporations control our political precess through a legalized form of corruption...What does that say about the state of our democracy? In a way there has already been a coup in this country, but it’s been a silent coup...It reminds me of that famous line from the movie ‘The Usual Suspects’, at the end of it Kevin Spacey’s character says, ‘The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.’ In many ways a coup has happened and the brilliance of it is that it’s not sparking major uprisings because we’ve been pacified and taught to just accept this is how things work. We have 2 parties in this country... ...corporations are in control and these wars are fought in our name, but without our consent. “ democracynow.org

Actually, I think there have been major uprisings...but the media doesn’t cover them. Even well meaning media never finds out about them to cover them because they are being squashed at the local level. Which is why again, I’ll say, wanna fix the gubmint? Gotta fix the media first.

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 9 years 7 weeks ago

That's also why, this time, they will amass enough wealth to pilot the skies w/ predator drones.

A Reynolda's picture
A Reynolda 9 years 7 weeks ago

I was listening to your show earlier re: the upside down stars on the flag. I just caught a clip of the video again. I may be wrong, but when a service member dies, the flag is folded into a triangle and given to the family. Many then encase the flag in a frame to protect it. If you look carefully, not all the stars point directly down.

Howard Laverne Stewart's picture
Howard Laverne ... 9 years 7 weeks ago

Hopefully the executive actions will cover a lot of uncovered affairs; however I suspect the president has been lobbied into submission.

mrbrannon68's picture
mrbrannon68 9 years 7 weeks ago

The SOU speech was just what I expected it to be. I agree with all Thom's points, but I also believe the President should have mentioned the Citizens United decision directly to the Justices sitting in front of him. He should have made the repeal of this decision paramount to his goals for 2014, by supporting an amendment to confirm what a living and breathing person really is and what it is not. Doing so would separate him from the control of plutocrats and send a message that he is no longer part of the problem of maintaining the inequality within our nation. By not even mentioning the role the Supreme Court has played in turning our elections over to plutocrats and oligarchs, he has shown that he is not going to be part of the solution, but continue to be part of the problem. Nothing is going to change, until the American people educate themselves in the history, economics, politics and the philosophy of our Republic. Until enough individual time the time to learn the facts, they will continue to face the problems of our governments with their eyes tightly closed.

mrbrannon68's picture
mrbrannon68 9 years 7 weeks ago

I agree with your comments, but I would like to ask a question. While reading the book "The Bully Pulpit", by Doris Goodwin, I read an article by Lincoln Stephens written for McClure's Magazine about the corruption of state politics in Missouri. In the article the corruption of politics was labeled as treason because the governing of the state subverted the will of the people and violated the state constitution. Do you believe that such a strong word of condemnation should be used today to describe the corruption of our governments?

mrbrannon68's picture
mrbrannon68 9 years 7 weeks ago

I agree with your comments, but I would like to ask a question. While reading the book "The Bully Pulpit", by Doris Goodwin, I read an article by Lincoln Stephens written for McClure's Magazine about the corruption of state politics in Missouri. In the article the corruption of politics was labeled as treason because the governing of the state subverted the will of the people and violated the state constitution. Do you believe that such a strong word of condemnation should be used today to describe the corruption of our governments?

sandlewould's picture
sandlewould 9 years 7 weeks ago
ScottFromOz 9 years 7 weeks ago

If corporations ship jobs overseas, those corporations should be made to pay the equivalent taxes that the outsourced employees WOULD have paid, until those employees are re-employed at a salary equivalent to what they were on when they were retrenched. If they never again achieve the level of income that they had when they were retrenched, then the employer who outsourced their jobs overseas would continue to be responsible for the difference in taxes paid by those employees.

In one stroke that would recoup the lost taxation income to the government and act as a disincentive for companies to ship jobs overseas, all without raising tax rates on the corporations. The companies that outsource would still benefit from paying the slave wages that are the going rates in the third world, but they would still be responsible to pick up the loss of taxation revenue to the US government. Our country would benefit from still having enough funds to cover infrastructure and services costs.

Woulld this measure be an administrative burden on corporations? Well, yes, but the tax system is already so complicated that they already pay accountants and auditors to manage their taxes who could manage this.

Gary Reber's picture
Gary Reber 9 years 7 weeks ago

Nor was the critical issue of Who Owns America and Who Should Own America was NEVER addressed. Instead, the sole focus was on Jobs Creation and Education, neither of which will be effective unless there is a solid, continuous momentum in the economic growth of the country, and that means simultaneously financing growth while creating new capital asset ownership whereby EVERY citizen over time can acquire a viable income-producing productive capital estate to augment job-sourced income. Even President Obama's proposal for creating "retirement savings bonds" will require the pledge of "savings" and the denial of personal consumption, which in reality will benefit the more well off than the vast majority of Americans struggling to pay check to pay check.

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 9 years 7 weeks ago

Although I did not listen to the SOTUA, from what I've been hearing about it, I would say the Prez "toed the party line". The question is "which party?"

I avoid listening to long winded prevarications, so I almost never listen to political speeches.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 7 weeks ago

The State of the Union???? How about the plain truth?....The bloated billionaires, along with their bowel obstruction, also known as the House Teabaggers, continue to have more power than the Democratic State itself. Obama may as well have admitted this truth and apologized for the pain and bruises, we the working class end up with, as they, Obama and the Democrats, continue to get their asses kicked by these Fascist bastards. Our public servants feel no pain, many simply ride off into the sunset of K Street along with their independent wealth.

I had a long discussion with a true Socialist at an Occupy event way back. He swore up and down that the only answer was violent revolution. He was absolutely certain the rich will not let go of their Fascist power without a tremendous fight. I keep asking myself.. oh my god, what if he is right?

We at least have to get back in the streets like our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world...gotta be a peaceful way!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 9 years 7 weeks ago

Some guy called Thom at the end of today's show and wanted a pity party for business owners in regard to the proposed increase in minimum wage. I would have simply redirected him to a talk show in Australia where the minimum wage is over $16. I'm pretty sure the small business owners over there haven't packed up their toys and gone home. They still make plenty off the backs of their fellow man.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 7 weeks ago

I've one brief message for small business owners like the one 10-K just described: Don't wanna pay a livable wage? Then DO THE WORK YOURSELF! Goddam crybabies... - AIW

Jerry1003's picture
Jerry1003 9 years 7 weeks ago

A good politician gave a very good video on our problems in this country. Ignored by the media and president as usual.


Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 9 years 7 weeks ago


I could not agree with you more. The Citizen's United case will be viewed, in the future, as an assinine unConstitutional decision made by intellectual light-weights (the K-RATS) bought by big money, which has severely damaged our country.

Corporations DO NOT deserve a vote--they are not people. Every real person working at the corporation already has his/her ONE VOTE when he/she steps into the voting booth. It's all REAL people get--one person, one vote. Why should a corporation get more votes and who decides what that vote will be? Real people are not permitted to give unlimited amounts of money to politicians. Why are corporations given that right--a right ABOVE citizens? There seems to be a raging double-standard at work, which does not belong in DEMOCRACY.

Why has no one seen this unConstitutional? Or just plain stupid?

Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 9 years 7 weeks ago

Amen Aliceinwonderland:

Also consumers, workers need liviable wages--extra money left over after bills--to keep small business afloat--or there will be NO money/profit for them--why don't they understand that?

My uncle had a small, very successful, heating AC business. He took care of his customers and his employees and their families. (He has since retired, but his employees are still loyal to him and come to his aid when he needs help.) He provided well for his family, but they did not live "high-on-the-hog." They lived in a modest home, did not go on fancy vacations every year, need new vehicles every year, fancy worthless toys...I think you get the picture,

He saw his business as a way to MAKE A LIVING not as a get rich quick scheme and a way to USE others to pay for a grander lifestyle. I wish that there were more businesspeople like him. The world and our economy would be in a better place.

Dweinstein003's picture
Dweinstein003 9 years 7 weeks ago

Welcome to the state of mind called, The Green Party, Mr Hartmann! No longer do you have to buy this feel your pain nonsense while no action is taken. Vote your conscience as Mr. Nader asks!

Now you can stop babling about the Republicans and ask how are we going to get a JFK type in there who'll say if we can put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, we can have a massive solar project in the Mojave desert, windturbines in the Atlantic and a grid to power it all. If the US could fund NASA, we can fund Renewables, can't we?

Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your progressive audience!

Isn't it time, Mr. Hartman that we all get to work building the massive renewable project which will cut oil and other fossil fuels, and allow us to cut or military expenditures by two thirds. Think about it Mr. Hartmann, while your babbling about Republicans, you could be talkign about how the US could borrow at 2% and get rates of return of 15% or more, not mentioning clean air and water!

michaelmoore052's picture
michaelmoore052 9 years 7 weeks ago

Your shadow government in action.

Good luck.

DHBranski's picture
DHBranski 9 years 7 weeks ago

Democrats already decided the next election. Bill Clinton targeted the very poor, giving us 8 years of Bush. While lib media remained oblivious to this point, most of the poor and those of us who care about the growth of severe poverty in the US, withheld our votes, unable to vote for another anti-poor Democrat. Once again, Democrats target the poor, slashing food aid for the elderly, disabled and poor. Hard to get much lower than that. As I understand it, they decided to cut $90 from the average $110 allotment. This already guaranteed that the administration will be Republican, as we withhold our votes in the next election. The Republicans know it. Lib media knows it. Keep this in mind as the campaign fund-raising campaigns go into full swing.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 7 weeks ago

Ozzy scott -- The dems can even get a bill passed to stop giving tax incentives to ship jobs overseas. It was filibustered in the senate by every repug and no dem. It seems that tariffs have always worked. Why not use tariffs? Actually, tariffs are now being applied but they are in the 2%. We need to change them back to the values they have been for 200 years until raygun came along -- typically, they were around 20%.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 7 weeks ago

Elioflight -- I thought everyone saw it has unConstitutional. Even Obama in his previous SOTU called it unConstitutional.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 7 weeks ago

Elioflight -- Most business people are like your uncle. The problem is that private equity firms like Bain capital just buy them out.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Cracking the Code:
"In Cracking the Code, Thom Hartmann, America’s most popular, informed, and articulate progressive talk show host and political analyst, tells us what makes humans vulnerable to unscrupulous propagandists and what we can do about it. It is essential reading for all Americans who are fed up with right-wing extremists manipulating our minds and politics to promote agendas contrary to our core values and interests."
David C. Korten, author of The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community and When Corporations Rule the World and board chair of YES! magazine
From Screwed:
"The powers that be are running roughshod over the powers that OUGHT to be. Hartmann tells us what went wrong — and what you and I can do to help set American right again."
Jim Hightower, National Radio Commentator, Writer, Public Speaker, and author of the bestselling Thieves in High Places
From Unequal Protection, 2nd Edition:
"If you wonder why and when giant corporations got the power to reign supreme over us, here’s the story."
Jim Hightower, national radio commentator and author of Swim Against the Current