How it pervaded Obama’s State of the Union message:

Wrong, indeed. But on the issue of income inequality, the President’s rhetoric was right across the board–that is, until he actually began unfurling his Grand Plans. That’s when the President’s typical double-speak kicked in.

He promised to curtail corporate profits, but his vision for a new, “high-tech” America seemed to entail turning everything from our highways to our public schools into corporate-owned, public-private partnerships.

Missed that part of the speech? Let’s take a closer look at his lofty language.

“Now at schools like P-TECH in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York public schools and City University of New York and IBM , students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in computers or engineering. We need to give every American student opportunities like this, ” he said.

“Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge, to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. And we’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math, the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill the jobs that are there right now and will be there in the future.”

In other words, let’s stop teaching to the standardized test–let’s teach straight to IBM’s computer repair manual.

Obama’s proposed public-private partnerships went far beyond public school classrooms. They also include the country’s most essential infrastructure: roads, bridges, rails and even energy grid.

As the President said, “Ask any CEO where they’d rather locate and hire, a country with deteriorating roads and bridges or one with high-speed rail and Internet, high-tech schools, self- healing power grids. The CEO of Siemens America — a company that brought hundreds of new jobs to North Carolina — has said that if we upgrade our infrastructure, they’ll bring even more jobs. And that’s the attitude of a lot of companies all around the world.”

Okay, so now we’re bribing the same corporations whose exploitative profits we’ve pledged to better control by giving the U.S. a makeover. But he goes further:

“So, tonight, I propose a “Fix-It-First” program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. And to make sure taxpayers don’t shoulder the whole burden, I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children,” he said.

Couched as a way to save taxpayers’ money, the President actually just dangled a considerable carrot in front of corporations: construction grants and partial ownership of nearly all of the United States’ infrastructure.

4 thoughts on “Corporatism

  1. Some heard this: Labor vs. Management. Labor (Democrats) wants to raise the minimum wage. Management (Republicans) does not. Labor wants universal health care. Management does not. Labor wants its retirement accounts (Soc. Sec & Medicare) protected from cuts and privatization. Management does not. Labor wants work and safety rules (government regulations) enforced. Management does not. Labor wants profits distributed fairly (progressive income taxes stripped of exemptions). Management does not. And so on.

  2. Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge, to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy.
    ~~Quote from Obama from above

    I had decided to not listen to the State of the Union, since it usually does not lead to any actions I need or desire. But, at some point I heard this line and some of the rest of the graf.

    My immediate thought was that so many people prepared for jobs which were “hiring” and, by the time they graduated, those fields were either not hiring, were downsizing, or the field had changed radically.

    My nephew decided finally on a career in IT; his experience with courses made him realize that was where is strengths lay, and, fortunately, it was a “hot field.” Well, by the time he got his degree, somewhat delayed due to marriage and new family, it was almost impossible to get an IT job if the applicant wanted a US type salary or didn’t have heavy duty on the job experience. He put in time on help lines on rotating, long schedules, then didn’t get the promised full time job with benefits (surprise). He did get laid off.

    Fortunately, about 4-5 years after getting his degree, he almost fell into a place that wanted him and wanted his experience. Finally, happy days. However, this business is something of a start up….

    His wife has huge advanced degree loans, but she is bringing down her debt and also has a decent job. So, now they loads to repay, a mortgage, children to raise.

    With the help of parents, they have built a house, but with somewhat longish commutes and the two car requirement of living in less expensive, less developed area. They do have a fixed rate mortgage. But…her field is facing cuts, so anxiety is never far from the surface.

    It’s not easy being young adults in this nation at this time. It will probably be very difficult being older in this nation. And Obama is not going to help them. Period. He helps Big Money and Big Corporations.

    Obama talks good talk at times, but his actions seldom live up to that talk.

    Don’t bother listening to what he says, except as a warning. Watch what he does.

    But, c’mon, Barry, you really think most people end up in the “field” they majored in???

  3. Wasn’t it the parent of Siemens America that just paid a $1.6 billion fine to settle charges of bribery?

  4. Missed that part of the speech?

    I didn’t watch the spiel – I never do – so I missed the bit about the roads, etc., but oh yeah, even from the passing mention I heard somewhere, the bit about the schools, I caught that.

    So now the Next Big Thing for our public schools is going to be going to the corporations and asking them “What do you want us to teach?” Terrific. I’m all a-flutter.

    Jeez, at least with evolution the problem is creationists trying to foist their ideology on the educational system, not us looking to turn the system over to them.

Comments are closed.