By DONNA BRAZILE
A little more than six months into his second term, President Obama returned to the theme of his presidency, and perhaps his entire political career: carrying out the promise made in the preamble to the Constitution. The president wants to refocus our attention on the economy and helping middle-class families because that’s the moral imperative of our Founders: to promote the general welfare.
From the day he took office, Obama’s goal has been economic restoration, the foundation of social stability. But certain segments of Congress don’t understand that the equation “We the people” means policies that strengthen opportunity for the most people and support those most in need. “We the people” does not refer to an oligarchy of the increasingly super-rich amassing more and more of the country’s wealth for themselves.
Despite some media whining, Obama’s ideas are not new ideas. He is proposing well-thought-out programs to restore economic progress for the working and middle classes, based on fundamental principles. “This country offered you a basic bargain,” he said this week at Knox College. It offered “a sense that your hard work would be rewarded with fair wages and benefits, the chance to buy a home, to save for retirement and, above all, to hand down a better life for your kids.”
Unfortunately, we’ve come to expect congressional Republicans to obstruct progress and undermine efforts “to provide for the general welfare.” Thus it was not surprising that Republican leaders announced their intention to stonewall the president’s plans to better the economy, and also to reverse all the public benefits from laws already enacted.
The Republican chairman of House Appropriations, Rep. Harold Rogers, announced bills to shoot down Obama’s major economic initiatives. They slash the budgets for various departments from 30 to 50 percent. “These are tough bills,” Rogers said. “His priorities are going nowhere.” Republicans have pledged to shut down the government come October, unless Obama agrees to completely defund Obamacare.