For all three of you who didn’t watch it, a recap of Obama’s speech
Yes we can (recover from this economic shitstorm)!
After more than an hour of sitting patiently, contemplating whether or not the guy sitting next to you was really a secret service officer, a thundering voice came over the speaker, announcing, finally, “Ladies and gentlemen, the President…
…of Georgetown University, John DeGioia!”
The crowd tittered and Jack walked out and apologetically and spent a few minutes on flattering set-up. Then Obama took the stage, smiling and waving and charismatic as ever.
The speech went over the background of the economic crisis and what the Obama administration has been doing over the past three months to address it (passing the stimulus package, extending unemployment benefits, working with auto companies, etc).
But then things took a turn for the biblical as Obama told the parable of the Sermon on the Mount (quick review for the heathens: two men build houses, one on a pile of sand and the other on a rock, guess which one collapses when the storm comes?).
“We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand. We must build our house upon a rock,” Obama said. “We must lay a new foundation for growth and prosperity—a foundation that will move us from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest; where we consume less at home and send more exports abroad.”
And so, the five pillars of our new rock-house:
1. New rules and regulations for Wall Street: punish “short-cuts and abuse”, reward “drive and innovation.” He said hopes to have bill on his desk by the end of the year.
2. Investment in education to create a more skilled and competitive workforce: Goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020, shift the focus from business to applied sciences and engineering (cue massive MSB revolt).
3. Investment in renewable energy and technology to create new jobs and industries
4. An overhauled healthcare system
5. Finding savings in the federal budget to bring down the deficit: reduce discretionary spending by going through the budget line by line, cut entitlement costs with new health care system.
“We will not finish it in one year or even many,” Obama concluded, “But if we use this moment to lay that new foundation, if we come together and begin the hard work of rebuilding, if we persist and persevere against the disappointments and setbacks that will surely lie ahead, then I have no doubt that this house will stand and the dream of our founders will live on in our time.”
And outside DeGioia palled around with Mayor Adrian Fenty—whose head is even shinier in person than you’d expect—before he jetted off in his little mayoral SmartCar. At the front gates a small cadre of pro-lifers yelled “Obamanomics! A new economy fueled on dead babies!” and the slightly larger group of fresh-faced Georgetown students stood a few feet away with slapped-together signs supporting a women’s right to choose.
And so we went back to our $50,000 per year non-science classes, still terrified of never finding a job, of never paying off our loans, of being broke forever, but perhaps a little more hopeful, a little more optimistic. And, at the very least, glad to have something to brag about.
Photo from Georgetown University‘s flickr, used with permission.