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Opportunity is the idea at the heart of this country – that no matter who you are or how you started out, with hard work and responsibility, you can get ahead.
Opportunity. The president is on it.

Wrapping up a road show of visits pushing his new opportunity agenda first put forward in his State of the Union speech, President Obama devoted his weekly address this morning to outline his initiatives to the American people, from job training to new retirement accounts.

It's an agenda with four parts, he said:

Number one: more new jobs. Number two: training folks with the skills to fill those jobs. Number three: guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education. And number four: making sure that hard work pays off, with wages you can live on, savings you can retire on, and health insurance that’s there when you need it.
If moving this country toward these goals means acting in the face of congressional obstruction, so be it, he said:
But in this year of action, whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, I will. I’ve got a pen and a phone – a pen to take executive action, and a phone to rally citizens and business leaders who are eager to create new jobs and new opportunities.
Across-the-board reform of training programs, new "my-RA" retirement accounts, persuading tech company CEO's to focus on helping workers develop skills and wiring all of the nation's schools, meeting with business leaders to pressure them to hire the long-unemployed: he's on it.

Underscoring his commitment, he concluded:

So when you hear me talk about using my pen and my phone to make a difference for middle class Americans and those working to get into the middle class, that’s what I mean. And I’m going to keep asking students and parents and business leaders to help – because there are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments, ready to move this country forward, and determined to restore the founding vision of opportunity for all.
To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
The White House
February 8, 2014

Hi, everybody. In my State of the Union Address, I talked about the idea of opportunity for all.

Opportunity is the idea at the heart of this country – that no matter who you are or how you started out, with hard work and responsibility, you can get ahead.

I ran for President to restore that idea, and I’m even more passionate about it today. Because while our economy has been growing for four years, and those at the top are doing better than ever, average wages have barely budged. Too many Americans are working harder than ever just to get by, let alone get ahead – and that’s been true since long before the recession hit.

We’ve got to reverse those trends. We’ve got to build an economy that works for everyone, not just a fortunate few. And the opportunity agenda I laid out last week will help us do that.

It’s an agenda with four parts. Number one: more new jobs. Number two: training folks with the skills to fill those jobs. Number three: guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education. And number four: making sure that hard work pays off, with wages you can live on, savings you can retire on, and health insurance that’s there when you need it.

I want to work with Congress on this agenda where I can. But in this year of action, whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, I will. I’ve got a pen and a phone – a pen to take executive action, and a phone to rally citizens and business leaders who are eager to create new jobs and new opportunities. And we’ve already begun.

In Wisconsin, I ordered an across-the-board reform of our training programs to train folks with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now.

In Pittsburgh, I directed the Treasury to create “my-RA,” a new way for working Americans, even if you’re not wealthy, to start your own retirement savings.

In Maryland, I rallied the leaders of some of America’s biggest tech companies to help us make sure all our kids have access to high-speed internet and up-to-date technology to help them learn the skills they need for the new economy.

And at the White House, I brought together business leaders who’ve committed to helping more unemployed Americans find work, no matter how long they’ve been looking.  And I directed the federal government to make hiring decisions the same way – based on whether applicants can do the job, not when they last had a job.

So when you hear me talk about using my pen and my phone to make a difference for middle class Americans and those working to get into the middle class, that’s what I mean. And I’m going to keep asking students and parents and business leaders to help – because there are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments, ready to move this country forward, and determined to restore the founding vision of opportunity for all.

And so am I. Thanks, have a great weekend, and to our Olympians in Sochi, go Team USA!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Let me be the first to pi$$ all over this (4+ / 0-)

    Sure, he's the first President since the Progressive Era to trul challenge inequality, albeit belatedly, but I have to say something negative, because, you know, it's the weekly radio address.


    ODS results in Obama's amazing ability to humiliate his biggest critics, on the right and the left.

    by NoFortunateSon on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 07:04:34 AM PST

  •  Students and parents? Really? (18+ / 0-)

    Just what are students and parents supposed to do?  More homework?  More jobs to pay back loans?  
    I cannot listen to him any longer.  Does this constant talk of working hard and playing by the rules mean if one is struggling now one must not be working hard and playing by the rules?  What rules?  The ones that let JP Morgan and all the other banksters pay fines while getting richer and bigger?
    No mention of government, of unions, of labor.  Complete waste of breath.

    •  At least he's got his finger on the pulse... (5+ / 0-)

      ...of the country.

      "... there are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments ..."
    •  IOTW, WE ARE ON OUR OWN HERE... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SpecialKinFlag, Mr Robert, andalusi

      the federal gov't; specifically the deadbeats in congress, DO in fact have the power to make our nation one of more, better opportunities for we the people:

      MAJOR 25 YEAR INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM.

      START NOW, stop the nonsensical pep rallies and get on with the plan and the funding...

      "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

      by Superpole on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 07:59:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As for the POTUS (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Zwenkau

        He took this on with the American Jobs Act -- which never got off the ground, thanks to the mini-minds in Congress. The President (any President) is limited in what s/he can do by executive order; sometimes s/he can only act as advocate-in-chief until something else happens.

        Our job as citizens in an allegedly representative democracy is surely to get on and/or stay on our representatives and senators to ensure that they move in the direction we need so things that are needed DO happen.

        So far, President Obama is doing better than than we ever could when faced with similar opposition - but the fact remains that improvement won't accelerate much unless as LOT of politicians' feet are held to the fire. The 'we want ALL the cookies' attitude displayed by too many 'progressives' doesn't help much.

        ObamaCare! Sign-up by phone: 1-800-318-2596

        by mwm341 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 08:51:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Couldn't Obama do what Roosevelt did in the 30's (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Superpole

          I've been told that through executive channels, Roosevelt created jobs for many of the unemployed without congressional approval.......

          •  ANYTHING the POTUS Does (0+ / 0-)

            requires funding.

            it recently took the deadbeats in congress 16 months to pass a new transportation bill. typically that takes, what? three months?

            if they can't pass basic legislation, what makes you think they will pass/fund anything out of the ordinary?

            "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

            by Superpole on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:52:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Executive Order 6174 on Public Works Admin.. (0+ / 0-)

            Here is a good one

            During the ensuing 30 days the Federal Emergency Administrator of Public Works shall have authority to allot the sum of not to exceed $400,000,000 provided for in Title II of said act for highway building for distribution among the States, Territories, and the District of Columbia, and authority to allot the sum of not to exceed $238,000,000 to the Department of the Navy for the construction of certain vessels, the construction whereof conforms to the London Naval Treaty and has heretofore been approved by me.
            The funding for the PWA was authorized by the National Industrial Recovery Act.

            FDR used executive order for implementing laws passed by Congress.

            I spent 4 minutes researching this so be nice if I am wrong.  

            http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/...

        •  Sorry the American Jobs Act (0+ / 0-)

          is not a 25 year long, $2 Trillion funded infrastructure program.

          I can more or less guarantee you we are not getting out of the financial ditch without such a bold program.

          see the latest jobs numbers?

          "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

          by Superpole on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:50:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Sort of typical Washington elitist speech. (7+ / 0-)

      This is how you sound once you've been there for a while. Just sort of mealy-mouthed nothing words and small ball non-events.

    •  I would like to see concrete solutions (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking

      All politicians seem to be able to present wonderful rhetoric about how things should be and how they are not like they should be and how someone else is the reason for that.  It is not party-specific and it is not ideology-specific.

      For once I would like to see actual solutions to the problems so many of our citizens have especially in the area of raising the economic status of ALL Americans.  We have a big divide in this country between the rich and the poor but what is not usually said is that the majority of we citizens live somewhere in the middle of that.  We are suffering and it is not because government does not give us enough.  It is because there are no concrete solutions so that everyone that wants to can take advantage of the equal opportunities that are already out there.

      Government has to not only help businesses grow and create jobs but has to get involved in government projects that create jobs and opportunity which will in itself grow our country's economy that is currently only being pumped up by printed money and massive entitlement involvement.  I know the arguments to that but I do not accept them.  We need real solutions, no rhetoric.

    •  In answer to your question CTliberalpragmatist, (0+ / 0-)

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:38:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Zzzzzzzzzzzz. nt (11+ / 0-)

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 07:10:56 AM PST

  •  I've been seeing more and more here (7+ / 0-)

    in the comments lately that Hillary would be not nearly as good a president as Obama is, or that the base will not be nearly as motivated by her as they are by this guy. Well, of course not. None of us alive today are likely to ever again have as our president someone as inspirational as Barack Obama. We are all spoiled. A lot of people here have knocked Obama or his administration for this or that over the years. But what is starting to sink in is that (despite some of those negative sentiments) soon we will no longer have this man as our president, or his wonderful family as our First Family, and no matter who takes their place it just is not going to be the same. This goes not just for Americans but for people all over the world. I for one have been aware of this since he was first elected in 2008, and have relished every minute of our time with him in office. These are tough times we live in, but I feel blessed to have Barack Obama as my president. Hillary may be terrific, but there is no point in even trying to compare her or anyone else now in politics with the president.

    •  Maybe "inspirational" is not a core trait... (0+ / 0-)

      ...required to govern the US.

    •  I think if there is robust economic growth for a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TJ, cybrestrike, Mr Robert

      change, people will be more than happy to see Obama and his wonderful family in Chicago.

      •  I thought that we here understood (0+ / 0-)

        how limited any president is in terms of igniting the economy (especially after the prior president left office with an enormous debt overhang). Obama has relentlessly pursued strategies of job creation, but has been stymied by a Congress bent on actually hurting our economy.

        •  He's had plenty of job creation. (6+ / 0-)

          Its just all the jobs created under his presidency suck. Thus inequality is worse, poverty is at all time highs...especially for black people.

          The problem is that there the key problems as to why that is are policies that he has continued. Namely, deficit hysteria, low taxes, regulatory impotency, free trade, and declining collective bargaining among the labor force. Even if he had enacted all of his supply-side policies, that would still be the case and we'd have the same economy we have today. Supply side economics is why we are so fucked and he's been a proponent just like every president since Nixon.

          You can talk about this bill or that bill, but fundamentally President Obama has continued the policies enacted in small measure in the 1970's and big time from the 1980's forward. He himself braggs about making permanent 98% of the Bush Tax Cuts as if that were a good thing.

          Until we get back to b

          •  How does raising taxes on the lower 98%... (0+ / 0-)

            ...fight income inequality?

            I never understood the doublespeak that Obama needs to do more than he already is to fight income inequality, buy the also needed to let all the Bush tax cuts expire.


            ODS results in Obama's amazing ability to humiliate his biggest critics, on the right and the left.

            by NoFortunateSon on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:21:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Once you accept the idea (0+ / 0-)

              that taxes hurt rather than help, then yes, all taxes are bad and need to be cut. So in your mind, going back to the already low taxes we had just 15 years ago constitutes a hurt. God forbid we go back to the very high taxes we had in the 1960's which didn't seem to do anything except give government the resources to do things for people. So now, we have low taxes and a government than can do next to nothing for people. Which is exactly how the other party wants it. 'Starve the beast' they say.

              Going back to the Clinton rates means a government not starved of revenue, but able to sustain itself. And that means a government than can at least address a few of the major problems in society without going bankrupt.

              Stop thinking like a Republican, and then you'll get it. High taxes don't mean 'pain.'

              •  Sorry. I can't accept a lie. (0+ / 0-)

                This is a reality based community. You'd do well to remember it.

                So in the mean time, please explain how taking x dollars out of the paycheck of the lower 98%, and certainly the lower 90%, would help them in this economy. It won't. Not without corresponding increase in government spending. Which wasn't going to happen.


                ODS results in Obama's amazing ability to humiliate his biggest critics, on the right and the left.

                by NoFortunateSon on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:23:43 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Reality is obvious. So here are the facts: (0+ / 0-)

                  The Bush Tax cuts had a ten year sunset provision. That was enacted into law when there was all Republican government. That is a fact. Deny if you must, but that is the truth.

                  President Obama and a Democratic Congress extended those tax cuts for two years. That is despite economists recommendations that such tax cuts would have negligible effects on economic growth but would eliminate all deficits in just a few years if spending kept pace with inflation. They were extended for purely political reasons because folks like you are scared to death of the GOP screaming 'TAX INCREASE!!!' Of course, despite Obama and the Dems doing this, the GOP screamed tax increase anyway and the GOP base believed it. That's what Republicans do. Its how they are.

                  So, when those taxes expired, and it is a material, legal fact that they did, everyone's taxes went back to where they were before the Bush tax cuts. That is a fact, even though you probably don't believe it.

                  The CBO had already scored the revenue generated by allowing ALL the Bush Tax Cuts to sunset, as Bush himself signed into law. Revenues went up sharply to 21.4% of GDP by 2022. If all spending kept pace with inflation, spending would have been 20% of GDP by 2022. That's called SURPLUS revenue in abundance. No Medicare cuts, no Social Security Cuts, no Discretionary Cuts. All you had to do was let the Bush Tax Cuts expire. Simple.

                  But then, President Obama did something absolutely crazy in 2011: He negotiated over the Debt Ceiling (despite the advice he was given frequently right here on this blog, mostly by me), and that led him to accept the Sequester, which slash discretionary spending on things we need. So now we've got a massive spending cut, when what is needed most is a spending boost. He then followed that up by cutting revenues YET AGAIN, by passing a new round of tax cuts (remember the Bush Tax Cuts expired) for 98% of folks. Now revenue is projected to be 15.4% of GDP in 2022. Guess what we're gonna have to do? You got it! We must CUT SPENDING!

                  The CBO said that had those tax cuts expired, the average wage earning Americans taxes would have went up about $2 a week. If you recall, the Bush Tax Cuts were heavily slanted towards those in the $100k + range , but the average worker barely noticed the tax cut. They would barely notice the expiration of it as well. Who would get hit are those millions of people in the $100k to $500k range...because that's where the revenue is.  But of course, President Obama gave those very people another big new tax cut to match Bush's, so the only people who got hit were millionaires and billionaires, and there are too few of them to collect the kind of revenue we need. And most of them earn very little of their money through income earnings. Those folks have loopholes like carried interest and capital gains and the like, tax cuts which President Obama ALSO extended in 2012.

                  So, if you want to know why all this fucks up the middle class and the poor, look no further than the impotent Chief Executive we have in the White House who is no reduced to helping out that small slice of the public known as Federal workers. God bless him for doing it, but it really is a sad state of affairs.

                  •  So you were for Keynesian economics.... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...before you were against it?

                    I'm desperately trying to find the logic in your argument, and despite my best effort, it appears it boils down to this:

                    Step 1: The economy is bad, but we should take x dollars away from the lower 98% because, according to you, they won't miss it (somehow I bet they will), going against every tenet of Keynesian economics, and basic politics.
                    Step 2: ???
                    Step 3: Move government spending and no cuts to social programs.

                    Never mind what Step 2 is, your logic is absurd.

                    Listen, elections have consequences. The last Democrat left us with a budget surplus. Look what 8 years of Bush did.  The next Republican President will be no different. If people elect Republicans to government, they will slash social programs. Period. Bush was thwarted with social security in 2005. The next Republican President won't be.

                    And all that missing revenue from the 98% could easily be made up with revenue from the top 2%, from capital gains taxes, stock transaction taxes, etc..., but despite a good year for Democrats, the Country reelected a tea bag House. So stop blaming everyone else for the consequences of that decision.


                    ODS results in Obama's amazing ability to humiliate his biggest critics, on the right and the left.

                    by NoFortunateSon on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:20:57 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It also elected (0+ / 0-)

                      an weak president apparently.

                      This isn't hard:

                      1. Tax increases will not 'hit' the bottom 98% but the top 15 to 20% they were targeted at helping in the first place. Don't see why this is so hard to comprehend.

                      2. Instead of deficit hysteria, you have 'what do we do with this extra money?' I know Obama hates deficits as much as any Republican, but he seems to not get the revenue side of that.

                      3. You spend the money you've raised on biggest bang for the buck, not least stimulative tax cuts (like most of Obama's stimulus). Tax cuts are the least stimulative Keynesian government action.

                      And all that missing revenue from the 98% could easily be made up with revenue from the top 2%, from capital gains taxes, stock transaction taxes, etc..., but despite a good year for Democrats, the Country reelected a tea bag House.
                      You fail to note that those very taxes of which you speak were extended in late 2010 when we did have a Democratic House. Tax extensions PUSHED by President Obama's White House.

                      The last Democratic President not only left us with a budget surplus, but a robust economy that lifted the wages of just about everyone. He left with less poverty than he found. He left with record low unemployment achieved by increasing the labor participation, not because record numbers dropped out of the workforce. Somehow he managed to do all that with an all Republican Congress that was far more politically astute than the current House.

                      Lets see if this one can even match that, much less exceed it. I doubt it.

                      This sort of thing, domestic economic policy, never was his forte. Wasn't even the reason he ran for office. He was elected to end the war in Iraq. He did. We are grateful. But now its time to get a White House that's actually interested in economic policy and development at the very top.

                      •  Double Speak (0+ / 0-)

                        No, I'm not talking about the Obama's a "weak" drone tyrant whatever contradiction. 'Green Lantern-ism' is roundly mocked by pundits and widely debunked by Presidential historians as glorified concern trolling. We won't play that sucker's game with Ron Fournier, and I won't play it with you.

                        * * *

                        So back to your idea of letting the Bush tax cuts on the lower 98% expire... in an economy you yourself have described as weak.

                        So if income inequality is the defining challenge of our time, you want President Obama to effectively raise taxes on the lower 98%? It doesn't matter if it is just $1. A raise is a raise. And this being the same 98% that has been hit the hardest? I heard Frank Luntz is out of work. Maybe you could hire him to sell that doublespeak?

                        And if the economy is weak, why would you put in place an austerian policy of tax increases (on those hardest hit), when what we need is Kenyesian stimulus? You keep claiming income was left on the table, but from whom? Which bracket?

                        The Republicans had already recaptured the House by the time the deal was proposed. The final agreement would have obviously turned out differently with Speaker Pelosi. Additional income could have been secured from the top brackets with new, additional taxes. And we'd be talking about Stimulus II. But you can't argue for what should have been assuming a Democratic House. Of course, I know, Obama could have willed it so with his Green Lantern ring.


                        ODS results in Obama's amazing ability to humiliate his biggest critics, on the right and the left.

                        by NoFortunateSon on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 08:31:59 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

      •  Growth of the economy (0+ / 0-)

        Would be much quicker and easier if Congress would get its collective foot off it's neck

        ObamaCare! Sign-up by phone: 1-800-318-2596

        by mwm341 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 08:55:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The difference in economic policy (0+ / 0-)

          between the administration and Congress is minor, almost negligible. They only fight over these small differences because of politics. But in the big scheme of things, both parties are united around similar economic policies of low taxes, free trade, fiscal restraint, and the emphasis of capital over labor.

    •  Inspirational? (4+ / 0-)

      Just who has he inspired to do what?  Speeches may sound inspirational, but without action they are just words.  And boy does he have a lot of words.

    •  He's a Great President (0+ / 0-)

      I like Obama and I count him a great President. He had an enormous burden, and he's shouldered it with aplomb.

      That's separate of my criticism of his presidency. It's left much to be desired. Part of that is his fault and a lot of it is the fault of his opponents, who don't seem to think about the good of the country or the planet even on vacation. A good deal of the fault belongs to the public, which is content to elect weasels and porcupines to Congress. A huge helping of fault goes to the people with money, who think politics is a game they play with spare cash.

      We need to focus on getting the right policy. A President, like all other elected officials, is a means to an end. Our end should be liberal democratic policy.

      Here's my problem with what I'm seeing here:

      In my State of the Union Address, I talked about the idea of opportunity for all.
      Stop right there! That's a Republican talking point. Our talking point is not that people should have opportunity--they already do. Our talking point is that when the system fails them, as capitalism inevitably fails a certain percentage of the poor, that should be fixed systemically.

      People have the "opportunity" to work. When they are thrown out of work by an economic downturn, new technology, or foreign trade the system needs to step in and provide enough for them to survive, so that they continue to have the opportunity to work, indeed, the opportunity to live. It isn't sufficient to provide them with "retraining". The system has to create actual jobs for those retrained.

      Do you see why I'm disappointed with this President right now?

      That's entirely separate from how I feel about him as a person or think about him as a person. His election was one of the happiest days of my life. As I've said, there are two big reasons for that.

      One reason is the huge relief of seeing the person actually more qualified for the job get the job. That is that we saw a very good person and a very competent person elected. Taking nothing away from John McCain, who has obvious faults but is also a consummate politician and leader, we got the better guy elected.

      The other reason is what it said about the American people. It said that the clear consensus of the public was that we were going beyond our previous prejudices to look to the man and not superficial traits of the man to make our decision. And it is a down payment on the future. It implies that we will elect a woman President, as well. And beyond that, it says that the American people want a liberal President.

      Heaven knows he was certainly presented as a liberal, with all the gusto the Republican Party could muster. Even so, the American people preferred Obama. And they confirmed that choice a second time. They have repeatedly voted to get a liberal President. All that remains is for us to give them one.

      And now we stand ready to nominate and possibly elect Hillary Clinton. Will she be a liberal? Will she get the policy right? That's what I want to know before I sign on for that. Given what I saw from Bill Clinton and what I have seen so far from Barack Obama, if the same forces prevail we will not get that.

      That's a huge disappointment, and it is a huge disincentive to work for her election. What's the point if electing the better person for office doesn't actually do the job?

      So, I will continue to criticize this President whenever I feel he's not living up to what we, as a country, need. And, that goes just as well for any other politician coming down the line. I want to see them succeed. I want to see Obama succeed.

      And that means I want him to get the policy right. I want him to stand for what we all fought for. That's not "opportunity". That's "actuality".

  •  Hey, a retirement account and re-training - (5+ / 0-)

    fresh ideas on Opportunity from our Democratic President.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 07:18:41 AM PST

  •  Hey now, lighten up (5+ / 0-)

    Surely everyone working 2 part time jobs that require on a moments notice availability can squeeze in a couple of courses at the local community college!

  •  Geez. It's almost like people don't like speeches (7+ / 0-)

    anymore.

    C'mon, that's what we elected him to do!  Give lots of speeches that sound really good, provided you don't pay any attention to what is actually being said!

    I mean, it's not like anything can be done other than REALLY really motivate folks!  

    Because politics won't save us!  Only us, pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps... waaaaaait...

    /snark

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 07:36:36 AM PST

  •  I Applaud our POTUS (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    however, this is more or less pointless.

    we are NOT a nation of great opportunity any longer.. recent reports indicate the birth lottery is a fact.

    "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 07:55:22 AM PST

  •  I'm sorry...but if you actually believe this... (8+ / 0-)
    Opportunity is the idea at the heart of this country – that no matter who you are or how you started out, with hard work and responsibility, you can get ahead.
    .....you haven't been paying attention to the last 40 years.

    My father worked his ass off, saved and never wasted $$$.

    The Great Recession wiped him out.

    I've been hearing about 'job training' for the last 20 years, as if Americans are fucking imbeciles and cannot cope with the realities of the 21st century.  Where are these jobs that I'm supposed to get trained for?  I completed High School and got a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Michigan....how much more training do I require before someone hires me?  

    This space for rent -- Cheap!

    by jds1978 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 08:01:33 AM PST

  •  This is the guy who just signed the Farm Bill (8+ / 0-)

    that was loaded with fat for special interests.

    He has ever so gently let Wall Street continue their corrupt ways.

    He is working hard on a trade deal which will cost millions of jobs, the Trans Pacific Partnership.

    This speech, like the SOTU, sounds like market sentiment, feel good hoo doo.  It's going to take more than speeches to make Americans feel like government is on their side and not stealing them blind.

  •  Cathy McMorris Rogers, during her rebuttal (0+ / 0-)

    to the president's SOTU speech, repeatedly referred to equality of opportunity (as opposed to income inequality).  But I have a feeling the Republicans' definition is miles from that of President Obama's.  The Republicans don't seem to have a plan for achieving it either, much less a 4-point plan.
    Policy details don't seem to be their forte.

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 08:02:44 AM PST

  •  This is all a load of bullshit. (11+ / 0-)

    Americans aren't lacking 'opportunity.' They are lacking MONEY. And what needs to be said is that those who have an excess amount of it are hoarding it and rapaciously looking for even more from those who don't.

    This is Republican talk. 'Opportunity Society' hmmm...where have I heard that load of bullshit before?

    What Americans need is money. That means taxing those who have it and giving it to those who don't. This shit is not complicated.

  •  I have a good job, (4+ / 0-)

    my wife and I make decent money, not getting rich, but making it. I can't help but wonder what all of my hard work is going to get me, kids raised and on their own, house paid for finally, guess what, my tax bill is now 24% a year. Had to increase my withholding $100 every two weeks just to break even, because of a medical emergency before ACA that insurance wouldn't pay for and the recession of 08 I have no retirement and only 12 years to go to retirement age. Is this the opportunity he is referring to? I find my patience running short with anything that comes out of Washington, red or blue.

    If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

    by RepresentUsPlease on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 08:36:24 AM PST

    •  What he means by 'opportunity' (7+ / 0-)

      is what all Washington elites mean by the word: Namely, 'you don't get any of what we got, go get your own.' A few will get lucky and get rich, but most folks will just have a life of debt and barely making it.

      They're content with that pretty much.

      •  I hear you badboy (0+ / 0-)

        This country does not and has never guaranteed that people will get rich just by working hard and being responsible.  It guarantees that the vast majority of people that do those things will have a decent living with some having more than others depending on myriad things.  

        There is far more than "rich" and "poor" in life.  America is still offers a very good opportunity to for people to be successful if they want to.  No government can control people's spending habits or their lifestyles.  That is up to them.  And, there is a big problem today with how people are living their lives economically.

        •  It guarantees nothing. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybrestrike, TJ, I Lurked For Years
          It guarantees that the vast majority of people that do those things will have a decent living with some having more than others depending on myriad things.  
          That's not accurate at all. The United States doesn't even guarantee a public education anymore as a basic right. Even the very right to vote isn't a guarantee for quite a few people.

          Now, there was a time, from say 1932 to 1968, when the United States did begin to erect some basic provisions, a basic floor if you will, for the vast majority of its people. That period, of course, saw the widest dispersement of the nations wealth and the broadest growth in the middle class that was the envy of the civilized world.

          But those days are long over and we are actually regressing back towards how it was for most of the late 18th Century: a vast cropping of wealth and privileged living near the very top, and broad poverty or precarious middle class debt slavery for everyone else.

          I don't think any nation on Earth right now is saying 'we want to be like America.' Not even America. Norway, Sweden, places like that come to mind, but not us.

          •  Norway and Sweden (0+ / 0-)

            It is tough to compare America to a Norway or a Sweden.  I mean, they're about the size of one of our states and their demographics and culture is so much different.  

            I do see that I should not have used the word guarantee, however.  Thanks.

            •  The only thing different (0+ / 0-)

              is the policies. Human beings are human beings. Certain kinds of national policies produce certain kinds of nations.

              Has nothing to do with demographics or culture. And you're quite wrong about it being so 'different.' Scandanvians have a Western European culture just like we do, a Germanic based language just like we do, and a common law tradition like we do.

              The only thing that is truly different are the policies of their governments.

              •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

                America and these two countries you're talking about are as different as California and Alabama.  Both have human being with totally different cultures and beliefs and so forth.

                I don't expect to "win" any kind of argument with you on this and that's not my point.  But, it's my point of view and I would bet many others as well.

                •  A Californian could move to Alabama, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  saucer1234

                  and be able to understand the language, have a basic sense of cultural norms, be able to get a job and work, celebrate the same set of basic holidays, go to school, raise children, get an easy grasp of the laws, buy a house, drive a car, and find a church or social group that they could easily mesh with. I don't know you think that amounts to a vast cultural gulf, but maybe you can explain what's so dramatically different. To someone coming from, for example, rural Indonesia, both states would be 'America' and the differences between them noticable only to the locals.

                  Its like when the English say Surrey is VASTLY different from Cornwall. To visitors, its all basically England.

                  Take a person who lives in the Pashtun highlands and drop them in the middle of San Francisco. THAT is vastly different culture.

  •  Obama should probably just stop (7+ / 0-)

    using Republican code phrases like "opportunity".

    More of the education BS, too.  You don't need any retraining to get the burger-flipping jobs the U.S. economy is creating.

  •  but with 'baggers, like Scarecrow, skulls = null (0+ / 0-)
    Opportunity is the idea at the heart of this country – that no matter who you are or how you started out, with hard work and responsibility, you can get ahead.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:14:37 AM PST

  •  Heard this on radio and its so true (6+ / 0-)

    "This is Elizabeth Warren's party now and Obama just lives in it."

    If only the President would articulate like her.

    "The federal government will make $51 billion in profits off student loans," That's more than wrong. It's obscene."
    — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

    If we lie to the government, it's a felony...but if they lie to us it's politics.

    by rmb on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:30:41 AM PST

  •  Make public universities cheap again (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    Given that a college degree is more important than it ever was, the top item on the list should be to insist that public universities be as cheap as they were in the 1970s (adjusted for inflation).  Hell, even getting the cost down to 2x as much would be huge.  Otherwise, we're just talking about the opportunity for all young people to go into debt peonage.  Forget about a career dedicated to social change, better get the best-paying corporate job available to pay those loans off.

  •  What a hypocrite! (7+ / 0-)

    This a day after he joked about a bill he was signing that is going to take 90 dollars a month away from about a million hungry elderly, disabled and children food stamp recipients.

  •  Blah blah blah (6+ / 0-)

    now excuse me while I fuck you all over with my right-wing agenda.

    Bahhhhhh

    Blah to Bah.

    The Republicans are crazy, but why we follow them down the rabbit hole is beyond me.

    by Jazzenterprises on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:59:19 AM PST

  •  Snake in the Grass (5+ / 0-)

    Obama has a long history of saying one thing, doing the opposite.
    The TPP will cause more unemployment, and lower wages exasperate income inequality, yet with a straight face as usual, he gives another speech saying he's for something, while his policy does the opposite.He's a charletan.

  •  Doesn't Obama have anything better (0+ / 0-)

    to do than make these weekly addresses?

    I can't wait to see him living back in Chicago again. Sorry I ever voted for him. At this point I wish I'd voted for HRC not that she would have been much better. I just hate the way Obama keeps offering up some hope for change and then taking it away. I really wish he'd just shut his pie hole and hide out in the oval office for the rest of his term.

    My invisible imaginary friend is the "true" creator

    by Mr Robert on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 10:33:59 AM PST

  •  More moderate conservatism on display. (0+ / 0-)

    And people think Clinton is the solution in 2016? Good luck with that.

    The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

    by cybrestrike on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 11:28:10 AM PST

  •  I am beyond tired of speeches. Sorry but I am. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    I Lurked For Years, andalusi
  •  Opportunity and $5 (0+ / 0-)

    will get you a cup of coffee, and possibly a pastry (if you plan correctly and have low expectations).

    Why does Obama insist on adopting the Republican talking points? Is he trying to give them the mid-term elections?

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