NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • On Obama SOTU: An Indpendent Movement Must Push Obama Towards a Real Jobs Program


    Roger Hickey: Speech took up issue of income inequality but jobs program proposed far from enough -   January 25, 12
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter


    I support the Real News Network because of their bravery, integrity, informative and educational - David Pear
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Roger Hickey is co-director of the Campaign for America's Future, an organization launched by 100 prominent Americans to expand the national debate about America's economic future. The Campaign seeks to empower working Americans, middle-class families, and the poor to make their voices heard in support of a populist economic agenda and an expansion of democracy. Recently, Hickey organized and helped to lead a national coalition of citizen leaders known as Americans United to Protect Social Security.

    Transcript

    On Obama SOTU: An Indpendent Movement Must Push Obama Towards a Real Jobs ProgramPAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Washington.

    And in Washington, President Obama delivered his State of the Union. And joining us from Washington is Roger Hickey. Roger is the founder and codirector of Campaign for America's Future. He's also one of the founders of Americans United to Protect Social Security. Thanks for joining us, Roger.

    ROGER HICKEY, CODIRECTOR, CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA'S FUTURE: Thank you, Paul.

    JAY: So what did you make of President Obama's speech?

    HICKEY: Well, I think the president is benefiting from the fact that the Occupy Wall Street movement has galvanized the country and put a focus on economic fairness, and the simultaneous self-destruction of the Republican Party in the Congress, which has looked more and more self-serving and obstructionist. So the president looked active, and as a leader tonight he certainly placed some amount of emphasis on economic fairness and on a government that was on the side of the American people. I think he's still taking too much for granted an economic recovery that I don't think is there yet, and therefore did not talk much about what it needs, what it's going to take to get large numbers of Americans employed, 30 million Americans who need employment. But he—. So with that kind of a big, gaping hole, he did emphasize the need for tax fairness, he did emphasize the need to be on the side of working Americans, and he talked about things like manufacturing and world trade in a way that made him sound like he was on the side of good jobs for American workers.

    JAY: Yeah. I thought in terms of, like, passion and rallying people to have a fight for these things, in some ways Newt Gingrich is doing a better job in terms of Gingrich's rhetoric against the elites and, you know, the excesses of big capitalists and all of this, and he still seems so worried about being accused of waging class warfare, which is the obviously the Republican speaking point—no matter what he says, they say that's what he's doing. But instead of actually saying, okay, yeah, there is a war going on, he plays this, oh, we're all in one unit and we're all in this together and get each others backs, when clearly we're not.

    HICKEY: Well, as we all know, the president's personality does not tend toward confrontation. And, of course, he's surrounded himself by some of Wall Street's best and brightest in his administration. So he's always got that problem of being able to finger the bankers who plunged us into catastrophe. On the other hand, the Republican Party is putting forward ideas that are so regressive and so, so bad that just a ringing declaration that he won't go back to the policies that got us into this mess is compelling.

    And I do think that the president is trying—trying—to make a turn toward populism. It would be better if he had been consistent all the way through. It would be better, as you say, if he was willing to stand up to some of the more powerful institutions in our economy. And we as a political movement are going to have to push him even farther. We're going to have to of course try to get him reelected, of course criticize the terrible policies of the Republican Party. But we're also going to have to chart our own agenda that talks about how we really create 30 million jobs, how we really revive manufacturing and balance American trade. And that means going way beyond what the president has advanced today in his State of the Union message.

    JAY: And the problem is is the State of the Union message is just—really is just words. You know. And certainly the first two years of this administration, when they had both houses, there was so much more they could have done, except they managed this so much from the point of view—certainly the White House—from the point of view of Wall Street. And so now we're in just into kind of year-of-campaign rhetoric. I mean, I'm talking to a lot of people that voted for Obama last time that are just so furious at the actual practice, not the rhetoric of this administration, that they are saying, I don't care anymore, I'm not going to vote for Obama anyway. In terms of charting a more independent movement, even if people are going to vote for Obama in the final analysis, does there need to be a more honest reckoning with what this four years has been?

    HICKEY: Listen, I think we have to do both. I think we have to get Obama reelected. The alternative is just too terrible to contemplate. I think we have to work really hard to get a new Congress, win back the House, and keep the Senate. And the hope is that we can get a Congress that is even better than the one that Obama lost in the last election, one that will push him, a political movement and a Congress that will push the political system to challenge the power of the banks, to challenge corporate America, and to put Americans to work. It's a job that we have to do to build an independent political power and, since third parties are very, very impossible to do in America, to move the Democratic party in a more progressive direction. We have to do all that anyway. We can't sit on our hands. We can't just say it doesn't matter.

    JAY: Right. Now, to get to this kind of number, jobs number you're talking about, you know, to really make any serious dent in the unemployment, every economist I've talked to says there needs to be some kind of straightforward public jobs program. You can't just do it through a private sector. And he's completely ruled that out as far as I can make out. It's—he talked very much about how this has to be private sector solutions. I mean, what do—how do you think he should get to that kind of job creation you're talking about?

    HICKEY: Well, I agree with you that we face the prospect of another lost decade, where young people coming into the workforce have no opportunity, where millions and millions of people who've lost their jobs in the last depression or recession can't find them again, and we just can't afford that. A recovery at this pace means high levels of unemployment, 8 percent unemployment forever. So part of our independent movement has got to be getting beyond just the short-term stimulus that Obama's trying to get through the Congress. Since we can't pass anything in the Congress big until we change the composition of the Congress, we've got to make that the focus of the political debate.

    JAY: I mean, I don't think—I'm not asking you to come up with a easy solution to what I'm about to ask, but I need to say it anyway. Just before the State of the Union speech, one of the cable channels was interviewing the White House communications director and asked him: is this speech going to be something that galvanizes the base? Is he going to come out swinging, you know, for the middle class and against the wealthy and all of this? And his answer was, oh, no, no, no, no, no; we're going to put forward policies even Republicans will like. Like, he—you know, this idea of pushing him from the left and so on, they don't even seem to be all that concerned that so much of the progressive base has kind of given up on him.

    HICKEY: It's not a good idea to give up on Obama. What—the thing that we've got to do is we've got to build a political movement that surrounds Obama and forces him to do better. You are not going to change his personality, but we could change the political environment and the composition of the Congress so that when we have the election, it's a mandate for public investment, for public jobs, for defending Social Security and Medicare, for a new and more egalitarian vision of America.

    JAY: But the problem is he's not even campaigning on that.

    HICKEY: Well, listen, we can sit here and complain about how Obama's campaigning, or we can change the nature of the debate. It's very, very important that progressives stand up and say, we need to create 30 million jobs, and if we don't, if we don't do the public investment and public job creation necessary, we're going to be stuck for a generation. It's very, very important that we say what we know to be true and force the politicians, including Obama, to respond and to make this next election the Occupy election, I hope, in which members of Congress get elected, pledge to go to Washington and turn things around, invest in the future, make America a fairer place to work and live. And Obama is slowly, slowly making the turn to populism. He's not doing nearly enough, but it's an indication that that's what the American people want to hear.

    JAY: Yeah, that's the problem—that's what they want to hear. So in election year, you say what they want to hear. I guess—I'm not arguing with you. There's no other choice than to create an atmosphere in the country in favor of policies that are good for ordinary people, whatever happens. But I guess what I'm saying is we better be—everyone needs to kind of be cogent about what Obama actually says and not once more kind of foster a lot of disillusionment afterwards.

    HICKEY: Oh, no, this is going to be a very, very different election. This is not going to be Obama as the savior, Obama walks on water. That's not the kind of election we need or will have. It's we've got to help this guy get reelected and we've got to outline an agenda, we've got to mobilize the country to demand real change, because this trying to make deals with the Republicans and the conservatives and corporate America has clearly not worked. But we've got to—you know, we've got to understand that we managed—the progressive movement managed to get Obama off of deficit reduction and onto talking about jobs. We managed to get him talking about economic fairness, if only to be in tune with the Occupy movement. It's not enough, but we've really had an impact, and I think we can have more, especially if the Republican Party nominates somebody like Mitt Romney, who is the epitome of the 1 percent, or the 1 percent of the 1 percent.

    JAY: Right. Well, that's—thanks very much for enough for joining us, Roger.

    HICKEY: Good be with you.

    JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    The Modern History of Venezuela and Popular Democracy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (9/9)
    Obama's Wrong Headed Approach To China
    Assessing the U.S. Environmental Movement on Earth Day 2014
    UAW Case Shows Weakness of Labor Law
    Exclusive Investigation Uncovers How BP Uses Bribes To Do Business
    The Modern History of Venezuela, The Protests and Democracy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (8/9)
    Greek Politics 4 Years After The Financial Crisis
    CBO Report Confirms U.S. Deficit Back to Normal Level
    Israel Uses Refugees as "Currency" in Arms Trade with Africa
    Who Will Pay for Climate Change Disaster?
    Canada Shifts to Right Under Harper, Mimicking the United States
    The Savings and Loan Crisis Demonstrates the Importance of Glass-Steagall
    South African Platinum Miner's Struggle Challenges ANC Leadership
    TRNN Original Report: Manning Determined to Fight Back After Army Upholds 35- Year Sentence
    Hundredth Anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre
    The Bundy Ranch Standoff Demonstrates Values Shared by Corporations and the Far Right
    The Resegregation of American Schools
    The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (7/9)
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting