Two things really struck me from the State of the Union last night. One on economics and equality of opportunity and the other on climate change and innovation.
I believe a thriving private sector is the lifeblood of our economy. I think there are outdated regulations that need to be changed, and there’s red tape that needs to be cut. But after years of record corporate profits, working families won’t get more opportunity or bigger paychecks by letting big banks or big oil or hedge funds make their own rules at the expense of everyone else; or by allowing attacks on collective bargaining to go unanswered. Food Stamp recipients didn’t cause the financial crisis; recklessness on Wall Street did. Immigrants aren’t the reason wages haven’t gone up enough; those decisions are made in the boardrooms that too often put quarterly earnings over long-term returns. It’s sure not the average family watching tonight that avoids paying taxes through offshore accounts. In this new economy, workers and start-ups and small businesses need more of a voice, not less. The rules should work for them. And this year I plan to lift up the many businesses who’ve figured out that doing right by their workers ends up being good for their shareholders, their customers, and their communities, so that we can spread those best practices across America.
You and I didn’t bring about the financial collapse. The subprime mortgages weren’t bundled together by food stamp recipients and moms on welfare. Nope. Wealthy speculators drunkenly playing with risk handed them off to lenders who parasitized working people and drove the rest of us into paying for it. Reckless, greedy, and unaccountable economic thrill seekers and profit-loving fundamentalists did it. They need to be brought to heel.
Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.
But even if the planet wasn’t at stake; even if 2014 wasn’t the warmest year on record – until 2015 turned out even hotter – why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?
Seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history. Here are the results. In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power. On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and employs more Americans than coal – in jobs that pay better than average. We’re taking steps to give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy – something environmentalists and Tea Partiers have teamed up to support. Meanwhile, we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly sixty percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.
Love it. It’s so good to see the President simply rake the deniers and merchants of doubt over the coals (no pun intended). When Ted Cruz is still peddling the faux pause in rising temperatures and playing around with satellite data despite being corrected repeatedly, the recourse has to be for him to be shut down by the leader of the free world. See ya’ Cruz. And it’s doubly good to show that a cleaner energy economy is the only sensible way to go. The age of fossil fuels will come to an end and we will power its transition with intelligence, creativity, moderation, and resolve.
Read the whole speech at Raw Story.