I don’t have a whole lot to say at this point about the President’s speech on the economy. The campaign saw fit to not send out prepared remarks, and they haven’t gotten around to filing a transcript just yet – though I’m told it’s coming ( UPDATE : here’s the full transcript ). So I can go off my notes, which don’t really have a lot. We basically know the types of policies that Obama prefers: a grand bargain to lower the deficit with higher taxes for the very top of the income scale, health care spending constrained through what he insists will be delivery system reform, greater educational opportunity with subsidized college tuition, protection of priorities like education investment and basic research, a national infrastructure bank, yet also lower federal spending overall, approaching the level of the Eisenhower era. He also thinks that “we can’t bring down the debt without a strong and growing economy,” puncturing the illusion of an expansionary contraction.
We know, from Obama, what Romney prefers: voucherized Medicare, block grants for Medicaid, slashed federal spending, more defense spending, and tax cuts $5 trillion below simply extending the Bush tax cuts.
And then, Obama says that the public will have to settle this debate from these two competing visions. “In this democracy, you, the people, have the final say,” he said. Only it never works this way. It never really has worked this way. In this democracy, money and power have traditionally had the final say, regardless of what the people wanted. First of all, in the modern era, as long as you have 41 Senators of the opposite party, a trifle like an election will not guarantee the passage of any one party’s agenda. But going