Friday, January 23, 2004

The Other America

Bob Herbert in the NY Times:

Either the president doesn’t get it, or he is deliberately ignoring the hard times that have enveloped millions of Americans on his watch.

“For the sake of job growth,” said Mr. Bush, to the loud applause of the Congressional bobbleheads at his State of the Union address, “the tax cuts you passed should be made permanent.”

Job growth? That’s the weirdest thing Mr. Bush has said since he told a CNN discussion group, “As governor of Texas, I have set high standards for our public schools, and I have met those standards.”


President Bush got at least one thing right on Tuesday night, when he said, “Americans are proving once again to be the hardest-working people in the world.” Those who are fortunate enough to be employed often have to work long hours, or string together two and three jobs to make ends meet. They are working harder and harder just to keep from falling behind.

The Bush administration has offered up a perverse acknowledgment of this struggle: a proposed change in Labor Department regulations that would enable employers to deny overtime pay for millions of workers.

Most of the Democratic presidential candidates, especially Senator John Edwards, have been hammering at these issues for some time. In his “Two Americas” speech, Senator Edwards says there is:

“One America that does the work, another America that reaps the reward. One America that pays the taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks. . . . One America — middle-class America — whose needs Washington has long forgotten. Another America — narrow-interest America — whose every wish is Washington’s command.”

And the hits just keep on coming.