Tonight will be President Obama’s third State of the Union address. The remarks afterward by Mitch Daniels and Herman Cain will undoubtedly try to cloud all issues and spread false facts.

Think Progress posted an impressive list of facts this morning, some of which outlines accomplishments by Obama. (POLITICS FACTS: The State Of The Union
By Judd Legum on Jan 24, 2012 at 11:10 am). Other items in the post point out the need for a return to more equality and building the middle class. See the article for sources linked. Here’s the list.

• Since the last SOTU, the economy has created 1.9 million private sector jobs. [Source]
• The top 1 percent take home 24 percent of the nation’s income, up from about 9 percent in 1976. [Source]
• Private sector job creation under Obama in 2011 was larger than seven out of the eight years Bush was president. [Source]
• The top 1 percent of Americans own 40 percent of our country’s wealth while the bottom 80 percent owns only 7 percent. [Source]
• Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million young adults gained health insurance. [Source]
• For every one job opening, there are four people looking for work. [Source]
• Last year, China spent 9 percent of its GDP on infrastructure. The U.S. spent 2.5 percent. [Source]
• 2.65 million seniors saved an average of $569 on prescriptions last year thanks to the Affordable Care Act. [Source]
• “In 2011, the United States killed Al Qaeda’s most effective propagandist, Anwar al-Awlaki; its operating chief, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman; and of course its founder, chief executive and spiritual leader, Osama bin Laden.” [Source]
• Union membership is at a 70-year low. [Source]
• Unemployment benefits have lifted 3.2 million people out of poverty. [Source]
• The United States used to have the world’s largest percentage of college graduates. We’re now #14. [Source]
• One quarter of all contributions to federal campaigns come from 0.01 percent of Americans. [Source]
• 47.8 percent of households that receive food stamps are working, because having a job is not enough to keep them out of poverty. [Source]
• In the last three years, 30 major corporations spent more on lobbying than they paid in taxes. [Source]
• 50 percent of U.S. workers make less than $26,364 per year. [Source]
• More than one in 70 homes faced foreclosure last year. [Source]
• Since 1985, the federal tax rate for the 400 wealthiest Americans dropped from 29 percent to 18 percent. [Source]

Any way you shake it, this country is struggling to gain back not only its economic footing, but its integrity as a nation. From what I have heard and seen of the Repub candidates so far, they are not promising to correct anything. Only continue the failed policies of the Bush Administration to a degree not only Bush could imagine. All backed by Corporate Money.

Obama is talking about returning this country back to its people, rather than delivering it wholesale to corporations. In other words, preserving what’s left of our democracy for everyone rather than become a corporatocracy where only the rich participate. Sometimes known as fascism.

Today’s Gilded Age and Populism

This entry is from an interview between Bill Moyers and Nell Painter, historian and author of Standing at Armageddon. You can hear the entire interview of about 15 minutes, and read more about Ms. Painter at:

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/02292008/watch2.html

They talk about the secret of “class” discussions and what populism is and how it rose from the People’s Party, Farmer’s Alliances, the Grange and the Green Backers. At that time the people said that “Our interests are not the same. And the money power– money power or later in the early 20th century, the plutocracy; that those people were acting in their own interests, not in ours.” From that movement came some important safeguards in our economy and culture. Those safeguards have been weakened significantly in the past 25 to 30 years, and we are once again facing the encroachment of big money, big corporate power, and big non-populist influence shoving our country into the same inequality and poverty of 100 years ago. 

These lines are from the end of the interview, but summarize the dangers we face now. Ironically, she is talking about why two populist presidents, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, decided to push for populist policies in America during the time of the so-called Gilded Age.

We have come full circle in the last 100 years and are once again in a Gilded Age. It’s time to bring populism back and reinstate an America as a citizen state, not American as a consumer state under corporate power.

To the interview excerpt:

BILL MOYERS: It’s interesting, isn’t it, that Teddy Roosevelt and his cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, both men of property championed the cause of people against the big corporations?

NELL PAINTER: Because they realized that not standing up to gross economic power risked ruining their country, risked incredible disorder, risked asking for Armageddon. In– after 1907, but certainly after the populist and after the great– hard times of the 90’s, and the strikes, and the riots and all the disorder of the great upheaval. Theodore Roosevelt realized that he couldn’t just let the bankers and the railroads call the tune. Because they would run the country into the ground. Franklin Roosevelt, looking at the Great Depression, and the strikes, and the riots, and the marches realized once again that government would have to step in and put a hand on the side of ordinary people. That the system cannot run by itself.

BILL MOYERS: You are a historian. You’re an historian, and not a prophet. But are we standing at Armageddon today?

NELL PAINTER: I don’t think we’re ever standing at Armageddon in the United States. Because we do have lots, and lots and lots of safeguards. And one of our safeguards is simply our huge size. Nobody can move us around very quickly. Everything takes a lot of time. I don’t think we’re going to have a revolution in the United States. So, in that sense, we’re not standing in Armageddon. And we never will. However, we certainly are standing at a critical moment, in which we decide whether or not to continue as, in Bryan’s terms, “An empire,” or whether we want to return to our roots as a democracy.