Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Question for Liberals

Same question that I asked last year at this time: What issue do you want Barack Obama to mention in the State of the Union speech? I'm not talking about broad themes here or rhetoric, but specific public policy positions that would imply action by the administration. In particular, I'm looking for things that the administration supports, or at least presumably supports, but may or may not take action on -- one of the big functions of the SOTU is to force the WH to choose its priorities.


  1. It certainly is past time for something to be done.

    1. That was a reply to a comment (no longer there) about dealing with climate change.

  2. Ending the war on drugs, we cannot afford it any longer in multiple ways.

    Climate change.

    Repealing DOMA.

    Tuition debt.

  3. Climate change.

  4. Infrastructure. He mentions it in every speech, but it'd be nice for him to start moving the ball forward on it this year.

  5. Climate change is the most pressing problem facing the world at this time, so I would like to hear Obama signal that he is planning on addressing climate change through the EPA instead of waiting for legislation that won't come any time soon. Realistically, though, I don't expect to hear anything like this; Obama has not shown a consistent willingness to bypass Congress and take such dramatic action through the executive branch.

    In terms of stuff that he might realistically actually mention, providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and increasing the number of skilled worker visas is something that could actually get through Congress and therefore would be nice to hear as a priority.

  6. Infrastructural investments on a Rooseveltian scale.

    Increase in the federal minimum wage.

    Progressive tax reform similar to the old Dick Gephardt postcard income tax with progressive rates.

  7. Ditto War on Drugs policy shift.

    Draw down in federal transportation security / etc (TSA)

    Universal background checks, high capacity magazine bans, some sort of federal gun registry.

    Primary Education: More charter schools, funding for charter schools (but require states to set reasonable curriculum standards), Less standardized testing, teach-to-the-test stuff.

    College / Student Loans: More limits on for-profit colleges, Significant transparency improvements for students (Federal data reporting requirements, surveys, students informed about job situations for certain majors etc). Do not want to see: Subsidies for STEM majors only.

    Taxes: Strong statement against a territorial system, possible endorsement of some form of the Corporate Tax Dodging Prevention Act, which ends deferral, or the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, which Obama was a co-sponsor of in the Senate. Alternative minimum corporate tax would work too.

    Pet project from work #1: Commitment to end anonymous shell companies via the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act.

    Pet project from work #2: Direct State Department to push domestic resource mobilization as part of our foreign aid policy.

    Pet project from work #3: Instruct DOJ/Treasury to come down harder on money launderers, including jail time, at the biggest banks, including an inter-agency review with the possibility of creating one central money laundering enforcerer for the federal government.

    1. You mention some excellent pieces of corporate tax reform legislation, some of which are news to me. Makes me hope Carl Levin runs for reelection in 2014, although I already hoped for that.

  8. Dont know if the SOTU matters much in terms of getting it across the goal line, but Id like to see an emphasis on immigration reform.

    Some pushback on executive branch nominations would be nice too, though given the likely audience for the SOTU, I dont know that this is an issue with enough mainstream appeal to merit inclusion.

  9. fair elections now act or other MOP legislation. never gonna happen.

  10. Jobs.



    Patent reform.

  11. Two words: Full employment

  12. This may be inappropriate, but I'd like him to talk about how all of these issues are inter-related: infrastructure affects resource usage which affect the climate which affects defense which affects the budget, the drug war increases the prison population which affects the budget, etc.


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