Since even before President Barrack Obama’s first day in office, all eyes have been on him as a bastion of change and a way to get out of the economic conundrum America has gotten itself into.
While the most recent presidents would have focused on the economy and how to revamp it, President Obama has taken the old school approach of fellow Democrat and former President Kennedy had employed during his term. His was a call to the whole population of America as well as to the leaders who direct its course – a call for action at the grassroots level of the country, while trying to shed light on his achievements and the direction he wants for Wall Street, Main Street and the whole country (Shear & Branigin).
President Obama’s speech focused on the “irresponsibility and poor decision-making” of America’s institutions and individual attitudes, labeling greed and quick-profits as the culprits to the economic wreck (“Full Text” par 6).
He blames the mismanagement of the bigwigs of Wall Street trickling down to its rank and file memebers, the people’s wanton will to spend, and the insufficient policies of the government against the greedy behavior of the financial institutions (ibid par 3-7). He claims that these factors were the ones that started the domino-effect recession of America and affecting other countries’ economies as well.
The case-in-point in his speech is that people should be more responsible and disciplined – not to live beyond their means and keep on spending and borrowing, but rather to get back to the basic values of saving and investing, and exporting rather than importing (ibid par 35).
He believes that it is about time to lay down “a new foundation for growth and prosperity…built upon five pillars that will grow our economy and make this new century another American century” (ibid par 35-36). His vision is to have America continue as the world’s foremost nation in all aspects, especially economically, and bring back the trust of other nations.
While he lamented about Wall Street’s and the financial corporate mogul’s attempts at gaining riches fast (therefore, costing them the future), he laid out his current plans and his plans for the future, though without detail. It was easy to get lost in the speech owing to the many things the President wants done in his term.
It was like trying to solve every single problem that has plagued every past administration in one go. This is not to say that he’s bitten off more than he can chew and that he’s going to barf all of it in a matter of moments, that is a matter that only the future can say.
What his speech suggests, however, is that the multitude of reforms that he envisions for America is not only a rebuilding of a rock-solid foundation, but also of renovating (though, I believe, not rebuilding as some critics would adamantly point out) the entire house.
For sure, the speech has put to light many concerns that the country has had for the longest time, and Whitehouse believes that quick fixes, like those done in administrations past, are not enough to stop a roof from leaking when the storms come, much less get swept away by the winds and floods (Seib).
Whether the president’s visions of a stronger America altogether remains to be seen, and, as the speech says, it depends on the people acting whether they can make things happen or not (“Full Text” par 61-62). A review of his speech tells us that it is up to the government to initiate reforms, but it is up to the people to reform themselves and help the government make the economic surgery a successful one.
The speech has given people a new insight on America’s current economic situation (perhaps with the exception of his critics, opponents and those who reviled his act of covering Jesus’ name) that many are seeing the issue in a different light other than just pointing a finger at Wall Street.