Thursday, February 05, 2009

President Obama writes op-ed for Washington Post today: "The Action Americans Need"


President Barack Obama has an op-ed on p A17 of The Washington Post, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009, link here. It is titled “The Action Americans Need.” The president warns that we could easily lose five million more jobs quickly, increasing unemployment officially by something like almost 3% more and easily go over 10% unemployment, even as officially measured.

He warns that financial manipulation and tax incentives alone, even if separately well reasoned, will not save the economy. There must be a focus on sustainability and real wealth, particularly in the area of renewable and low-carbon (or no-carbon) energy and infrastructure. This sort of investment does not always return quick profits the way financial manipulations sometimes appear to, and they require some sense of generativity, even among those without their own children. Even people who believe that they have individually behaved sensibly and conservatively have to face the fact that ‘we are our brother’s keepers.”

The Post writes at the end of the article in italics, dispassionately, “The writer is president of the United States.” The page shares op-eds with E. J. Dionne, Jr., David S. Broder, Anne Applebaum, and “baseball fan” George F. Will. The president looks like an ordinary American here. Or perhaps not quite. The company he keeps on the page is pretty professional. I also thought, unlike an inaugural speech or State of the Union message, this op-ed is a privately "owned" item of intellectual property, legally protected by copyright, not part of the public domain.

On the facing page, A16, the Post has an important editorial itself, “The Senate Balks: Why President Obama should heed calls for a more focused stimulus package,” link here.

That’s noteworthy because on my main blog today (see my Profile) I wrote a posting about the closure of the “gossip girl” site Juicy Campus, itself sounding silly, but a warning sign that the economy may not support the advertising infrastructure (particularly without keeping the pressure on broadband) necessary to keep the “free entry” for speech and debate that we have become accustomed to.

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