Progressives pursue improvement in incremental stages that President Obama characterizes as “fits and starts”. Americans want social reform such as more effective control of guns to lower gun-related crimes. They want affordable healthcare. They want to preserve Social Security and Medicare. They want immigration reform that accomplishes several things:
- Resolves uncertainty for 12 million illegal Americans
- Sets higher quality standards for immigration commensurate with the needs of the workplace
- Protects and secures borders more effectively
Americans want more income equality. That does not mean stripping away the pyramid of wealthy Americans, but it may mean developing a sustainable economy that produces greater opportunity for the Middle Class with sufficient upward mobility throughout one’s life cycle.
In determining the pursuit of these outcomes, there will be more government planning and economic engineering to fill the void left by profit-taking capitalists who created it. Therein, some may characterize the intervention as being liberal, while America’s Middle Class may see it simply as a necessity.
Americans have become more progressive.
“Barack Obama vows to push on with progressive agenda
President, in first official weekly address since inauguration, says job in second term is to broaden and strengthen middle class
Paul Harris in New York
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 26 January 2013 10.40 EST
President Barack Obama vowed Saturday to press on with his progressive second-term agenda in a speech that touched on the key issues he is expected to tackle in the coming year.
After winning re-election last year, Obama has struck a notably more activist tone, won several victories over Republicans and delighted liberal supporters, many of whom were disappointed after his first four years in office.
In the first official weekly address since he was inaugurated for this second term, Obama targeted immigration reform, gun control, taxes for the wealthy and cracking down on Wall Street abuses as areas of concern.
He said his job was to broaden and strengthen the American middle class. “It means reforming our immigration system, and keeping our children safe from the menace of gun violence. And it means bringing down our deficit in a balanced way by making necessary reforms and asking every American to pay their fair share,” he said.
Obama is set to announce plans for immigration reforms this week and has already published a series of proposals on gun control, using public outrage in the wake of last year’s elementary school shooting massacre in Newtown.
Meanwhile, the president has forced the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to vote for a tax hike on the wealthiest Americans to avert a so-called “fiscal cliff”, and also got them to agree to a short-term raising of the debt ceiling.
In his weekly speech, Obama praised recent appointments to his White House team such as Mary Jo White, a former New York attorney who will head the Securities Exchange Commission, and Richard Cordray, who will remain as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “We passed tough reforms to protect consumers and our financial system from the kind of abuse that nearly brought our economy to its knees,” he said. “But it’s not enough to change the law – we also need cops on the beat to enforce the law. “
Obama’s more hardline stance comes as he is freed from the prospect of ever having to stand for election again. That could give the president a freer hand in pursuing a more liberal domestic agenda. But as mid-term elections start to loom in 2014, nervous Democrats in Congress may start to balk at supporting all his efforts, especially on hot button issues like gun control.
However, Obama has also been strengthened by clear splits in the Republican party, especially between some of its top political leaders, who want to moderate many of its stances, and an activist base still infused with Tea Party support. Last week Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who is seeking to emerge as a major modernising voice, warned party leaders that Republicans need “to stop being the stupid party.”