I just happened to be in the car and listened to most of President Obama's speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, yesterday, even though I had not been planning to do so. Who knew that he would deliver the speech of his presidency?...so far. Despite what some pundits and critics are saying, much of it was not brand new. But there was a much more powerful focus on the crisis of income inequality, and it's hard not to credit Occupy Wall Street -- more specifically, the realization that most Americans agreed with the issues raised by the protests, if not always with the tactics of the protesters.
This passage particularly struck me as a powerful one:
In today’s innovation economy, we also need a world-class commitment to science and research, the next generation of high-tech manufacturing. Our factories and our workers shouldn’t be idle. We should be giving people the chance to get new skills and training at community colleges so they can learn how to make wind turbines and semiconductors and high-powered batteries. And by the way, if we don’t have an economy that’s built on bubbles and financial speculation, our best and brightest won’t all gravitate towards careers in banking and finance. Because if we want an economy that’s built to last, we need more of those young people in science and engineering. This country should not be known for bad debt and phony profits. We should be known for creating and selling products all around the world that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.