Saturday, February 28, 2009

Jonathan Alter On Obama's Impressive Debut

In "America's New Shrink" (Newsweek, 3/2/09), Jonathan Alter assesses President Obama's first month:

"During the transition, Obama developed a day-by-day plan for his debut, and he's executing it well. In his first month, the list of achievements is impressive: universal health insurance for children; more pay equity for women; higher fuel-economy standards for autos; the first major investment in inter-urban trains; electronic medical records; hundreds of new charter schools; new money for college loans; help to homeowners facing foreclosures, to mention only a few."

I'm leery of charter schools in terms of educational accountability, the tendency to oppose teachers' unions and the siphoning of public funds. Diane Ravitch, education historian at New York University, asked, "Doesn't [Obama] realize that they are a deregulation strategy much beloved by Republicans?" Nevertheless, Obama's record in a short period of time is quite impressive (let's also not forget the passage of the $787 billion stimulus package). He's done more good in a month than Bush did in eight years. That's the difference between a president whose agenda takes in the needs of all of the American people and one whose goal was to shovel as much cash as possible in the direction of the wealthiest.

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