The audacity to get things done

I didn’t plan to have another post today, but i just run into this extraordinary graph  – and I had to share it with the rest of the class.

NPR:

While the housing sector’s troubles continue to drag down the U.S. economy, manufacturing is doing well, largely because of strong sales overseas.

The exports boom has helped the manufacturing sector grow at a pace three times faster than the rest of the economy. According to federal data released last week, exports rose for the third straight month in November to nearly $160 billion.

Overseas customers are buying more U.S. airplanes, pharmaceuticals, foods, industrial supplies, cotton, computers and more.

President Obama has set a goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015. To help, the U.S. Export-Import Bank announced last week it will identify 5,000 small businesses and help them get loans to boost their ability to export. In addition, the bank recently agreed to help Pakistan get financing to buy 150 locomotives made by General Electric Co. in Erie, Pa.

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More good read, this time about the up coming State of the Union. I guess Christina Romer is about to join the crowd under the bus:

My hope is that the centerpiece of the speech will be a comprehensive plan for dealing with the long-run budget deficit.

I am not talking about two paragraphs lamenting the problem and vowing to fix it. I am looking for pages and pages of concrete proposals that the administration is ready to fight for. The recommendations of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform that the president created are a very good place to start.

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Sunday’s mishmash

Hi guys,

The week ahead:

Monday - MLK day: President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, along with the Bidens and other senior officials, will participate in memorial events and community service projects in a number of cities to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Take a few minutes to read president Obama’s beautiful Presidential Proclamation.

…As a country, we must expand access to opportunity and end structural inequalities for all people in employment and economic mobility. It is our collective responsibility as a great Nation to ensure a strong foundation that supports economic security for all and extends the founding promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to every American.
Dr. King devoted his life to serving others, reminding us that “human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle — the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” Commemorating Dr. King’s life is not only a tribute to his contributions to our Nation and the world, but also a reminder that every day, each of us can play a part in continuing this critical work…

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Tuesday – Thursday: Chinese President Hu Jintao is coming for three days of an intense state visit, highlighted by a State Dinner in Wednesday.

Friday: President Obama will visit Schenectady. The trip, originally slated for Jan. 11, was postponed last week in the wake the shooting in Tucson. The president will tour the site of General Electric’s energy division and future battery, and will make remarks.

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And here’s one more very good read: 

The Plum Line: Conservatives and Obama’s speech

The Tucson speech may go down as one of the most important of Barack Obama’s presidency, so it’s worth nailing down its most important accomplishment: He finally got conservatives to listen to what he had to say – about them.

Conservatives have widely hailed Obama’s speech, primarily because they think he “rebuked” the left when he said that our overheated discourse didn’t cause the Arizona shootings. This line was important but not for the reasons conservatives think it was. By absolving the right from blame, he made it impossible for them to shut out his larger message.

Obama’s statement that rhetoric didn’t cause the massacre is best understood as a set-up to the larger point that followed: that the bloodshed confers a moral obligation upon all of us to improve the tone and integrity of our discourse. If Obama had delivered this latter message without the set-up, conservatives would have had an opening to reject it as political.

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Before the speech, it was widely assumed that Obama would not engage the topic of civility in our political discourse. Many on the right had been in a defensive crouch – in some ways understandably so – leaving them inclined to interpret even general calls for toning down rhetoric as thinly disguised blame for the murders. Obama, the thinking went, would not risk broaching the subject.

But Obama took on the topic in a big way. By leading with an explicit statement that the tone of our discourse was not to blame for the killings, he made it impossible for conservatives to maintain their defensive posture, compelling them to respond positively to his larger message.

And that message – that we all tone it down – was mainly, though not exclusively, directed at the right. In a context where prominent conservatives have accused Obama of not loving America, of being a socialist and a Muslim sympathizer, it’s clear whom Obama was addressing when he insisted that we improve the discourse for the sake of our country.

Whether the more strident voices on the right act on this message is another matter, but at least Obama got conservatives to listen to it and to implicitly endorse it as something to aspire to as we move forward.