Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

August 12, 2013

LYONS: What Obama should learn from Tom Cotton?

(Continued)

All a terrible mistake, judging by Cotton’s rhetoric: that wasteful government spending encourages parasitism and sloth. His campaign slogan may as well be: “Back to 1935.” He even voted to slash food stamps, although nearly 25 percent of his Yell County neighbors — nearly all white — receive assistance. He’d decimate government expenditures to restore a libertarian paradise that never existed.

You’d think even a mushmelon like Arkansas’ Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor could make Cotton look foolish.

But only if he talks like a Democrat, which brings us back to President Obama. There are signs that the president may be coming around. In recent speeches, Obama has called for the kinds of public investments that once made this country the envy of the world.

“We’ve got more than 100,000 bridges that are old enough to qualify for Medicare,” he said in Illinois. “And yet, as a share of our economy, we invest less in our infrastructure than we did two decades ago.”

At a time when corporations are squeezing workers dry, Obama also called for a sharp increase in the minimum wage.

No, House Republicans won’t vote for any of this. They won’t support anything sensible or realistic. So Obama needs to talk over their heads. People have forgotten the economic policies that made America great.

It’s the president’s job to remind them.

Gene Lyons is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He can be reached at eugenelyons2@yahoo.com.

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