Obama Seems to Get It

The occupation of a shuttered Chicago manufacturing facility by workers claiming that they're owed benefits is in itself unremarkable.

The immediate and very public support of the group by the soon-to-be president of the United States is, on the other hand, astounding.

As John Nichols wrote Dec. 8 in The Nation:

"For the first time in the better part of 70 years, workers who are taking direct action to defend their economic rights are getting a measure of encouragement from a president who might actually 'get it.' "

This doesn't exactly mean that Obama will be joining the picket line every time a group of laborers feels put-upon. But it does suggest that he understands that the "trickle down" theory is supposed to apply to government bailouts funded by taxpayers.

As he put it himself in a Dec. 7 press conference:

"When you have a financial system that is shaky, credit contracts. Businesses large and small start cutting back on their plants and equipment and their workforces. That's why it's so important for us to maintain a strong financial system. But it's also important for us to make sure that the plans and programs that we design aren't just targeted at maintaining the solvency of banks, but they are designed to get money out the doors and to help people on Main Street. So, number one, I think that these workers, if they have earned their benefits and their pay, then these companies need to follow through on those commitments."

Is that really so very radical?