As I type this the market is currently down almost 300 points and I haven’t even had my mid-morning snack. If President Obama is serious about creating jobs his first priority should be to get the market back on track. That will allow hundreds of thousands of individuals to retire who wish to do so, but are currently unable due to the fact that their 401(k) is in the tank. However, that’s a topic for another day and something I’m sure the O would like to see accomplished as well. So let us begin.
There was a lot of lip service last night with very few details, so it is hard to actually get a substantive critique on the plans mentioned by POTUS. As they say, a moving target is a hard target. First, let me give credit where it is due. BHO pledged not once, but twice that no family who made less than $250K would see an increase in taxes. He even made sure to repeat himself to get full effect from the Pubs sitting to his left. This could be a watershed moment in the 2012 campaign as President George H.W. Bush’s re-election attempt was derailed by a similar message of “read my lips, no new taxes.” It will be interesting to follow this remark as we progress through this administration.
The President also promised to responsibly end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Who wouldn’t want that? Conservatives hope that O’s idea of responsibly is one that we can get behind. The goal of having 90+K troops pull out of Iraq within the next 19 months is a lofty goal but one that could possibly result in a successful measure assuming the remaining troops have the support they need to ensure that the work done prior is not undermined by a hasty withdrawal. It should be noted that O’s campaign promise was ALL troops out of Iraq within 16 months. That’s clearly not going to happen and that is a good thing. Along the lines of something everyone wants to see happen was O’s pledge to “seek a cure for cancer.” I’m really not sure why this was inserted into the speech. Is there a large contingency of people who don’t want see a cure for cancer? Was he just trying to score some bonus points based upon emotion? It reminded me of a beauty pageant contestant answering a question with the words “world peace.” It should be noted that he got a standing ovation for this line. In a similar effort I personally pledge to use my space on this blog to promote perseverance, integrity and citizenship. No, please hold your applause, you’re too kind.
Moving on, O made promises with which most citizens can agree. However, we almost certainly disagree on who should be responsible for accomplishing the stated goals. Among these were promises to build better schools, expand health care coverage and move the nation to “greener” fuel use. While President Obama feels it is role of the Federal Government to undertake this responsibility it can be more efficiently implemented by the states (schools) and the private sector (expansion of health care coverage and greener fuel use). Of particular note on the green fuel use – it would obviously be beneficial to this nation if we could move away from fossil fuels and thus a dependence on foreign fuel sources. However, innovation in this field will not take place until it becomes cost effective and efficient. As we have seen with ethanol subsidies merely pumping federal money into a program will not make non-fossil fuel sources desirable to the market or consumers.
O said his budget request also will create new incentives for teacher performance and support for innovative education programs. I applaud this effort though I wonder how he will be able to implement it with teacher’s unions staunchly opposed to such action. Perhaps he can tie this provision to the receipt of federal education funds. States would have no choice but to accept these provisions if failure to do so cut off all federal funding to that field. I don’t approve of such a tactic by the federal government as it impedes on state sovereignty but I’m unsure of how else O could push through this particular item. I’m also not willing to trade state sovereignty for teacher incentives though I do believe state legislatures should pass such measures. If you would like to read more on this topic there is a good post in this blog that provides more detail. Just scroll down a little and you should find it.
O also stated that “everyone in this chamber, Democrats and Republicans, will have to sacrifice some worthy priorities for which there are no dollars . . . and that includes me.” That’s eloquent rhetoric but it is a hollow statement in the aftermath of the enactment of the recent stimulus package where billions of unneeded spending was coupled with measures that would actually stimulate the economy. As my grandmother used to say “the proof is in the pudding” and right now the pudding has gone bad. It’s something we have come to expect with politicians but when we examine the facts it is clear that the actions of Congress (which the POTUS pushed and signed) is inherently contradictory with the words of last night’s speech.
One of the more troubling statements made by O last night was in regards to his future action.“I ask this Congress to join me in doing whatever proves necessary,” O said. “Because we cannot consign our nation to an open-ended recession.” This statement is very disconcerting. Whenever someone says something along the lines of “whatever proves necessary” they are giving themselves carte blanche to push through ANY measure through the guise of necessity or emegergency. This is reminiscent of President John Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts as well as President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Acts. Both of these actions were viewed “necessary” at the time by those in power yet history shows them to be the Constitutional tragedies that they were. It should be noted that I consider President Adams to be an American Hero but this was clearly not his finest moment. The same can not be said for Old Hickory. To give a more modern day example we can look to our neighbors to the South and see that Comrade Chavez used similar measures to nationalize Venezuela’s oil industry. The fear is that O’s “proves necessary” test could result in the nationalization of any of the troubled industries including the banks, the healthcare sector (approximately 1/5 of the economy) or, as seen in other parts of the world, the oil industry. If you control the fuel source you gain de-facto absolute rule over the citizens.
Equally troubling was O urging lawmakers to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that cause (allegedly) climate change by creating a cap-and-trade system of limits and pollution allowances, especially for industries such as utilities with coal burning power plants. With this point I vehemenently disagree for multiple reasons. First it has yet to be scientifically proven that human activity has resulted in an increase in global temperatures (wow, talk about a story for a different day) and therefore the government should not be making long term decisions based upon a what is increasingly being proven as a false theory. Second, as O stated during his campaign the cap and trade system could very possibly bankrupt the coal industry. Why would we want to bankrupt yet another industry when we already have a struggling economy? Why would we want to force even more unemployment? These are questions that President must be forced to answer.
I’m sure I’ve left out some key points and I as well as the other writers on this blog would be happy to discuss those with you. Leave us a comment telling us what we forgot to mention. Or you can just tell us why I’m wrong about a certain item and I will be sure to respond and show you the error of your ways. All kidding aside, leave a comment and you will get a response.