Tuesday, January 25, 2011

President Obama State of the Union

Okay, I did not get to see the speech first hand as I had my own civic duty tonight; Hamburg City Council meeting. I did read the speech and here are my likes and dislikes:

"It's no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that's a good thing. That's what a robust democracy demands. That's what helps set us apart as a nation." – I agree. We can have and must have "contentious" debate on the topics that divide us ideologically. Then we need to find a middle ground. Hopefully pundits on both sides of the aisle listened to this as they are the polarizing group.

"At stake right now is not who wins the next election – after all, we just had an election." – Funny, I recall the recently elected President saying that "elections have consequences." Those words spoke by Obama was meant to be a poke in the eye of Republicans and fueled partisan politics.

"Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up." – True but this is not due to his Stimulus Package; rather it's due to companies shedding jobs, inventories and other cost cutting measures. Too bad the Democratic led Congress didn't take note by increasing the National Debt by more than $3 Trillion.

"What's more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea – the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny." – Bingo! The idea was a nation of a limited Central government and the empowerment of States. The trouble is that we have seen the power of the Central government increase while State Rights have been eroded. The latest is the Health Care Mandate.

"Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation" – Exactly! So why did we have TARP and the GM Bailout? I understand that not all of this was implemented by Obama but he has not shied away from trying to turn TARP into a slush fund.

"Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas." – I like this idea. President Obama can start by overturning President Carter's ban on reusing spent nuclear rods as the technology has improved to the point that allows France to reuse their spent rods thus reducing nuclear waste.

"That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities……Our schools share this responsibility. When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don't meet this test….'If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we'll show you the money.'" – I agree here. The trouble is the teachers Unions. For a long time I thought teachers needed higher pay but after hearing about the benefits they get after retiring my view has changed. Message to Teachers: Do you want the money now or do you want the benefits later?

"Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let's agree to make that effort. And let's stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation." – Sounds like Amnesty to me. We need to enforced our laws and apply the 14th Amendment as it was intended and anchor babies was not it.

"Over the last two years, we have begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. Tonight, I'm proposing that we redouble these efforts." – Does this mean another Trillion Dollar Stimulus package? Wasn't the last one suppose to keep unemployment under 8%?

"So tonight, I'm asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system" – I agree. I know he was talking more about Corporate taxes but it applies to all of us. It is time for a flat tax with no tax credits. We all use the roads, the waterways, and the security of our military so we all need to pay a share.

"To help businesses sell more products abroad, we set a goal of doubling our exports by 2014 – because the more we export, the more jobs we create at home." – I am all for this but let's not do it via another QE.

"Now, I've heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health care law. So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved. If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses." – Okay, if President Obama is serious then let's remove the mandate, create true tort reform, and allow the purchase of insurance across state lines.

"So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president." – Heard this one before, I believe last year he said that we reduce deficit by more than $200 billion over the next decade. We need to put all the sacred cows on the table. Cut military spending, education and entitlement programs.

"The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don't agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it – in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes." – Didn't Obama start the speech requesting civility and cooperation? Then why not implement the Fiscal Commission's suggestions? I don't agree with them all either then again I am not asking for bipartisanship.

"And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans." – Agreed. If we are to truly take care of the deficit we all need to pitch in. Scrap the current tax code and replace it with a flat tax that has not tax credits. Although we did cut SSN withholding by 2% for 2011.

"In fact, the best thing we could do on taxes for all Americans is to simplify the individual tax code. This will be a tough job, but members of both parties have expressed interest in doing this, and I am prepared to join them." – AGREED!!! Flat Tax with no tax credits. Done!

"In the coming year, we will also work to rebuild people's faith in the institution of government. Because you deserve to know exactly how and where your tax dollars are being spent, you will be able to go to a website and get that information for the very first time in history. Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done: put that information online. And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren't larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it." – Didn't President Obama say that all bills passed would be posted online for at least five days before he'd sign them into law? Plus, didn't he say that he would sign any bill that wasn't paid for? He broke both of those within days of saying it. Why are we to believe he will veto a bill that has earmarks within it?

Well that is my take on the speech. Now it's time to listen to the pundits!!!