President Barack Obama delivered his fourth (and, a lot of people wish, his last) State of the Union address, which actually wasn’t much of a State of the Union address so much as it was a campaign speech. Anyone who does not see that is blinded by their naivety. Every president does this in an election year, not just Obama. For a campaign speech, though, it was horribly disorganized.
As could be expected, Obama began with foreign policy, in which his administration has been very successful. A withdrawal from Iraq and the death of Osama bin Laden are two of many things he can take credit for in the last four years. Yes, my Conservative friends. I give him a lot of foreign affairs credit.
Where he is weakest, however, is working together with Republicans, which is something he consistently does and yet refuses to come to the table, instead interpreting “working together” as “submit to my will.” To be fair, Republicans want the exact same thing, which is ridiculous considering how much time they spent complaining that the president refuses to play nice.
During the speech, he told us the American Auto Industry was back! I thought it was incredible, because I didn’t see it on the side of any milk carton anywhere. Where did it go? Did someone steal it? Did it go into the desert for forty days to fast and pray? The American Auto Industry has always been strong. It fell a little bit because of the economy preventing people from buying new cars and spending a lot of gas. Bailing out General Motors didn’t help. Ford has done just as well without the government assistance.
The president wants to increase jobs and manufacturing in the United States and offer incentives to businesses that keep their factories and jobs here, but also wants to cut tax breaks for businesses that move overseas as well. While that is very pretty language, the taxes gained from cutting breaks to overseas companies will not offset the money given out as “incentives” to businesses that stay in country, primarily because businesses don’t want to stay in a country with incredibly high tax rates and regulations that make starting and maintaining business difficult at best.
But what of the jobs we already have? Obama wants to fix education and provide better workforce, as if starting from the bottom up will magically fill the vacant jobs we have right now. Mr. President, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it will take some time to fill those jobs. Maybe a couple of years if you and Newt go in together and change child labor laws in the process. Fixing education requires more than increasing standards for teachers (which, admittedly might need fixing if a state like Louisiana allows anyone with a 2.0 average to become a teacher), but the teachers are not entirely at fault! What about kids who don’t give a damn? The kids who have no parental support at home? The kids who drop out in places with lax truancy laws.
It’s at this point in the speech (I have been going pretty much chronologically) that Obama jumps immigration, then back to jobs then to… cancer research? I’m pretty sure he’s just trying to cram everything in or he’s just screwing with us at this point. Without actually coming out and saying “DREAM Act” he called for it. Which was fascinating, considering that has dropped to the back-burner while everything else has gone on.
It’s about this time that he jumps to energy suddenly. And his thoughts are simple: Oil production is higher than ever, but oil is evil and you should feel bad for using it. I like the idea of an “all of the above” solution for energy development, but green energy cannot be the primary focus of the administration. The market dictates what should be focused on, and the market is nowhere close to ready for it. It’s okay to provide small incentives and tax breaks, but not massive government loans.
The idea of regulation review is a very good one. The practice, I fear, will not be. There are too many special interests in Washington that will fight tooth and nail (usually winning) to keep the most destructive ones in place. The environmental lobby is dangerous in this regard, and the president has shown tremendous sympathy to their cause.
Interestingly, the president has also called for a financial crimes unit and what appears to be a trade enforcement unit. As to the former, I thought the FBI did that… at least, that’s what the show “White Collar” taught me. To the latter… I have no idea how he’d do what he hinted at planning. It was just confusing.
Then… the dreaded moment. The “Buffet Rule,” as the president referred to it. It’s an outright misconception that Warren Buffet’s secretary pays a higher tax rate than Buffet himself does. They pay the exact same rate (more than likely, but we don’t actually know because he has never provided returns), but he pays a lower percentage because of tax loopholes. If you want to make everyone pay the same share, fix the code. Don’t raise taxes.
As far as the response speeches go… I didn’t watch them. I will probably catch a recording later, but they cannot have said much else that’s really new. It’s an election year, with each side trying to win support. Mitch Daniels was a better choice than Bobby Jindal, though.