CAGW President Tom Schatz’s Statement About President Obama’s first State of the Union Address:
The cash register started ringing up the trillions as soon as President Obama walked down the aisle. He had to do something to overcome 10 percent employment and a combined $1.7 trillion deficit for fiscal years 2009 and 2010, and based on his agenda for the past year, it was going to be costly.
The applause could not hide the frosty relations between Congress and the White House or the people and the President. After lauding the American spirit and calling for a government that matches the people’s decency and strength, he launched into a discussion of the economy.
He presented a disjointed plan. First, after saving the banks, he wants to tax them. Second, after not raising income taxes, he wants to increase them on those making more than $250,000. Third, he claimed 2 million jobs were saved through the stimulus bill, which he touted as a success, but didn’t talk about how much it cost to create each job. Fourth, he called for small business tax credits and the elimination of capital gains plus passage of a new jobs bill at a cost of $80 billion, an amount he never mentioned.
The President talked about a ‘deficit of trust’ in Washington and that the acrimony on both sides had to be overcome so progress could be made. While he called out both parties, he did not assess any blame to his own leadership, or lack thereof, on any issues.
Of course, the ugly showed up, as he blamed the prior administration of George Bush for most of the budget shortfall. At the same time President Obama called for taking action to reduce the deficit and debt, he continued to push for healthcare, cap-and-trade, and other very expensive programs. Even ideas that might have been good – a spending freeze and earmark reform – fell far short of being effective. Cutting $15 billion from a freeze in the face of the other very expensive programs he proposed is worth supporting, but will have little impact on the deficit and debt. Rather than calling for an end to earmarks, he suggested publishing all earmarks on the Internet in a searchable manner before each vote.
The President touted another very expensive idea – high speed rail, an $8 billion boondoggle that will never work without additional massive subsidies. There was a quick discussion of something good in regard to energy – nuclear power and offshore drilling. But the bad followed without hesitation – climate change and a lot of subsidies for research on solar and other alternative energy sources.
The National Export Initiative sounded a lot like existing programs such as the Market Access Program, which subsidies profitable companies for their efforts to sell goods overseas. Then something good – support for free trade agreements; the first time Republicans stood up and Democrats stayed put.
The national competition to improve schools implied that the Department of Education had not been doing its job. He also suggested a takeover of student loans and forgiveness of certain loans if students entered public service, which will be the beginning of many other professions seeking such an exemption. This may lead to the government just writing a check for everyone’s college education.
While it was not first on the list, the extremely expensive healthcare bill came up about 30 minutes into the speech. The President made the preposterous claim that it would save $1 trillion, a figure that no one has ever seen, which will add to the distrust of the proposal rather than increase its popularity. His remarks showed a complete dismissal of the Massachusetts election last Tuesday.
Finally Americans saw the absurd – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reaction to the President’s pledge to support the rights of Afghans, men and women alike. She gave a little fist pump of excitement about those women’s rights, which is about all Americans need to know about the person that is third in line for the presidency.
Filed under: Appropriations, Bailouts, Budget, Defense, Deficit, Earmarks, Education, Energy, Entitlements, Environment, Healthcare, Homeland Security, Medicare/aid, Pork, Reform, Regulation, Stimulus, TARP, Taxes, Waste