Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Issues With the SOTU

There was a lot to like in the President's State of the Union speech tonight, if you take him at his word. He successfully tacked to the center and talked in a way that most Americans will agree with. Because he was short on specific details, it was a good speech to lay out platitudes that will continue to raise his approval numbers. As is often said, however, the devil is in the details. That said, I still had a few issues with the speech.

First, I was worried he was going to milk the whole civility and aftermath of the Giffords shooting. He stopped just short unseemliness.

The President made great statements about the infrastructure needs of America, including the high tech infrastructure. But my issue is that he makes the assumption that only the government can fund these improvements. If we don't fund infrastructure through private investment, we will never make the needed improvements.

He talks about the legacy of deficit spending, but the emphasis on more "investment" which equals spending in new infrastructure is incompatible with his call for a freeze in discretionary spending.

His call to reform social security ring hollow, because he proposes nothing except tax increases for the wealthy. Even though the two issues were not directly conflated, they were juxtaposed in his speech. What conclusion am I to draw. Also, it is a lie that the health care law reduces the deficit.

Calls for a government that is more efficient, but the complexity of government is largely due to its size not only inanity. If his proposed re-organization is to be effective, it must reduce the size of government.

I liked the call for a simplification of the individual tax code. It will in fact raise more revenue, especially if accompanied by a lowering of rates, just like Reagan and Rostenkowski worked out in the eighties.

The bipartisan fiscal commission called for cuts to excessive spending in all areas. I tend to agree. But the President didn't point out a single idea from that commission with which he agreed or disagreed. Sorry, he is still voting present.

On health care, he was combative and I get that. At least he indicated his willingness to revisit the 1099 issue. His call to move on will go unheeded by me, because the health care bill merely doubles down on all that is already wrong with a third party payer system that divorces benefits from payer and is inevitably inefficient and ineffective.

There were some nice touches at the end like paying homage to the humble beginnings of Boehner and Biden and to Brandon Fisher and the new drilling technology used to save Chilean miners.

It was certainly a good speech that sets a good tone for further debate.


  1. The track record for promises and goals met is very poor. how about that "transparency" promise?

    Not a SOTU, just another campaign stump.

  2. What was up with the "Sputnik" analogy?

    Isn't that the classic Team A kicks-off to Team B to start the game and who returns it to the house only to see Team A rattle off 28 unanswered in response to win going away? (See '03 Orange Bowl: USC v. Iowa)

  3. KT, Nice article, will link to your blog article on same in a future post.

    Dawg, agree that it was short on substance.

    Dean, sputnik, "high speed rail" it was so 1950s.

  4. news flash:

    Nations preschool teachers thank Obama for last nights State of the Union and its contribution to making their jobs easier at nap time.