Thursday, February 03, 2005

Better Late Then Never- State Of The Union

I know that this is late reporting, but better late then never. Groundhog Day, 2005, the State of the Union address from President Bush, and he saw his shadow. That means four more years of the same. What I did see and hear was some good and some bad, but I agree with Andrew Sullivan that it was not a good speech.

Starting with the good, it will take less time. The President has appointed a bi-partisan panel to go through our tax code and find a way to modernize it, something we have long been in need of. I have always been a strong supporter of the flat tax, 10% across the board, with no deductions. If you make $10,000 a year, you pay $1000 a year. If you make a million dollars a year, you pay $100,000 a year. The President also spoke on healthcare reform, in a rant that was almost "Kerry like". He did, however, fail to mention the pharmaceutical companies who keep driving cost up and drain the government programs of their funds. The two big positives that stuck out to me in the President's speech, were, re-enactment and revision of The Ryan White Act and a touching moment with the parents of K.I.A. marine Byron Norwood. The Ryan White Act is intended to help families dealing with the cost of HIV/AIDS, and to date has spent 6.4 billion dollars of grant money to do so. The most touching moment was when President Bush introduced, Janet and Bill Norwood, who lost their son in Fallujah, Iraq. Janet embraced an Iraqi human rights activist for about a minute, to standing ovations and teary eyes. Even the President seemed human for a moment. Everyone, even me (who despises the Iraq occupation), can feel for the parents of a soldier killed in action.

Now for the flip side of the State of the Union address. I have 14 things I wrenched my gut at, as the President spoke. I will comment more upon request in the comment box below.

In their order of occurrence:

1) He said in the last year alone we have created 2.5 million new jobs. What? Where? In
China and India? He continues to let companies outsource jobs overseas and
immigrants come take them here.

2) He is going to cut 150 government programs that are not getting results. Some of
these programs, and he did not lay out which programs, might have been underfunded
or not had a chance to implement their purpose. I am sure some are just against his
moral values.

3) He is going to cut the deficit in half by 2009. 2009 being the year our next President
takes office. He came to office with a surplus and will have, according to his plan, only
a 2 trillion dollar deficit upon his exit.

4) The President's big plan is Social Security reform. He says under his reform, if you are
55 or older, there will be no change. What about the younger generation? He says by
2018 that Social Security will be in the red, in 2027 Social Security will need to borrow
200 million dollars, in 2033 Social Security will need to borrow 300 million dollars, and
in 2042 Social Security will be bankrupt. He says that all changes will be gradual. He will cut other programs and benefits to help Social Security. He says that you will get a better deal with personal retirement accounts. He even said, "With a personal retirement account, the money is yours, and the government can not take it away." Which it has done to the existing Social Security money to fund other programs. See my story on that here.

5) He is pushing for a gay-marriage amendment. Are gay people still human beings?
Yes. Are they entitled to every constitutional right as straight people? Yes. Unless
we actually aren't a democracy with a constitution that protects us. Leave your
religious beliefs in church and remember that we are supposed to have separation of church and state. If Jesus krispies want to be straight and not agree with gay marriage, fine, that is your
right. These people also have rights, just like slaves before they were freed and woman
before they were also awarded rights.

6) Again imposing his religious beliefs, the President is taking a firm stand against
stem-cell research. Hey, discovery's in the field could help out health care cost in the long
run, by curing diseases. But then what would all our doctors do? Right?

7) The President brought up his court appointments. You know, the ones he broke
constitutional law to appoint anyway. He says they are good judges. I have a pretty
good three point shot, but I'm not playing for the Lakers.

8) Religion again, Laura Bush will lead a three year initiative against inner-city gangs and
violence. Great. Except the money and programs are faith based and impose religious values on people.

9) The President said we need to pass along our freedoms to our younger and future
generations. "Especially freedom from fear." As if, this is not the administration that
is based on instilling fear as a way to control the country.

10) The President thanked Congress for providing military resources to our troops. Tell
that to the soldiers and see what most would say about the lack of resources, like
vehicle armor or even bullet proof vests and ammunition.

11) I quote the President, "The United States has no right, no desire, and no intention to
impose our form of government on anyone else." He did dot just say that! What has
the last two plus years been about?

12) He proposes that Congress pass a bill to give the new Palestinian government
350 million dollars to get them going. Where does he get this money from? That's
right, we take it from Social Security and we invested 350 million dollars of our
defense budget in pork bellies instead of body armor. I guess the pork bellies paid off.
Or not.

13) He wants North Korea and Iran to give up their nuclear programs. I agree that both
countries are a danger, but they might also look at Iraq and our occupation and consider us
a danger too. After all we are not giving up our nuclear programs. We are trying to
develop precision nuclear weapons at this time.

14) The President still refuses to even set a time table for troop withdrawal in Iraq. We
would at least like a clue. I am sure the families of soldiers would like to know
something as well. If it's never, that is not acceptable. That would be the only reason
not to have a public policy on this, there is no plan to pull the troops or he has not had
it cross his mind yet.

In closing, the President had bi-partisan applause and even some booing. The Democratic
response by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, showed the same ideals the Democrats have had, except it seems they have now jumped on the "faith" bandwagon. I don't say this often, but Andrew Sullivan was right, "not a very good speech."
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