Sunday, January 31, 2010

The state of the union address is the big thing that happened this week. For a lot of people Obama are just making more empty promises (of course to others he is making more commitments). For a lot of people it was a really rhetorical, while to others that is just too pathos-centric to be taken seriously. To me, it was just a normal speech given by any politician. To me, the “facts” are facts and the changes and proposals are well changes and proposals. To me, the speech isolated many positive effects of Obama’s proposals and his past proposals, but of course it lacked their negatives, which I find to be, although normal, very unsatisfying (so I guess this entry would point out some negatives that Obama left out). (and of course, for Brittany, this speech was absolute garbage)
First of all, forgive me if I don’t remember all of the issues addressed by Obama during this speech (I am not that perfect). The first issue I will address is education. While it is true that the United States education has been on a downhill ride, it is too na├»ve to just say that education spending is the only the only thing that is bogging down the education system. In order to really change the education system, we should take another step back and see the entire system. Reforming things like Headstart, GED, Collegefirst, No Child Left Behind should all be addressed.
Second is alternative energies. Although it is a great idea to create green jobs and such, these innovations do not assume the current economic crisis. Obama called for a taxation on companies that use too much pollutants. He said that the biggest challenge is to keep companies within the US borders. I do not see how it make sense to be taxing companies for using the cheapest energy producing agent especially during bad economic times would somehow be synonymous to trying to convince them to stay within our borders.
Third is war. Obama is very stern about ending the war in the Middle-East. First problem with that claim is the obvious contradiction of sending 300000 more troops to Afghanistan. Another problem is that there is no way to tell whether or not the Middle East will be “stabilized” before Obama’s term is over. If it isn’t then would Obama still hold on to his position on this withdrawal issue?
Forth is healthcare. Now this is a big plan and a legislation that is probably one or two on Obama’s agenda. I think the first weakness in this speech is that Obama was not discussing politics with the politicians. He openly admits that universal healthcare is bad politics. Though I do not believe that a bill should be justified just based on its credibility with the politicians, it is (according to Mr. Glenn) important to know who your audiences are. Another problem with universal healthcare is its cost. Now, Obama said that the current health system is unsustainable, but he did not provide any alternative to it other than the universal healthcare. One could easily argue that reforming the healthcare system could easily solve the current problems without having to implement a universal system that also has the potential of sky-rocketing costs.
Finally I would address the economy. Yes the economy is bad. Yes, unemployment is really high. Yes we need reforms. Do we need Obama’s reform? Maybe. However, the thing that undermined this legislation is everything on top of it. Do you seriously think Obama would be able to get all of these bills passed before the midterm elections (which many say would be the death knell to his agenda), or even during his term? Chances are no. Even if everything here passes, it seems that most of the spending on other agenda items are just not consistent with any fiscal.

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