By: Wayne Brown
The State of the Union address for 2012 is now a matter of record for the nation and for President Obama. If you can believe the words of Hilary Clinton, “it was a fine speech, Mr. President”. If we are talking about the elements of speech-making, she may have a point. But, if we are talking about an honest look at the condition of this nation and a plan for going forward, I must say that Ms. Clinton might have stretched the truth a wee bit.
I cringed as the cameras panned the chamber of the Congress stopping to rest on the various faces that make up the current leadership of our country. Sadly, I did not see a lot of “statesmen” but rather a bunch of tired old drunks bent on keeping what they have stolen from the American people. Their self-interest appeared to be dripping off their cheeks as they sat in anticipation of the president’s next line in the speech. This was not a room that spoke to the concept of “leadership” of the American people. I could not help thinking how much this body of people was costing the American taxpayer on an annual basis and for what?
One might notice in this speech more than others made by Obama that he went out of his way to employ the concept of patriotism; to show that he believed in America; that he was proud of America and proud to be a part of it. Here again, his words outshine his past actions as he has made a habit of apologizing for the actions of America around the globe and bowing to leaders of other countries while acting as President of the United States. Many, many observers point out this fact…Obama’s action speaks the truth far louder and more accurately than his words with regard to his intent.
After insinuating that America is home from Iraq having successfully completed its mission there, the president went so far as to say that “there were no Americans now fighting in Iraq”. He stopped short of mentioning that we now have an embassy in that country with 16,000 staffers, most of which are military personnel. We may not be firing bullets but we certainly are not yet home from the war. One might also note that there was no real assessment on his part of the success of our effort in Iraq and the basis for our departure other than it was a promise of his previous campaign.
The President then moved into the meat of his “blueprint for an American economy” and it did so assuming that everything that is pivotal about the American economy spins around the center…the federal government. He missed that evaluation in that a truer picture would be to say that everything that is wrong with the American economy centers around the entanglement of the federal government. There was no mention of the enormous federal debt which has now matched our annual GDP. There was no mention of the cost of gasoline and how rapidly it has risen in price over the past three years along with the various retail staples required by the average citizen. In that chamber, the assumption is that inflation is not a problem in America today…we have the facts and figures generated by our own government to prove it.
The president says that he wants an America where the field is more level; where all Americans have the opportunity to achieve success; find jobs, and generally improve their lot in life. I think that it is fair to say that just about anyone who ever led this country wished for those things but not a single one of them has done more in such a short period of time to make them less and less a reality for the average American. Here again, we have a president who employs the skills of Lyndon Johnson who cried on television over all the young American boys dying on the battlefields of Vietnam while he looked for ways to grow the war. Actions speak louder than words and that fact has never been truer than with this president.
The president wants to bring industry which has located off-shore back to America in order to create jobs. He is ready to begin with the manufacturing sector. He pointed out that the cost of doing business in China has gone up therefore the lure of America is greatly improved. He suggested that Congress create programs to provide incentives to companies to come home to America and offer their jobs here rather than abroad. He suggested that effort be financed with American taxpayer dollars which we will have to borrow to have thereby growing our debt burden even higher. He further suggested that these entities receive relief in the form of tax favors for their investment in America. In later portions of the speech, he reversed himself and asked Congress to enact a tax code that had all entities paying their fair share of the burden. Which way will it be, Mr. President? Those who invest their capital will want to know so that can decide whether the bottom line will be red or black ink.
It did not take long for the speech to get around to taxing the wealthy of the country. The president expressed his desire to see a nation where all parties pay their fair share of the burden. He stated that anyone making one million dollars in America today should be paying one-third of that amount to the government in the form of taxes. At the same time, he was asking Congress to give him legislation which would entice those with money to invest in America for jobs and economic growth. Which way is it, Mr. President?
Obviously the president wanted to appear to be honest and sincere in his address. His cause in this case was not helped when he employed the claim that Warren Buffet’s secretary pays taxes at a higher rate than he does. This is one tired and twisted base logic designed to do nothing more than create and sustain class envy. Buffet’s secretary is taxed on the basis of payroll income tax tables structured according to income levels. Warren Buffet, on the other hand, is likely taxed mainly on the growth of his investments which is a “capital gains” tax and is currently established around a 15% rate. The payroll tax rate paid by the secretary may be higher but she certainly is not paying out more dollars in taxes on an annual basis than her boss. This is simply a calculated deception designed to play on the envy of far too many Americans. In effect, when the truth is known and everyone in that chamber knew it last night, America has to tax the middle class wage earner in order to get the revenue it receives. After all, the reality of our country is that it is made of mainly of middle-class wage earners. Of course the topper on this cake was seeing Buffet’s secretary sitting in the audience having arrived there at taxpayer expense for this all important outing. I really hope this woman enjoys being used.
The president really only acknowledged the debt problem in this country once in his speech and that was a vague once. He told Congress to take the money which had been used to fight the war in Iraq, place half of it toward debt reduction, and the other half toward getting America working. He ignored the fact that we were fighting the war on “borrowed money”. In effect, he was telling Congress to continue borrowing as the same rate so we can use half of the borrowed money to pay back the money that we have borrowed. The president wanted to insinuate that he had ended the war in Iraq and handed Congress a new revenue stream to pay the bills when in effect his call had no room for action, only empty promises.
The president was all over the board with his desires. On the one hand he was ready to provide incentives right and left to get jobs back to America through the use of tax breaks and downstream incentives. On the other hand, he was calling for a new fairness in which these same investors (known as the wealthy) need to be taxed a higher rates in order to should their part of the burden. His desires, while sounding noble, are at opposite ends of the spectrum from each other and create opposing forces which leaves the current financial situation at its same miserable level and leaves those who would desire to invest in America at a loss for whether or not it is worthwhile. It is the same old story that has been in place since Obama took office.
Note that while the president was chiding all of the corporations who paid no taxes to America in the past, he did not feel that it was important enough to bring his good friend, the CEO of General Electric, to the address and have him stand up to accept some applause for not only avoiding all corporate taxes but also walking away with billions of dollars in government “green” incentive money. I guess the money needed to bring him in was used to fly Warren Buffet’s secretary from Omaha. These are tough times you know. We have to make choices.
The president spoke of a community college program in North Carolina which was teamed with private industry to provide trained workers for jobs in their plants. He spoke of it as if this concept were something new that had come about through his efforts. In actuality, those programs are in existence and have been throughout America for ages now. The private sector has teamed with many colleges and universities to provide a local workforce that is better trained. Let’s not sell this as some new idea with a lot of bang for the buck. The concept is very mature and still comes with its own problems in terms of matching capable and qualified people up to the requirements of the program.
Then, we hit the point where the president asked Congress to send him a bill making “insider trading” illegal for those who serve in our Congress. I was bowled over. I thought insider trading was illegal in this country period stop. I had no idea that you could execute legal inside trades if you were a senator or a representative serving in Washington. Will the perks never end? Do not hold your breathe on that piece of legislation ever reaching the president’s desk. If indeed it does, there will not be any provisions for prosecution prior to implementation. Watch Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi go to work on this one.
The president made his gesture to justify the taxpayer money thrown down the drain with solar energy companies like Solyndra. He painted a picture of a brave president not willing to back away from clean energy concepts which will set America free and provide more job opportunities to the people of America. He made sure that you, the taxpayer, understood that a half billion dollars thrown around here or there in the name of a green America is the right thing to do no matter where the money ends up or what it eventually costs the American people. He pointed out that America has imported less foreign oil in the past year than in the past ten years yet he did not speak to the high price of gasoline at the pump. He did not speak to his turning his back on the Keystone Pipeline and denying jobs to tens of thousands of Americans who are standing up waiting for “shovel-ready” jobs.
Let’s not forget the somewhat apologetic approach the president took in overly involving environmental regulation in the private sector mainly by his ever growing EPA. For all the nonsense this organization has played on American business and continues to do so, he managed to find regulations that were forty years old which were deem overzealous in their controls of milk spills by dairy farmers. In other words, you can count on me to knock down these barriers but I will do so while increasing the budget of the EPA by 125%.
Finally, the president managed to lay the collapsing financial bubble of 2008 at the feet of the banking industry observing that the American public had been duped while being sold mortgages that they could not afford nor could they understand. He hung that around the financial sectors neck on the basis of the actions of a few in the industry while at the same time ignoring the fact that the federal government was at the heart of the legislation that made it all possible and that the federal government pushed and pushed most of these financial institutions to abandon their calculated risk lending practices and go with government-backed mortgage guarantees. He ignored those facts because they offer proof that big government has no place in private sector markets or the decisions we make as individuals in terms of buying a home. He ignored the fact that far more “deadbeats” and bad-credit risk looked up and decided that it was their lucky day yet when they failed in their venture wanted to cry “foul” and label themselves “victims”.
There was no real mention of those nasty entitlements (as they have come to be called) such as Social Security and Medicare. There was no mention of the total mismanagement of those funds by our past and current leaders. There was not mention that the squandering of those funds have bankrupted both of the programs and left millions and millions of senior Americans wondering about their future. There was not real commitment to enter the fray to fix the programs, just silence and the sound of relief from a room that is too cowardly to accept the blame for such a deception of the American people.
When the speech was done, I found myself lacking the information that I needed to form a real opinion as an American taxpayer about the “state of our union”. I found myself wondering if we had a leadership that was at all worried about our debt, our deficits, operating ratios, our spending, and the ever-growing involvement of the federal government in our daily lives. This was not a “state of the union” speech. This was a campaign address designed simply to detract from what is the real record of achievement by this administration (which is nothing) and focus as many Americans as possible on the warm fuzzy possibilities of the future. It was designed to make it appear that we have a man in the office of the president who is capable yet cannot get any support from a do-nothing Congress. This was a speech that threw everyone in the boat overboard except the captain.
America does not have four more years to give to the Obama Administration. The country cannot sustain the continued onslaught of deficit spending and the lack of discipline on the part of those who populate high office in the federal government. 2012 must be an election year in which the vast majority of Americans see the light and realize that nothing changes until we realistically reduce the out-of-control spending…a call that the president should have had on the top of his list last night. Nothing will happen of substance in the economy until those investors and job creators in the private sector see their way through the fog of the Obama Administration regulations and double-speak in terms of tax issues. 2012 offers the opportunity for the American taxpayer and voter to step forward and emphatically state to the world, “No More!” Our survival as a nation depends on it.
©Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved.
25 January 2012