- Politics and Social Issues
State of the Union - Still Looking for Leadership | An Independent Voters View
26 January 2011 – The President delivered his annual State of the Union Address last night. In recent months I have remarked about President Obama’s failure to provide the necessary leadership to move the country forward in these trying times. I was in recent weeks encouraged that after the election of November, the President managed to do a better job of this as witnessed by the passage of maintaining the current tax rates, the START Treaty, and even the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, was done by leading from the front and pulling together lawmakers to accomplish these tasks. Good job. His address to the nation at the memorial service in Tucson was commendable as well.
So a few words to the President on the speech last night –
Last night you had the chance to build on your recent successes by taking a different tack to the normal State of the Union speech by laying out some defined goals, and limits to government. Instead you rolled along with the usual platitudes, about education, green energy, etc, etc, etc.., with no mention of how you would do that while reducing both the deficit and the national debt. Freezing spending at the current inflated levels is a load of old rubbish. Spending by the Federal government is going to have to decrease and significantly so. Is it reasonable to drop back to 2008 right out of the gate? Probably not; but keeping it at current levels is unacceptable.
You had the chance to tell the educators and the education system in America that in these times of personal spending limits, and reductions by the taxpayers; you are going to have to do more with less. If as you say our children are not testing as high internationally as they were before, than lets look at how we used to do it when we led the world. Lets return to an education methodology that worked; and was cost effective. One final word on education, I am not favorably disposed on providing any education funding for any individual that is not here legally.
You talked about green energy, and disparaged the oil companies. By that are you telling us that we should just live with $3.00 or higher gas prices when we have the resources here at home to fulfill much or most of our needs if they are used. Unacceptable. The lead-time on effective mass transit green energy is measured in decades. While that is in progress we need to support alternative transition fuels like natural gas, and while I applaud the fact that you mentioned it, you left the idea far short of the attention it needs.
Your tax talk has some potential, though I still think your fixation with the top 2% is bordering on the obsessive, and disingenuous when you call them all millionaires. If it’s $250K and above then be consistent and say so; If you want to slam the millionaires, then redo the math and use the right percentage. I personally think any income tax percentage above 35% is confiscatory and is not a good idea. If you instead want to flatten the tax by simplifying it, and closing deductions and loopholes, then rock on, as I’m all for everybody paying every penny of the rate they qualify for. Never the less you lost on opportunity to provide some real guidance and goals on tax policy. While failing to recognize the best way to increase revenue is to get out of the way of business and let them create jobs and get the country back to full employment.
The healthcare debate is going to continue and I commend you for offering a working relationship for those who want to change it. The fact is the courts are going to require it to be changed and in a significant way. Medical care and insurance costs have to be controlled in a free market way, and just as I mentioned education costs above, when everyone else has to cut back, we (the voting public) do not suffer price increases well. You could have focused some attention on that but chose to niggle away at the insurers and defend the piece of crap legislation you engineered last year. Poor choice.
You did mention an initiative to ‘streamline’ the government through consolidation. This might well have been the one bright spot in your ideas. I’m looking forward to actually seeing the hard data on this and evaluating your proposals. This is one of those things that comes up every now and again like waste fraud and abuse but never gets done. I’m skeptical but wish you well on the endeavor.
I wrap this up by reminding you sir, that we the people can in fact come to compromise when the facts are laid out and you and the congress actually work out a plan to tackle our problems. We look to you for leadership in accomplishing these things and at this point I think you are letting your recent successes be frittered away by your failure to really take the lead and make firm proposals to accomplish our goals. You know what you need to do to make progress, get some hard numbers and show us the way forward. (By the way, leave the comedy for professionals).
JH Ellis Sr
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