25 January 2012

Obligatory SOTU Post

I don’t feel like ranting, so I’m going to analyze selected excerpts:

In a speech that is likely to set the theme of his 2012 re-election bid, Obama said "the basic American promise" that hard work can allow one to own a home and support a family are at risk if the government doesn't do more to balance the scale between the nation's rich and poor.

Yeah, because it’s not an asinine monetary policy and massive government intervention in the economy that makes it so difficult to afford a home and support a family.  Yep, it’s definitely the rich people that make it hard for the poor to make a living.

"The state of our union is getting stronger, and we've come too far to turn back now," Obama insisted. "As long as I'm president, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place."

Let me guess:  you’re going to end the federal reserve system, eliminate unconstitutional agencies, discontinue unconstitutional expenditures, deregulate the economy, and lower taxes?  No?  The it sounds like you are going to return the very same policies that brought on the economic crisis in the first place.

The president argued that he's laying out a "blueprint for an economy that's built to last" based on four main themes: American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers and "a renewal of American values."

You’re just now laying a blueprint out?  I thought that’s what you were doing in your campaign back in 2008.  I was hoping you’d have implemented it by now instead of just starting to get around to designing it.

Among other things, Obama called for a rollback for tax breaks for American companies that outsource jobs overseas and proposed new tax cuts for manufacturers that build their products stateside--a proposal that generated muted applause among Republican lawmakers in the House chamber. He also announced the creation of a "trade enforcement unit" that would investigate unfair trade practices in counties including China--an issue that has been a big issue on the 2012 campaign trail.
"Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you--America will always win," Obama declared.
Tackling an issue that will be big in the general election, Obama called on Republicans to pass immigration reform, including the DREAM Act. "If election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let's at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, and defend this country," Obama said. "Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away."

This is simply schizophrenic.  You can’t logically condemn free trade without also condemning free labor.  Leveling the playing field for domestic producers is welcome, but it feels like too little, too late.

Obama also called for aid to boost the nation's struggling housing market--proposing new tax incentives to help homeowners save $3,000 a year on their mortgages. He also announced the creation of a federal task force to monitor banks, mortgage lenders and credit card companies for fraud.

We’ve already tried a housing bubble and it didn’t work out so well.  So what makes you think that this time will be different?

"Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that do the same," Obama said. "It's time to apply the same rules from top to bottom: No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts. An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody."

Where was this in 2009?

On education, he called on states to pass laws to mandate that all minors stay in school until they graduate or turn 18. He also called on Congress to enact measures to ensure student aid--but he also warned higher education institutions to crack down on skyrocketing education costs.

Because this will make children with below-average intelligence have above-average intelligence.  Also, we need a bigger college bubble.

"We don't begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it," Obama insisted. "When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it's not because they envy the rich. It's because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don't need and the country can't afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference."

Or you could, you know, cut spending.

  "Who benefited from that fiasco?" Obama asked. "I've talked tonight about the deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street.  But the divide between this city and the rest of the country is at least as bad--and it seems to get worse every year."

And, if you’re campaign donations are any indication, you are squarely in Wall Street’s pocket.

This speech basically serves as a textbook example of how politics works in America—lots of pretty but highly misleading platitudes intended to obscure reality while making citizens feel good.  If any American citizen wants to know why the country is screwed, he or she need look no further than this speech;  there are lots of promises and ideals that have absolutely no basis in reality.  If you want something you simply cannot have, you’re bound to be disappointed.  And, looking at this speech, there’s going to a lot of disappointed people in the future.


  1. I didn't watch the speech last night because I didn't want to hear MORE Castro style propaganda and bullshit from a wannabe dictator.

  2. Long post from someone who didn't feel like ranting.

    I didn't read it. Too many words. I don't care that much about the SOTU speech, so commentary on it is equally pointless.

  3. I haven't watched the SOTU speech for a couple of decades. I wonder if, in the past, the speech actually gave a SOTU picture to Congress. That would be the long past - before radio and TV. With the media broadcasting the speech, it's just a propaganda speech and a way to drum up votes.

  4. @MarkyMark- I didn't know the speech happened until I saw a recap on Yahoo.

    @Prof. Hale- I'm glad that didn't stop you from commenting here ;)

    @Carnivore- In the past, it was actually the case that presidents told Congress just how good or bad the union was doing. He would usually offer some advice or petition fro certain legislation. Nowadays it's more of a dog and pony show, but mostly because television-watchers don't want to hear that we're a direct course for F-ington.