Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Obama State of the Union

Obama's State of the Union Address was well crafted but predictably partisan. The problem with the President is that he does not understand the irony of making this statement - 

 'It means we should support everyone who’s willing to work; and every risk- taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.'

and this statement

'Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle- class households. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else - like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans? Because if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do both.
The American people know what the right choice is. So do I. As I told the Speaker this summer, I’m prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.
But in return, we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of Members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes. Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes. And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right: Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires. In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up. You’re the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages. You’re the ones who need relief.
Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.'

in the same speech. He is right about closing loopholes, but his supposition that alongside the woefully insufficient reforms to medicare/social security he is willing to consider, the top 2% can pay to close a $5 trillion/ten year deficit, is patently untrue. The sums simply do not add up. The President is bright and knows this. So the only possible answer is that he is playing politics instead of proposing good policy.

This statement was equally annoying -

 'In the next few weeks, I will sign an Executive Order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects. But you need to fund these projects.'  I wonder if this means he will move to repeal the union friendly (and job destroying) Davis-Bacon Act?

 I doubt it.

However, where credit is due.. I thought that the ending of his speech was excellent.

'So it is with America. Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those fifty stars and those thirteen stripes. No one built this country on their own. This Nation is great because we built it together. This Nation is great because we worked as a team. This Nation is great because we get each other’s backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we’re joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.'

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