The President’s Big Speech…emphasis on BIG

Posted by on February 25, 2009

This guy definitely went to the democrat school of public speaking.  He saved the heart warming/rending stories for the end which is quite the departure from the Gephardt\Clinton model.  He also managed to blame the Bush Administration without ever saying it outright.  I guess he could be talking about the Clinton Administration as well.

He did manage to hit on all cylinders while running through the laundry list of programs and even managed another Clinton standard of trying to make people feel as if they are investing their money rather than tossing it down a gopher hole. Like any gopher hole, however, there is some benefit to tossing money in there.  At least the gopher will have a nice bed.

Okay, okay, time for a serious look at this thing.  In the printed text of his speech he said:

For history tells a different story. History reminds us that at every moment of economic upheaval and transformation, this nation has responded with bold action and big ideas. In the midst of civil war, we laid railroad tracks from one coast to another that spurred commerce and industry. From the turmoil of the Industrial Revolution came a system of public high schools that prepared our citizens for a new age.  In the wake of war and depression, the GI Bill sent a generation to college and created the largest middle-class in history. And a twilight struggle for freedom led to a nation of highways, an American on the moon, and an explosion of technology that still shapes our world.

In each case, government didn’t supplant private enterprise; it catalyzed private enterprise. It created the conditions for thousands of entrepreneurs and new businesses to adapt and to thrive.

There’s all kinds of issues here.

1)  During the Civil War there were some tracks laid.  They were laid primarilly with Volunteer troops from the various states both Confederate and Union.  I’m not sure but I would wager that the Federal Government spent very little money on the tracks they laid and I’m all but certain the Confederate Government couldn’t afford the necessary spikes let alone the rails, rights of way, and cross ties.  All that aside, tracks connecting the country wasn’t completed until 1869 and that bit of work was rendered useless in 1909 by a break in the line.

2)  The industrial revolution was “turmoil”?  Whatever.  Public highschools coming out of this supposed turmoil is news to me.   I’m all ears if anyone would like to enlighten me.

3)  So the GI Bill is responsible for the largest middle class in history eh?  Couldn’t be that the men returning from the war went immediately to work in the marketplace.  Businesses had to compete for these workers and from there we saw the first company sponsored health plans and other benefits relieving these people of the larger parts of those bills.  I don’t want to knock the GI Bill one bit.  Claiming that it is responsible for the boom in the American Middle Class is a bit of a stretch I think.

4) I have know idea what this means:

And a twilight struggle for freedom led to a nation of highways, an American on the moon, and an explosion of technology that still shapes our world.

5)  I cannot disagree more that it is the Federal Government that “catalyzes private enterprise”.  The only way the government helped businesses like IBM was by purchasing their products.  Let me back away from that position just alittle.  If the Federal Government takes its hands out of the pocket of private enterprise by lessening the tax burden on them, that will most certainly lead to growth in that business which puts people to work.  Other than that, the Government is rarely there to help.

Later in this speech he says:

In order to save our children from a future of debt, we will also end the tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.  But let me perfectly clear, because I know you’ll hear the same old claims that rolling back these tax breaks means a massive tax increase on the American people:  if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.  In fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut – that’s right, a tax cut – for 95% of working families.  And these checks are on the way.

Rolling back the Bush tax breaks will mean a tax increase on American taxpayers.  There is no other way to view it.  President Obama’s tax cuts will amount to roughly $13/mo more in the checks of Americans.  Inflation, fuel prices, and the cost of simply living is going to eat that up before the ink dries on the check.  I don’t know what impact of rolling back the Bush tax cuts will have on my check but I seriously doubt President Obama’s generous $13 is going to hold a candle to it.  Mr. President, your massive tax cut amounts to 8 cents a day for me and during your campaign I was dangerously close to be labelled as “rich” by your campaign.

Please, Sir, keep the Bush tax cuts in place.  At the rate your going you are going to cut my taxes so much I’ll be bankrupt.

Finally, to the single most important thing Americans are busy with these days, the War on Terror.  Sorry Mr. President but all of our economic woes mean nothing if we don’t win this fight.  Again, from the text:

As we meet here tonight, our men and women in uniform stand watch abroad and more are readying to deploy. To each and every one of them, and to the families who bear the quiet burden of their absence, Americans are united in sending one message: we honor your service, we are inspired by your sacrifice, and you have our unyielding support.  To relieve the strain on our forces, my budget increases the number of our soldiers and Marines. And to keep our sacred trust with those who serve, we will raise their pay, and give our veterans the expanded health care and benefits that they have earned.

To overcome extremism, we must also be vigilant in upholding the values our troops defend – because there is no force in the world more powerful than the example of America. That is why I have ordered the closing of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, and will seek swift and certain justice for captured terrorists – because living our values doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us safer and it makes us stronger.  And that is why I can stand here tonight and say without exception or equivocation that the United States of America does not torture.

Good on you Mr. President!  Raise their pay and extend their benefits…I’m in with that.  Of course the devil is, once again, in the details.  If their pay raise is on par with my tax cut I’d watch my back when boarding Marine One.

As for closing Gitmo, I’m still waiting on where you are going to put these barbarians.  I hear Hyde Park is nice.

On the Torture thing, I cannot agree more.  We do not torture and never have.  Those who have tortured, humiliated, and desecrated have been dealt with under the UCMJ.

Bottom line to this speech and the overall policy of this administration, I hope it succeeds as he has laid it out.  If it does succeed and we find ourselves recovering sooner than expected and the deficit cut in half by the end of his first term then America will be better for it.  That’s what we all want.  What we don’t want is to continue to spend money we don’t have on government programs we don’t need…which is exactly what the stimulus bill was all about and this speech simply echoed.

Last modified on February 25, 2009

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