Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Newsflash: Obama a Good Speaker

I was nearly impressed with Obama's Non-State of the Union Address last night. I almost fell for the rhetoric and believed he can turn things around and introduce real (and positive) change in Washington. But then I remembered that this is the same person who approved funding to save Pelosi's Mouse and yet told us last night that there are "no earmarks" in the stimulus bill.

(Technically, he's correct. Nothing was in the bill that couldn't have been reviewed before the vote. It's just that they purposely made it as difficult they could to review the bill before the vote. It's still dishonest, and it's still pork. Call it whatever else you may.)

He also told us "The U.S. does not torture." Technically true. But he reserves the right to do so if we deem it appropriate.

He told us "...the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it." A lot of critics are pointing out that it was a German who invented the automobile, but that misses the point entirely. When I heard that statement I asked myself "Why not?" That's like saying we have to dump more money into innovations around the light bulb just because we invented it. If someone else can make it better and/or cheaper, then let them do it. Why keep us enslaved to outdated technology?

No, seriously, I say "the nation that invented the automobile should be looking harder for the technologies that will revolutionize the automobile or render it obsolete altogether.

He wants to spend more money while cutting the deficit. He wants to get that money by taxing the rich, while cutting taxes on "the rest of us". Nice idea, but let's see the details.

He wants to go through the budget line by line and remove wasteful spending. Good luck with that one. The president does not have a line-item veto. His budgets are the beginning of the funding process, not the end. Any budget he submits will have to pass through Congress, who will simply put back in everything he wanted to remove. They are the ones who put them in there in the first place.

He wants to reform health coverage in a bi-partisan manner. So? The Democrats have already proven they don't need the other party to do what they want. Even if Obama is serious about coming up with a moderate plan I doubt Pelosi and Reid are. If socialized medicine is what they want, that's what we'll get.

He wants to improve education and increase the number of college graduates. That sounds good on the surface, but he is once again forgetting basic economics. If the number of college graduates increases we run the risk of surplus (especially if those grads are not in the areas needed). When there is a surplus of something competition increases and the cost of it goes down. So unless the demand for college graduates also increases, all he will really be doing is driving down income and devaluating the college degree.

If college graduates get paid less, then that pushes the threshhold of what they will accept down as well. They'll start looking for work in jobs formerly filled by high school graduates or even dropouts. Employers, who look for the best they can get for the least they can pay, will start raising their standards--because they can get what they ask for. Do we really want a college degree to be a requirement to drive a truck or build a house? That just pushes those who formerly held those jobs into lower-level jobs. The entire working population takes a step backward in pay, tax revenues fall, taxes go up higher on the rich, more rich sell their business rather than see more of their money disappear, and more people are out of work looking for lower-paying jobs. It's a nasty cycle.

Education is a good thing, but making it universal just makes it unimportant.

He spoke about expanding benefits for our soldiers, but last I heard he planned to cut the military budget. So that means we'll have well-cared-for soldiers who lack the equipment to fight and the means to deploy. Are we turning isolationist? We'll see what he really submits, but I'm dubious about this one.

The bottom line is this: everything he said sounded good. But he's already shown us time and again that what he says and what he does do not always match up. He claims he wants transparency, and yet he swears all the military leaders to secrecy regarding his budget. And he's also proven that he either agrees with or lacks the guts to oppose Pelosi and Reid.

If he's not willing to cross his own party then it really doesn't matter what president tells us. We may as well put Pelosi on the platform and let her tell us what to expect for the next four years. I'm waiting for him to prove he's not just the official spokesperson of the Democractic Party.

Forgetting to wait for Pelosi to officially introduce him doesn't count.

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