Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Actions Speak Louder

President Obama gave his State of the Union Address last night and said a lot of good things last night. He praised out troops, touted American values, recognized the importance of small business owners and the corruption caused by money in politics.

I could go on about all the things I disagree with but instead I will focus on the contradictions left me in a state of disbelief.

I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.

Wow, that's exactly how I feel about the role of government. Maybe Obama isn't that bad after all.

But wait. What about the most basic economic decision: what to do with our own money? That is definitely is not done better by themselves. He wants to take more in taxes from "the rich." He believes that investing their money in companies that use it to grow and hire more employees is bad. He knows the government would do a much better job spending that money on entitlement programs and financial assistance for those less fortunate.

What about the decision on energy sources and consumption? He supports incentives for energy efficiency upgrades for manufacturers. Apparently they look at the supposed $100 billion of lower energy bills over the next decade and are too stupid to do it. The solution is for the government to give them a tax credit paid for by those rich folks who aren't spending their money the way they should be.

Other things the government should do for us include forcing individuals to buy health care, forcing workers to join unions, forcing companies to hire domestic unionized labor and forcing Catholic institutions to provide its employees with free contraceptive coverage.

So, maybe he believes the words Lincoln said - so we won't accuse him of lying - but he definitely has a different idea about what people cannot do better by themselves.

We can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot... and everyone plays by the same set of rules.

Yes, I had to edit a lot out of even that sentence to find the part I agree with; but still, I'm all for an America with a level playing field.

How does he reconcile this with his proposal to "end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising." That doesn't sound at all like playing by the "same set of rules." Also, the assessment of "promising" is a stretch, at best.

Also, how is the playing field level when almost half of American households don't pay federal taxes and his solution is to make the tax code even more progressive?

No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts.

This sentiment I agree with the same now as I did when even President Bush was pushing for bailouts at the end of his last term. Obama, on the other hand, supported the bank bailout when he was a Senator and earlier in this same address touted the results of his bailout of GM. Of course, by "bailout," I mean the contract violating union payoff at taxpayer expense.

He also took credit for Ford's success even though they didn't accept bailout funds.

Finally there were countless examples of proposing ideas or taking credit for solutions to problems he and his party caused or twisting the truth to shift blame or paint a rosier picture.

"Think about the America within our reach:...A future where we’re in control of our own energy and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world." Except that he only supports energy if it's green and heavily subsidized, he is eliminating the two-war policy and just rejected a pipeline that would increase our supply of oil from Canada and reduce the amount coming from "unstable parts."

"A[n American energy] strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs." More like less efficient, more expensive and full of hot air - to put it mildly.

"Companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world" and you support those tax rates and want higher taxes on people who invest in those companies!

"We should support... every risk-taker and entrepreneur" unless they're successful, in which case he will override the capital gains rate and make them pay more taxes?!

"Expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis." Like the practices based on federal government bullying with your party's aim of increasing home ownership among the poor and minorities?

"There are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office" because unemployment is so high even illegals can't find work here!

"I’m directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources" that were only closed because you put a moratorium on offshore drilling!

"And my administration will take every possible action to safely develop [shale gas]" which your party is opposing right now in New York?!

So anyway, if I was completely ignorant of the actual state of the Union and the policies that got us here, this would be a fairly balanced speech that I would have the normal ideological disagreements with. Being someone who follows politics, however, this came across as an infuriating campaign speech meant to deceive as many people as possible and give shout outs to his base. Unfortunately, that's good enough for a lot of them.

"Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity." - Union vote: check.

"Our ironclad commitment -- and I mean ironclad -- to Israel’s security..." - Jewish vote: check.

"I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use." - green vote: check.

"Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship." - Hispanic vote: check.

"Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money." - Occupy Wall Street vote: check

" a senior on a fixed income, or a student trying to get through school, or a family trying to make ends meet." - senior, student and poor votes: check, check and check

Let's hope the American people are smart enough to see through this speech and the billion dollar campaign that has officially begun.