When Mr. Obama took office two years ago the State of the Union was a mess. It’s a little better today. However, there is still much work to be done. Millions of people are still out of work. The Stimulus Programs, some started by Bush, have had limited success. This is partly due to the fact that money was spent on earmarks, which had little effect on job creation.
Jobs are created when there is demand. Tax cuts for the rich only puts more money in their pockets. They don’t just hire someone because profits are up. Until the middle class gets back to work the demand will remain muted. Everyone talks of making sacrifices to get the country healthy again. Corporations and their shareholders need to be the first. Corporations move jobs overseas to make higher profits. I’m willing to pay a little more for a baseball cap made in the USA. It’s obvious that corporations will not voluntary keep jobs in the USA. So we must use Tax Code inventive and punitive provisions to encourage them to keep the jobs here. I’m for lowering the corporate tax rate. But, not for profits generated by overseas jobs or products manufactured overseas.
Everyone agrees that the deficit is too large. The Republicans say cut, cut, cut. But, they have no specific suggestions. Mr. Obama wants to cut the deficit also. However, he feels we still need to spend more on education, infrastructure, and energy. I agree with the infrastructure part. Our roads, waterways, bridges, and utility distribution systems need to be updated.
Mr. Obama says that he wants more clean energy. However, he continues to ignore Boone Pickens and all the natural gas reserves in the USA. Congress doesn’t seem to understand the importance of not being dependent on Middle East oil, at any price. As an added benefit the price of oil would drop if the USA was not an importer.
Throwing more money into our education system is not the answer. I propose that Arne Duncan at the Department of Education be replaced by Amy Chua (The Tiger Mom). She will teach parents why it is better to carry a book in your back pack rather than a gun. Paying teachers more doesn’t make them a better teacher. On the other hand, tenure assures that we keep bad teachers.
Social Security, Medicare, and defense account for 84% of the Federal Budget. Cutting the remaining 16% in half won’t have much effect. It’s misleading to put Social Security and Medicare in this group, as they are funded by specific tax revenue. Call it what you want. The pay as you go system is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme. Until someone comes up with a painless replacement, modification will be needed to keep it viable long term. We need to rethink the definition of “entitlements.” I paid FICA taxes for 40 years. So you’re damn right I’m entitled. If you never paid anything, you are not entitled. And the benefit should be based on the amount paid in. Someone paying for 40 quarters should not get the same as me. I am against “means” testing. If you paid in, you should get something back. However, The FICA tax percentage should be reduced and then applied to all wages, salaries, bonuses, partnership, and Sub S profits. Everyone should pay in. This includes teachers, and all government employees.
The defense budget is the biggest nut to crack. We can start by ending the wars in Iraqi and Afghanistan. Blowing up rock piles in Afghanistan doesn’t make us any safer. We can also close the operation in South Korea. If these two countries can’t get along after fifty years, they never will. All weapons programs should be examined to determine whether they are appropriate in the 21st Century. The CIA and Special Ops need to be expanded to deal with all the whack jobs that want to meet 72 virgins.
Repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was long overdue. For a volunteer military to work it must be open to all qualified applicants. Taking care of our military and veterans is a top priority and the budget in this area should be increased.
The health care bill went too far and not far enough. The only way to control the insurance companies is to offer a public option. The public option can be bare bones and should not be free. If a mandate to buy insurance is unconstitutional, it would also apply to auto insurance. The requirement by the states for auto insurance is to assure that people own up to their financial responsibilities. If you are uncomfortable with mandated health insurance, you should be reminded that there is no constitutional right to free health care. I propose a public option that would provide day to day medical care in clinics. This would get people out of the emergency rooms. Reasonable fees would be charged. And the patients would be responsible for the cost of the care. Unpaid medical costs would not be eliminated in bankruptcy.
Mr. Obama addressed the issue of immigration. While I do not support amnesty for all illegals here now, we must stop the inflow. We must establish reasonable quotas for legal immigration. As Mr. Obama pointed out, many foreigners attend our universities and then take their knowledge back home. In some cases they use that knowledge against us. Azmi Mikati, backed by Hezbollah in Lebanon, was Harvard educated. We don’t need foreign students in our schools. Let them take flying lessons elsewhere.
God bless America and nowhere else.