Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Obama State of the Union February 2013– Loaded with Ideas – Some Good Points – Bigger Government – Lackluster event –and the Wealth and the Fashion – America on Display


The First Lady, Michelle Obama, stunning hair, stunning dress - image CBS News

President Obama delivered his first State of the Union address for the beginning of his second term. A Complete transcript is available at

There was general applause throughout the speech, not over much, but surprisingly bi-partisan, specifically as the President hit on several sound ideas, two in particular stood out: immigration reform and decreasing the tax rate on manufactures that return to the U.S. and create jobs. However, he opted to blame “big business” for making massive profits, prior to announcing an end to loopholes for more tax reform which, in essence is a tax increase. For some larger businesses, that may be an incentive to move elsewhere – or return to manufacturing in Mexico, etc. An across the board simplified reform of the tax code would be more beneficial to most Americans, as some of the loopholes that are subject to close are mortgage interest deductions and the ability to deduct interest on student loans.

Immigration reform, which is way overdue, was spelled out in terms that would please anyone – fix the borders, put actual boots on the ground (perhaps U.S. Military that is due back from Afghanistan and could be kept on the payroll, rather than unemployed, while keeping human and drug trafficking down on our southern borders), given those here illegally an opportunity to become a citizen, but having them go to the back of the line, giving preference to those who have legally gone through the process, and finally overhauling or simplifying the legal immigration process (which is extremely costly, requires thousands of dollars for lawyers, testing and fees) – the president mentioned speeding up the process, however, a lowering of the fees involved and a realistic test that an 8th grade student could pass, would accomplish a deterrent to illegal immigration and increase the line for legal immigration). Overall, in his plan for immigration reform, including an English only segment, the President sounded less progressive and more conservative in his approach.

The balance of his programs, however, required “investments” in infrastructure and education. Investments, as anyone knows, are taxes and or outlay by the government. The fact that the initial stimulus was to put millions to work on construction projects fixing roads and bridges, somehow contradicts the 2013 call for billions to be spend on repairing those same bridges. There are several in Massachusetts that have been in the “construction” stage, for more than 2 years, part of the original stimulus. One can imagine if there are two in one small Western Massachusetts cities, how many more would be languishing half finished across the nation, based on the original spend.

He spoke about how these programs would not add to the deficit. Unless he is anticipating a rather large haul through closing loopholes one has only one recourse, and that is to take on additional debt. However, if he pushes through a low tax rate on manufactures, which will increase the workforce, he will be generating revenue through additional private enterprise.

The education cooperatives were somewhat bothersome, as they involved schools in cooperation with government and businesses. A student comes through high school, with skills and a two year college degree, and is hired by the company which partners with the government and the school. It sounds like a win-win – however, in his remarks he also signaled that more people cannot afford higher education, and therefore, this is an alternative. The President did go father suggesting colleges should cut back on tuition rates, which would give everyone an opportunity to save and go to college. Perhaps he is aware of Texas Govenor Rick Perry’s plan that called for state University and Colleges to produce a 4 year degree, tuition and books included, for $10,000. Perry’s plan succeeded as colleges and universities took up the challenge.

The president does have a great sense of humor, but somehow, when he joked, there was little response, and he is funny. Thus the lackluster response. Overall, it was a good speech, challenging both parties to work together to get things done, and laying the responsibility on Congress (and because they are his ideas and plans, a leader takes the responsibility as well (note to the President), and Congress should act, on several of these programs suggested by the President there is enough bases on his address, to get the job done.

In watching State of the Union deliveries in the past, political junkies watch C-Span, as those attending are ushered in, and nothing beats the sound of the Sergeant of Arms introducing the President, which is generally followed by 5 to 10 minutes of continuous applause. Perhaps speaking of the improving economy, and the need to be realistic about college spending, and specifically more reforms, was a sobering message in a room, in a City, that has the most wealth of any in the United States, and is, consequently growing in leaps and bounds – based on nothing more than tax dollars and lobbyist.

They are the self-styled and media and academia heralded “elite” of our society. A Society in which no one man or woman is more “elite” than the next and we all, every citizen, from the least to the greatest, has the opportunity to reach for the moon or fall just as far. It is a bubble in Washington, where out-of-touch of the city limits, one imagines a different America.

Finally, on gun control, the president introduced the grieving parents of the 15 year old girls shot in a park not far from the President’s home. There was former congresswoman, Gabriel Gifford’s, as well as others who had experienced the heartbreak of finding a loved-one murdered. Yet, the focus was on the legal gun owners, and restrictions that are similar to those in Massachusetts. (Criminal background checks for one, which makes sense – and the inability to sell firearms to criminals –the first thought was “Fast and Furious”. What most American’s understand is that there is too much violence in this nation, whether it is with a gun, or beating someone to death, or using a machete, a golf club, a tire-iron – there will always be crimes of passion. The crimes though, that are so prevalent are gang related for the most part, and those guns used, are hardly legally purchased. Additionally, on those who have committed mass murders, such as Newton, Colorado, Virginia Tech, at el, the perpetrator(s) were on medication for mental illness. In every single incident. What this tells us is that reform in the mental health field is more important to prevent mass murder than gun control. Reform such as mandatory visits with one’s psychiatrist to monitor prescription use. As of now, some drugs can be obtained, depending upon the state, at a physician’s office, with no follow-up.

The President now has three years, and a very ambitious agenda, if can accomplish two of the many, he would make great strides and up his political capital, and capital in general on the talk circuit. The two that seem most likely are immigration reform and cutting the corporate tax rate. That said he will have to really push both Congress, and the irascible Harry Reid in the Senate, to get the job done on any of the proposed. I like what our President had to say in party, and in part, not so much (the bigger government at no cost is something that defies math). Therefore, to reach this moderate conservative poetical junkie, he did a good job, however if one in the center right approves, does the base?

Check the Huffington Postfor that side of the response. Marco Rubio delivered the rebuttal. According to Forbes - Senator Rubio delivered an “Impressive Response to Obama's State of the Union Address” Rubio can speak, and he is passionate about the nation and as a conservative and Cuban-American, he is the poster boy for immigration. He agreed with the President, especially on immigration, and delved into two areas of disgreement, more government and the ability to pay for larger programs. He made sense. Yet, he was roundly criticized for taking a break to sip some water during his speech (Slate andCBSNews (difference- very little). That fact alone puts Rubio in contention for 2016. If all the mainstream and left media could find to fault Rubio’s first Republican response to the State of the Unions was in need to take a sip of water during the speech, and said placement of the bottle factored into the this, then Rubio may be squeaky clean for 2016.

Right now, however the focus should be on getting those programs through, again, with bi-partisan work, and knowing, as the President said, not everyone one each side of the aisle will be happy, as they have to give a little to get a little – he may also be speaking of himself, as he has to sign the final bill.

Finally, as a woman, and one who likes fashion, at any age, and specifically when one puts their own spin on their look, it amazes, that those viewing the fair, First Lady, Michelle Obama, and not loving her bangs, are simply out of any loop. She is an extremely attractive woman, who dresses appropriately at such events, and looked less stunning, more age appropriate, and extremely well groomed. One thing American’s do enjoy is a “First Lady” We can at the least be kind, or in cases honest, rather than throwing back partisan critiques on hairstyle and dress. P.S. I love Hillary Clinton in a high placed ponytail too. Instant facelift, defines features, and softens the face, all at the sometime. I missed seeing Clinton at this State of the Union, instead seeing the former Senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kerry in her stead. Not quite as inspiring.

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