So GWB gave his annual report on the state of the union last night, and overall, it was about what I expected. Two things I was surprised at: He backed off some of the language and forcefulness he used in his inaugural address, and dialed down the rhetoric on social security.
Two weeks ago it was “CRISIS!!!!!” on the social security front, and last night the President seemed to back away from that quite a bit by stating that his ‘private/personal’ accounts wouldn’t actually fix anything with social security, but might be “a better deal” than whats available now. The whole thing is just way overblown and exaggerated I think, and one key point the president should get called on is this statement:
“We will make sure this plan is fiscally responsible, by starting personal retirement accounts gradually, and raising the yearly limits on contributions over time, eventually permitting all workers to set aside four percentage points of their payroll taxes in their accounts.”
‘fiscally responsible’?? I don’t think so, and neither does the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
“Over the first ten years that the plan actually was in effect (2009-18), it would add more than $1 trillion to the debt. Over the next ten years (2019- 28), it would add over $3.5 trillion more to the debt. All told, the plan would add more than $4.5 trillion to the debt over its first 20 years.”
Who in their right mind considers adding $3 to $5 trillion dollars to the national debt ‘fiscally responsible’?
At any rate, I’ve never been a huge fan of SOTU addresses. The whole thing is a a bit overblown, often big on promises but short on delivery, and really just a chance to exploit whatever issue they want by placing someone next to the first lady that is involved with the hot button issue of the year.
The fact is that Bush can talk a big game all he wants over the next four years, but it’s how much of it he can achieve that will define his second term, especially considering he has control of both houses of congress. I said it in the mid-term elections back in 2002, I’ll say it again today, and probably again in 2006: One party has control of the federal government, if they can’t fix the problems facing Americans, there’s no one else to blame except themselves.
They’ve had that same control since 2002 by the way. Has America been fixing it’s problems over the past two years, or focused on pet issues like social security ‘reform’?
One other issue I had with the speech, and with the Presidents policy in general, was the part where he re-affirmed his support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, or as he likes to put it, “constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage.”.
Whats the deal with him trying to be Super Freedom-and-Liberty-Bringer Man to the rest of worlds population, but when it comes to gay/lesbian/bi-sexuals who want equal spousal rights, he is anti-freedom, anti-liberty, and anti equal rights?
Of course the point of bringing the whole thing up was to pacify his conservative base who haven’t been exactly quiet in expressing their disapproval that the President might be backing off the whole anti gay marriage constitutional amendment thing, especially after he used it as such a hot button issue in the election.
So the president throws them a bone by saying he supports a “constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage”, when everyone outside the bible belt realizes it will never even get close to coming to the floor of the House and Senate, much less jump through all the hoops it takes to become an amendment. Hell, it didn’t even make it out of conference committee last Summer when there were more Democrats in congress!
People should stop tip-toeing around the whole gay marriage issue in my opinion. If two people love each other, rock on. Love doesn’t hurt the family, it enhances it, and it doesn’t matter if that love is between two men, two women, or a man and a woman. The ability to raise a family that has good morals isn’t dependant on the sexual orientation of the people doing the raising. It depends on the characteristics of the person, so when people like the president insinuate that somehow gay marriage/benefits will “HURT” the family, I say they could use a little lesson in some moral values themselves.
Moral values like tolerance, understanding, and acceptance.
Of course, if they didn’t frame it in the “homo’s hurt the family” method, it would come off as what it really is: discrimination plain and simple.
So I say bring on the gay marriage debate so we can get to the real issues that surround it instead of tip-toeing around the presidents stance on the issue which is against the principals of liberty and freedom that he so often refers to.