Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Obama Offers Platitudes - Not Programs
I don't know what planet he has been living on, but the worst is not past for most Main Street Americans. Many millions of Americans are still out of work, and it looks like it will be years before the huge unemployment in this country can be brought back under control. Over 14% of our total population is on food stamps and that figure is increasing each month. And the housing market continues to slump with home prices falling and foreclosures occurring at record levels.
He said we need to improve our education, but offered no specifics on how to do that. He had an applause-getting line about honoring teachers, but the truth is that teachers are still being laid off all over this country (and just here in Texas we are looking at losing up to 100,000 teachers). He talked about making higher education more available to all Americans, but the truth is that colleges are being priced out of the reach of many Americans -- even middle class Americans. And his only solution was to continue the current tuition tax break. Frankly, much more is needed.
He spoke of investing in the country's transportation infrastructure. I can't argue with that -- it's something that is long overdue, and would put some Americans back to work. But he said this would only be done if it is paid for first. Who's going to pay for it. Will it be done on the backs of the poor, the disadvantaged and the elderly? Considering the current corporate ownership of Congress (and the Republican control of the House), it is unlikely that the rich will be paying.
Then he spoke of investing in innovation. Once again, where's the money for this going to come from. He talked even longer of cutting the deficit. How's the deficit going to be cut while investment in "innovation" is also happening?
One of the scariest parts of his speech was when he talked about simplifying the tax system and lowering corporate taxes, while not cutting tax income. He said it could be done by eliminating "loopholes", but with the current corporate ownership of Congress I just don't see that happening. More likely is a scenario of lower corporate taxes and more of the tax burden being shifted to the middle and working classes. And that would be a disaster considering the widening gap of wealth and income between the richest Americans and the rest of America.
Finally, we come to what he didn't talk about last night -- the giant hole in the American economy. The hole dug by the giant corporations where good American jobs are tossed in and come out as low-paying jobs in other countries. The president completely ignored the problem of job outsourcing. What good is innovation going to do if it just creates jobs for people in other countries?
The state of the union is very bad at the present time, and sadly I didn't hear much that would help it from the president last night. We'd better batten down the hatches, because it's going to be rough in this country for the next few years.