A ‘Prune Juice’ Look at the State of the Union Address
Matt | On 26, Jan 2011
Soooooo …. last night was President Obama’s annual State of the Union (SOTU) address. Beneath the surface of all the pomp, circumstance, seating charts, and sound bites, there really was some substance to the speech. It was a chance for the president to give an update to Congress (and the world) on where we are with major U.S. issues.
My overall take is that the SOTU address covered a lot of major points about his administration. It was much more forward- thinking than I can remember from other speeches from him and other presidents.
There were some glaring omissions in the speech, such as in-depth mentions of the middle class, minority unemployment, and gun control (in the wake of the Tucson shooting). Also, like all of the SOTU speeches, it was short on specifics of how to attain certain goals.
But, instead of focusing on what was NOT in the speech, let’s take a look at what President Obama stepped up to the plate with. Here’s what he was saying in MY words … lol:
- Innovation/Job Creation: This was the “now” topic that everyone was looking forward too. People are broke and hurting for jobs in this country. The president believes that we have to innovate ourselves into the next set of jobs. We have to start thinking creatively about old industries and how we can turn them into newer ones with good jobs. Some options are biomedical research, information technology, and clean-energy technology. This area of the speech was linked closely with education, for obvious reasons….
- Education: We are lagging behind several other countries in our investments in this area. We are not positioning ourselves to be competitive with anyone other than LOSING nations if we don’t start to take a hard look at education. Also, we have got to get on the bandwagon of STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math). Kids need to know that winning the science fair is just as (if not more) important than winning the SuperBowl. He also asked that Congress make permanent the $10,000 tax credit for tuition for college students. President Obama reminded the audience that kids also need good, well-paid teachers. You can’t continue to shit on the nation’s educators and expect great results. The president basically said that investment in this area is going to drive the growth of the U.S. for years to come.
- Infrastructure: Our roads, bridges, and high-speed rail links SUCK ASS right about now. We are also nowhere we need to be on high-speed Internet distribution in this country. We need a better network of physical and technological infrastructure. If we put some of our unemployed to work, they may easily be able to make these upgrades happen. POTUS wants 80 percent of the country to have access to high-speed rail by 2036. He wants 98 percent of the country to be on high-speed Internet by 2016.
- Tax/Spending changes: We need to lower the corporate tax rates over time, BUT we have to stop giving breaks to the super rich at the expense of students. Also, the country is broke. We have to start addressing the deficit now. The president proposed a five-year freeze on domestic spending, which accounts for 12% of the budget. He is also calling for cuts in military, entitlement programs, and slashing the tax cuts for the top two percent of income earners.
- Government reorganization: This was a short, but important point. The government is a vast wasteland of bureaucracy. The president wants to consolidate it because there are a lot of services and oversight that overlap between agencies. I can agree with this. It will save taxpayers lots of money and help tighten the ship in Washington.
- Wars: There was not a lot of substance in this part of the speech. We are still in Afghanistan. We pulled 100,000 troops out of Iraq. Al-Qaeda is still out there trying to attack us on the regular. He was simply reminding us of where we had been and what we’ve done. He, of course, gave a nod to the brave men and women in uniform, as he should have. I just want to know when we are going to be FINISHED over there? Damn…
That was the speech in a nutshell. There were no loud “You lie…” outbursts or argumentative exchanges between the president and lawmakers. In fact, strangely enough, a lot of them were jockeying for autographs and to shake his hand. Yes, the same people that talk so bad about him behind his back were trying to kiss his ass last night. It figures…
This means that the state of our Union is pretty much THE SAME! lol…
Sidenote: The above clip is the 2011 State of the Union address in its entirety.