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State of the Union (Campaign Speech?)

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I have great envy for those that just decided to watch anything else but the State of the Union speech by President Obama. I unfortunately had to endure yet one more in order to speak on the topic should it come up. Before the speech I was reviewing the transcripts from his previous speeches. If you remove the term “State of the Union” from any of them they sure could pass for campaign rhetoric.

Nothing New

Cable news outlets have been playing past speeches, all day long, and comparing them to what’s happening in today’s economy. End the deficit in four years, well maybe eight years, OK, 12 years, but before the end of the century. Gun control, raise the minimum wage, women’s issues, bringing troops home, and immigration — all the feel good issues to gloss over the $16 trillion dollar debt, the sequestration issue looming at the end of this month and some creative bookkeeping statistics to make us all feel good. And no speech would be complete without vilifying the rich. They have more than you and that’s just not fair. Apparently we have the poorest secretaries in the industrial world.

Cynical?

Do I sound cynical? I think I do. I should point out that my views are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the owners or management of Town Square Media.  Perhaps I’m just fed up, like a lot of American’s these days. How long has it been since we’ve actually had a budget? How long has our credit rating been downgraded? How long has unemployment been over 7%? Is the debt still at $16 trillion? How many people are on food stamps? I lost count of the amount of money it would take to do all the things the president listed in just the first 20 minutes. The “Fix-It-First” Program is the 2013 version of “Shovel Ready.”

Ringers?

I think it was Ronald Reagan who first started filling the audience with people he could pull out of his hat for some tear jerking moments. This mechanism has been elevated to a new level by this president. In his idea to improve voting he spoke of a woman who waited in line for hours to vote. One hundred and one years old with her own rooting section.

Climate change didn’t play very well with the people at home. Bing.com had a voting graph that tracked popularity, or lack of it, for topics during the speech. Climate change pointed the needle south for the lowest approval of any point in the speech.

Some Final Thoughts

Where have all the statesmen gone? Those ole timers who used to put country ahead of party? When doing what’s right trumped doing what benefits you the most. I don’t dislike the president in spite of my opinions above. I’m sure he’s a friendly, likeable guy and it would be fun to shoot some hoops with him sometime. But when the only tool you have is a hammer; every problem starts to look like a nail.

Therein lies the problem. Entitlement hammers are the only tool in the president’s toolbox. And why not? They nail down votes, make people feel good, but move us closer to a fiscal and monetary point of no return.

Government investment sure looks a whole lot like government spending when we’re the ones writing the checks to pay for it. The fact that we only spend 2% instead of 5% is not a 3% saving. At least not where I went to school.

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