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Sugarcoating the State of the Union

January 28, 2012

Yeah, I know my last post was about the State of the Union, but it’s been bugging me, so I’ll keep this short.

The title is “State of the Union” as in, what’s going on in America.  Yes, it’s a good platform for envisioning us for the future, but first we need the current starting place for that vision.

We didn’t get that.  What we got was a formalized election speech which had to carefully avoid the actual state of the union.  I understand the need to be encouraging and I understand the rock and the hard place Obama is in.

The real state of our union is, frankly, terrifying.  I thank God I have work to pay the bills, but only just.  Oddly, I’m working because companies have moved to a contractor-based form of hiring to save money due to the economy. America will adapt to the worst of conditions under the grace of God, yet the conditions currently faced are systemic rot.

I’m reminded of a company I’d like to work for, so it will remain nameless, that makes money hand-over-fist.  Their management is glacial and not very effective on the business side of things, but they make so much profit that it doesn’t really matter.

That’s what America has been for much of my life.  The infrastructural flaws were hidden by a robust economy.  Now, however, the rot is stinking up the place.

In the State of the Union Address, Obama took credit for people’s ability to adapt despite his policies which are failing.  Oddly, he is trying to cover up with rhetoric what rhetoric got him into.  Three years ago, the President ran on a platform of change and recovery.  He made promises that it would happen quickly rather than laying out the need for eight years to show even minimal progress.

Now he has no Obama-initiated progress to show, which throws the hurt on his re-election.  “Sorry folks!  I was wrong.  Recovery is bigger than I thought.  What I’ve done hasn’t helped. The Chinese are going to foreclose on our country (and what does that look like?).  So give me four more years.  I’ll try something different.”

The sad thing is that because of our love of entertainment, or poor educations, our lack of engagement, that he’s probably right.

Won’t fly, but it’s insulting that he thinks it will (and terrifying that he might be right).  He believes the American people are so uninformed and such poor critical thinkers, that he can paint a pretty picture of where we are (Look folks, it’s the Land of Oz and I’m the Wizard!) and we’ll believe it.

Even if the GOP gets in office, if they thinking business-as-usual will work, they’re wrong.  Drastic, painful spending cuts are required and the next president has to be willing to do the unpopular things.  No new programs unless you cut five others.  Foreign aid needs to be cut.  Government assistance needs to be bare bones coupled with skills training.  A permanent underclass is beyond America’s means, so we must get people working or cut them off (which means food stamps for beans and rice ONLY, not that people should be allowed to starve–disabled people and vets are another story, of course).

My wife has a saying: “We get the President we deserve.”  What a sad thought.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2012 5:41 pm

    I owe you a longer (and more liberal!) response, but in the meantime, there’s this–just to show that State of the Union addresses have been pretty much all the same for the past 50 years or so, at least. http://reason.com/archives/2012/01/24/the-eternal-state-of-the-union

  2. January 30, 2012 8:36 pm

    For much of the past fifty years, rah-rah speeches with a little truth thrown in were somewhat realistic. This year, though, we’re in about the worst shape we can be in. Things have to change; no more business-as-usual from either side, please. 🙂

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