Before reading, if you have not already done so, please go to the below link and read the State of the Union Address. You can also watch it on youtube. Please don’t read this blog until you have the context to agree or disagree with it.
I was very anxious to hear the 2015 State of the Union Address. I’m sort of a dork and I look forward to it every year. As I was watching it, knowing how I tend to feel about President Obama’s policies, I found myself very surprised at much of what he had to say. In fact, he made several comments regarding the global warming problems we are facing that made me want to go give him some daps! He talked very eloquently about many of the issues we face today and had some fantastic ideas that would be wonderful for our country. Free community college! Heck yeah! Lower gas prices—AWESOME! Reduction in armed forces serving in combat areas—YOU THE MAN! Deficit reductions—wait, what?
At that point the cynic in me started to cry out. How is it possible to do what he is proposing, AND reduce the deficit. I haven’t noticed any increases in the taxes I pay. So, I decided to do some research. As it turns out there are a few things that I need to get off of my chest for the sake of the masses of people who might have been taken off focus by a very well written pitch…I mean speech.
Deficit and Federal Debt
Yearly deficits may be lessening, however the federal debt is still increasing. This was a very misleading part of the address to most Americans who now probably feel that the federal debt is being reduced. Annual Deficit must not be mistaken for federal debt, which is still on the rise, and will continue to be until the government can create some revenue. Here are some figures.
During the last five years of George W. Bush’s term the average annual deficit was 519.6 billion dollars a year. The lowest during that time was 2007, with a 161 billion dollar deficit; the highest was 2009, with a 1.4 trillion dollar annual deficit. 2009 was included because for tracking of the budget, it is considered a Bush year.
During the last five years of President Obama’s term the average annual deficit was 968.8 billion dollars a year. The lowest during that time was 2014, with a 483 billion dollar deficit; the highest was 2011, with a 1.3 trillion dollar annual deficit.
So, the deficit for the past year is lower than it has been since 2009; however, the annual deficit for each of the other years President Obama was in office, is higher than all but one (2009) of George Bush’s final five years. A little different than suggested in the address.
Wait, what did he say?
I find following passage from the state of the union address to be either contradictory or ambiguous, requiring further explanation.
“Instead of Americans patrolling the valleys of Afghanistan, we’ve trained their security forces, who’ve now taken the lead, and we’ve honored our troops’ sacrifice by supporting that country’s first democratic transition. Instead of sending large ground forces overseas, we’re partnering with nations from South Asia to North Africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten America. In Iraq and Syria, American leadership – including our military power – is stopping ISIL’s advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. We’re also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism. This effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed. And tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL.”
I agree with the President addressing this issue and illustrating the massive strides our military has taken in the middle-east. It is beneficial for the entire nation (of people who care and want to listen) to know about the significance of the draw down out there. However, toward the end of the passage, it seems to me that President Obama is saying, we shouldn’t be committing forces to fights around the world, then immediately says the opposite, requesting congress to pass resolution to authorize just that. I might be being a bit obtuse here, and believe me, I’m not trying to but, I think that the President is a talented enough public speaker to understand that a statement like that should be accompanied with further explanation, or it isn’t because it is designed to be vague and misleading.
Another topic I feel the President was misleading the nation on was unemployment. Yes, unemployment is at a lower rate than it has been since he has taken office; however, let’s look at a little chart I made after some interesting research.
2003 – 5.7 2009 – 9.9
2004 – 5.4 2010 – 9.3
2005 – 4.9 2011 – 8.5
2006 – 4.4 2012 – 7.9
2001 – 5.0 2013 – 6.7
2008 – 7.3 2014 – 5.6
The average for Bush’s last six years in office was 5.5%. The average for Obama’s first six years in office is 8.0% (all figures here are rounded to the nearest tenth).
While unemployment rates may be falling, it’s not any better than it was when Bush was in the house, it is far worse. I’m not necessarily blaming the president for this. I am simply saying that his explanation of the state of the unemployment line is, again, misleading.
Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Yearning To Pay No Taxes
I do not like how he minimized illegal immigration as if it weren’t a big deal. He simply stated that we ARE a country of immigrants and we should be a bit more accepting of his policies and his lack of action against immigrants who come here illegally. Never mind the fact that I honestly believe removing the illegal immigrants would create more jobs, and lower our national debt, in time. I am not going to get into a long rant on my feelings towards what our action should be toward the illegal immigration problems facing our government (that might be another blog) but I will simply say that it is a severely important issue that deserves more attention than it got at the State of the Union.
That’s Not Our Job!
Additionally, I noticed yet another instance of the president needing to stay in his lane. “Eradicate extreme poverty.” Now, I bet you are saying, “well, that is certainly the president’s lane” it really isn’t when you put it into the context of what he was actually saying. The president was referring to global reform. He wasn’t talking about our extreme poverty. He was talking about 2nd and 3rd world nations who might call on us for financial aid. We provided seven billion dollars to South Africa recently to upgrade power and assist in their economy. Albeit, they certainly could use the help; but where do we get that kind of money? Hmm? I’m all for being a humanitarian nation but, the way we do it is sort of like having to pay to file bankruptcy. I think it is somewhat counter-intuitive. To be honest, I would like to be a little smarter on the subject, but if you have read my previous blog (Why So Angry, Part I), you would know, I hate money. Therefore talking about it anymore is just likely going to irritate me.
Let’s Argue About Compromising
The last thing that stuck in my craw regarding the entire thing was the fact that he showed no indication that he would work with congress to run the country. Sure, he said he would, but then insinuated that if a bill came across his desk, that at first glance, he didn’t agree with, he would veto it on the spot! Where is the compromise and discussion there? Sure, no one wants to hear anyone else (particularly someone who you tend to disagree with) beat a dead horse, but certainly a good leader should be open to a different perspective.
I am glad that I read the State of the Union Address as opposed to watching it. I believe that it allowed me to receive the entire thing and the contexts, and sub-contexts contained within. When I watch something on TV or the internet, I don’t get the most out of it. That’s just me.
I tend to lean more to the right when it comes to principles; whether moral, economic, professional, or whatever. Today I found myself, for the first time, really liking what President Obama had to say. When I started reading the President’s speech about how good things are getting, I was very happy. I bought it for a bit too thinking, “well, gas prices keep falling, I guess we’re doing something right.” However, I am a cynic, and I have to verify the information before I get too excited about it. The big problem I have is that I don’t trust him. I don’t believe in him. There have been too many instances where it seems his pride gets in the way and he is willing to just shut it all down if he doesn’t get what he wants. It’s like he’s a small child who will cry, scream, and go completely limp at a store, or in a large crowd, when you won’t buy them what they want. I think what bothers me the most is that most people are fooled by this. Don’t be fooled, it’s possible you may have just been hypnotized by a very smart, very articulate man, very capable man, who is underqualified for his job. Heck, if I’m wrong….sue me.