The State of Our Union

Tonight, for the third time in his presidency, Barack Obama will visit the combined houses of Congress to offer his assessment of the State of the Union.  It will be colorful, flashy, optimistic, and slick.  He will fulfill the obligations of the Constitution this evening, but he won’t give us much of an honest report on how we actually fare these days as a nation of sovereign States.

For one, those States are no longer sovereign.  Their federal overlord is sovereign and they are much like medieval serfs working the land that benefits their master.  As long as they go along with the system they are rewarded with funds from the federal coffers.  This certainly didn’t start with Mr. Obama, but he has taken full advantage of the situation and worsened it.

The White House is telling us that the topic tonight will include emphasis on jobs, taxes, and housing.  I’m sure we’ll hear a great deal of bluster about how the economy is improving.  Yet unemployment remains staggering high (higher than reported), and more citizens than ever are availing themselves of federal money to meet their daily needs.  By guaranteeing ninety-nine weeks of unemployment assistance, the feds are assuring us that the economy won’t be seeing an influx of workers until those benefits are exhausted.

Our union is poor.  Our electorate is more divided than ever.  It’s no longer a question of “the haves” and the “the have nots.”  It’s a question of the producers and the consumers.  Nearly half of us are paying absolutely no federal income tax at all, yet many of those same persons demand that their economic needs be met.  Economic success is no longer something to be proud of.  It’s a mark of selfishness.  “The rich” are hated for the fact that they can afford to invest their money rather than work for a salary; all the while those who use this fact for their own political gain never mention that financial investment is the backbone of the economic engine.  Money that is invested helps us all.

Economically, racially, and politically, we are more divided than anytime previously in my life.  And Barack Obama seems to prefer it this way.

If it weren’t required by our beloved Constitution, I’d say that we should just forget the dog-and-pony show for tonight.  The Democrats will do everything they can to spin it to their advantage and to convince us that they’ve got our backs.  The Republicans will do everything they can to make Mr. Obama and the Democrats look bad.  We’ll hear a great deal from DC tonight, but very little of it will be accurate.

What is the State of this Union we call the United States of America?  Disjointed, tattered, abused, robbed, and neglected.  Poor Americans are getting poorer.  Middle-class Americans are getting poorer.  The wealthy have less money and incentive for investment to start and to expand businesses.  Inflation is mounting and the government hides the fact by changing the way statistics are presented.  Corporations–employers–are fleeing overseas to avoid excessive taxation.

Is anybody doing well these days?  Oh, yes, I assure you.  Our federal politicians are doing quite well.  They have generous benefits and salaries that are unimaginable for the vast majority of our nation’s citizens, on whose backs they enjoy their perks.  They are the political elite and we are the working people who are being divided and conquered so they can enjoy their above-average lifestyles.

In the meantime, spending remains at unholy levels, waste and fraud are rampant, and the printing presses at the Federal Reserve continue to pump out money that just comes into being because powerful people want it to do so.  Gentle readers, consider this fantasy with terror:  when you and I need money, we must work for it.  We must exchange our effort or a good that we produce in order to convince someone else to share with us the wealth they have earned.  When the federal government needs money, it simply prints more.  With slips of printed paper our leaders purchase political support and guarantee themselves a lavish lifestyle.

Tonight’s State of the Union address is not about bettering our society or strengthening our union.  I wish it were.  It’s about power, plain and simple.  It’s about holding on to power. 

As Barack Obama mounts the podium tonight he should wag his finger at the Senate and ask why that Democrat-controlled body has not even passed a budget in over a thousand days.  He should apologize to the nation.  Then he should exit the halls of the capital building in shame.

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2 thoughts on “The State of Our Union

  1. I have a few points of reply.First, and this is me being somewhat a smartass, the Constitution only says ‘From time to time’ in regards to how often a President should provide a State of the Union.  He doesn’t have to do it every year so he could not deliver the address tonight.Second, in order to receive unemployment benefits one must prove they are looking for work.  While the high number of applicants strains the ability to audit individuals, individuals are routinely kicked out in every state for failing to look for work or failure to disclose new employment.   If you are offered a job, you have to take it or risk losing your benefits.  Also I want to say that even though you did not mention it it has been discussed by people running for President that we should end food stamps and such because it creates a culture of dependence.  Food Stamps aren’t primarily designed for the unemployed.  They are designed for people who have jobs that can’t pay the bills, especially families.   Most certainly federal assistance programs could be reformed to eliminate overlap and reduce fraud and waste, however as long as there are jobs which do not pay a living wage, I think it is reasonable to help people eat well, put a roof over their heads, and have electricity.Third, if I were to propose that no one under the poverty line pay any federal income taxes and a quarter or more Americans stop paying that says more about poverty in this country than it does about people paying their fair share.  The  two reasons nearly half don’t pay are because of the amount of people who are poor or lower middle class and the amount of deductions and exemptions we have in our tax code.  Some of those are good incentives, some of them not so much.  We should evaluate those incentives in light of our global and technologically enhanced economy along with shifting values, not eliminate them all in the name of simplicity and fairness.  We have the most complex and largest economy in the world, our tax code does not need to be a few pages in length.  By the way, everyone pays some sort of tax that goes to the federal, state, and local governments.   No one gets a free ride.Fourth, the rich are not hated because they are rich.  Some of the rich are hated because their greed led directly to the Great Recession yet they were bailed out with money from the people their greed robbed.  Imagine someone broke into your house and while fleeing with your money was injured in a car wreck.  Imagine the state then paying their hospital bills while they kept your money.  I understand why you may despise the state, but don’t forgot the robber.  Oh and that doesn’t make me anti-capitalist.  Just anti-greed which disguises itself in the form of capitalism.Fifth, plenty of wealthy people are doing well and have plenty of money to invest.   Never in the history of the world have their been as many investors or those investors having access to as many markets and information regarding said markets.   Couple that with the unprecendented technological revolution we are witnessing and remembering that 67 years of relative world peace has seen the earth’s population rise to nearly 7 billion and an incredibly intertwined global economy, it’s no wonder jobs are not as plentiful and many investors prefer safety over risks.  This is where I am optimistic.  Americans engineered an agriculture revolution that fed India, put a man on the moon and people in space, developed the Internet and a global communications system and eradicated polio and smallpox. We are a generation away from eliminating AIDS and malaria.  So long as there is global trade ensuring peace, economies will grow and knowledge spread.  Eventually analytics will develop enough to give investors more confidence and I believe an ever growing consciousness of how things are grown and made will lead to voluntary fair trade.  This will distribute wealth well… more fairly and dramatically reduce global poverty rates.  Bottom line, do not favor explanations that only look at a portion of the facts.   Finally, how do you define rampant?  I do not agree that waste and abuse are rampant.  I also define waste and abuse in terms of how the money was supposed to be allocated and did it actually go there.  I thought Iraq was a waste but by and large, money went where it was supposed to.  In terms of spending we both agree that the global economy needs to significantly if not dramatically reduce it’s dependent upon bonds. However I have an idea that would avoid raising the debt ceiling.  Forgive debt from the Treasury to Social Security.   It’s not perfect but it needs to be discussed, at least a partial forgiveness.  When adjusting Social Security to accommodate new retirement ages and spending issues, forbid investment in treasury bonds or bonds of any kind.  I would not be opposed to investing like most states do with their pensions but there would have to be detailed accountability including public input periods and systematic review by Congress.  You should start a new thread soon about your proposals to better the state of the union and invite people to do the same.  Hope all is well.  Thanks for the space to discuss these issues

    • “Forgive debt from the Treasury to Social Security…”? You realize that both are part of the same Federal Government, right? The problem with Social Security isn’t the liabilities it has to the Treasury, but the growing bubble of Social Security payments that will burst in 10 – 15 years (if not sooner) because of baby boomers beginning to retire. Forgiving debt ignores the bigger problem.

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