Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State of the Union

This is what I wrote during the 2010 State of the Union as my first attempt at "Live Blogging". I am going back and cleaning it up over the next few days, so bear with me.

Populist Theme

A government of decency is what we need. Rails against the bank bailout. It's clearly an attempt to get on the people's side.
Demonize the banks - This is a slight of hand, as only those banks who have not paid back teh money should be paying this, but he is talking about getting money back from all big banks, even those who have already paid their money back. This will not fly with most Americans, because we are not stupid!

He listed a host of groups for whom he cut taxes 8 million - He sounds again like a Republican, boasting about all the groups that "got cuts". Does this mean that there are no tax increases coming?

I think that he was expecting applause from GOP. Got a tepid bit. I suspect this was not on the teleprompter, because his tone changed, his timing changed, and then reverted when he moved on.
He emphasized that they have not raised income taxes - not a single dime! The taxes have not gone into effect yet might be a better way to put it. Allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire is a tax increase, and they expire this year.

He praised the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the jobs it has created. Economists on both left and right agree it is helping. He feels our pain, but how can that be if we are out of the recession? But more must be done, so that's why jobs must be our focus in 2010, so he called for another new jobs bill tonight. Harry Reid was bored, yawned around this time.

He acknowledged that the engine of job creation will always be America's businesses, and says Government can create environment where they can grow. He even explained that entrepreneurs make money and grow the economy by taking risks. Banks are lending to big business, but not small. Small business owners need help, so he proposes to use $30B of TARP for community banks to encourage loans. Is it legal to use TARP money without further approval from Congress? Small business tax credit proposed.

He proposed to eliminate capital gains taxes for all small business, then rushed through a laundry list of tax cuts for big business. They sounded like nuanced, targeted, and limited cuts, not general cuts so everyone could benefit. Also, if he was excited about this proposal, he would have spent more time on it, not rushed through it. I doubt the Democrats support this initiative, let's wait and see.

He then moved on to propose a high-speed rail corridor with more TARP funds. He said that would create jobs and improve our infrastructure. He did not mention waiving the environmental studies, or any other regulations that will delay the implementation of all such major building projects. this sounded good, but these types of projects take years to design and approve, purchase land, and decades to complete.

He mentioned clean energy jobs, as a way to keep us ahead, and keep jobs her in the USA.

He proposed to cut taxes for companies that keep jobs here, and slash tax breaks for those that ship them over seas. This is easier said than done, because it is the many taxes and regulations here that drive companies (read jobs) off-shore. How can we remove those regulations and axes for those who stay here? House supposedly has already, and he wants the Senate to do the same.

Here he tried to channel Bill Clinton, and explain how he felt their pain. He challenged the Congress to put a bill on my desk right away, though even that won't make up for 7 million jobs lost.

He says (but doesn't explain exactly how) this recovery won't be like the expansion in "the lost decade", the 2000's won't be duplicated. No bubble, no speculation. He seems to blame risk taking for the recent recession, though the risk was both facilitated and encouraged by the federal government. He says that gridlock not good. We can't put future on hold. He says we have been waiting for decades, but China is not waiting, Germany is not, India is not waiting to improve their education. They are making more investment in math, infrastructure, etc, so should we. He says he will not accept 2d place for the USA. This is his justification to keep on spending on things he thinks are necessary. This is a weak argument to me, because if we are drowning in debt, no matter how good our infrastructure is, we will fail. Also, we used to spend less than we do now, and we got good education, so money is not the key to better education.

It was a bit unusual to hear him criticize a Supreme Court decision. Alito said "no way, not true" when President Obama mentioned corporations, even foreign corporations will have undue influence on the elections by pouring money into campaigns. He must not have read the decision, because the decision did not allow donations to campaigns, only that corporations could spend money on candidates and issues directly, not to campaigns. I have to agree with Justice Alito.

Now he says it is time to get serious about things that do financial reform. He claims it is not about punishing banks, but rather to guard against same recklessness that nearly brought down our economy. Can't allow banks to take risk with your money. It's the main theme of populism, We vs. them, and he tries to sound tough by saying forcefully that he won't sign bill if it doesn't provide true reform.

He claims that in 2009 he made the largest investment in green technology, and there is no area better than energy. He pointed to a NC company that makes batteries, a Ca company that makes solar cells, he suggests building nuclear power plants (GOP cheered) open new off-shore oil and gas drilling, invest in clean coal technology, bio fuel, and even cap & trade. He think climate change (Laughter) incentives are the right thing to do, and we can lead the global economy by doing the most in these areas. I thought cap & trade was dead, and discredited.

He wants to export more of our goods, so we can support more jobs in our country. He amorphously says he wants to double exports in 5 yrs, to create more jobs. Doesn't exactly say how, but it sounds good. Details include reform of export controls consistent with security concerns. He says he will make our trade partners play by the rules (what does that mean, if they have different rules in their country?). He says he will expand on the Doha agreement, with South Korea, Panama, and others. No details here, so I doubt it will get done.

He plans to invest in new skills through education. We must reward success, instead of rewarding failure or status quo. The best anti-poverty program is world class education. This is nice sounding pious words, but without details and broad support, nothing will get done on this initiative either.

Eric Lamont Hill seems to be out in audience.

He proposes a $10k tax credit for families for 4 yr college education. When they graduate, they will only have to pay 10% of their income if they choose a public career, and will be forgiven the balance in 10 years. This type of targeted benefit is not generally helpful, and will not restart the economy. It will play to a sliver of the population.

increase retirement deductions, so we can step up nest eggs.

To relieve the burden on middle class, still need HCR. big cheers.

clear a few things up: didn't choose to tackle HCR for politics. Rather, because of those who are at risk of losing their coverage. protect us from worst practices of HC insurance cos. Michelle O, (he rushed thru that part). same story as before, keep HCI, keep docs, nothing new here.

still, it's complex, and he takes his share of the blame, and with all the lobbying, horse trading, what's in it for me? more would have lost their HCC, premiums go up, lose coverage, all the bad stuff he always says. He won't walk away, neither should those in that chamber.

so as temps cool, look again at plan they proposed. solicited more input. but let us finish the job (effectively shutting out GOP ideas now). Reduce our deficit, but it's not enough to dig us out of the hole we are in.

At 2000, budget surplus. $1T when he came in. 2 wars, expensive drug program, tax cuts. Slamming GOP, essentially. blaming Bush for his adding $1T to national debt. says we must tighten our belts, as people do in families. Proposing specific steps to pay for debt. freeze for 3 yrs.

Now the loopholes: entitlement not included, will use veto if necessary to enforce. continue to go line by line? when did they start it? please!!

cutting tax cuts for wealthy people (oil people, CEO's, rich). Can't just be a gimmick, so restore pay-go in senate.

tried that, helped get us into this crisis. Rather than fight same battle, try something new. He is calling his idea common sense, a novel concept. he is facing a deficit of doubt. must close credibility gap.

I believe he is causing the C gap. he talks about bi-partisan, and posting all earmarks online. I thought they were going to end earmarks?

He says he's not naive? please! Always will be philosophical differences. Must not block just because they can? Can't run a political campaign every day? then when will he stop doing so?

Saying things that are not true is not ok. election year, the spirit of campaign fever is here. Must solve problem, Democrats, not run for the hills. if GOP insists that 60 votes r needed, they must take responsibility too now. No GOP clapping.

This week, he will address GOP - wants it to be monthly. joke fell flat (may not have been on teleprompter.

not interested in re-litigating the past. committed to our country's defense. let's leave that all behind, and make things better for the world. He must have been talking about the prosecution f the Bush team.

Now he claims he is fixing gaps revealed by the Xmas day bomber. Killed many Al Qaeda leaders. reward good governance, and rights of all Afghans. smattering of clapping.

Promises to end this war, will have all combat troops out by this August, and will support that Iraqi govt for the promotion of regional peace. Big clapping.

Tonight all our men/women in uniform have to know that they (didn't read it right) have our support. We will support them when they come home. why we made largest increase in Veterans n decades. I notices he stumbles a lot in this section of the speech. It is not a natural topic for him.

will bring 44 nations together here to work on nuclear weapons. Hinting at Iran, talking about isolating them. Promises they will face growing consequences. Engagement to sustain lasting global recovery. Climate change. DEVELOPING COUNTRIES TO FEED THEMSELVES.

We stand with FREEDOM ABROAD, AND AT HOME. UNITY IN DIVERSITY, DRAWING ON the promises enshrined in the Constitution. Once again prosecuting civil rights violations. Strengthened laws to protect right, will work with Congress to repeal laws that kick gays from military.

Equal pay
immigration laws. tepid clapping.

immigrants are same as rest of us. not GOP or Dem values, are American values.

Again with the divisive caricatures of the bankers, the CEOs that take advantage fo the folks.

Not sure if they believe in "Change we can believe in", but he can't do it alone. People are losing confidence in him. He's challenging people to make decisions to do what is needed to keep the dream alive for their kids & grandkids. (quiet as a pin drop). Admin has had setbacks, but optimism in core of American people lives on. lives on in htose whose' neighbors who are still employed. All the Americans that helped in Haiti, those who didn't know. (still quiet for pin drop).

we don't quit, I don't quit, let's carry the dream forward.

70 minutes of speech. Now to go back and clean up what I wrote.
Blame Bush for every thing bad, and reject GOP solutions.
Channeled Clinton in "I feel your pain".
Cap & Trade still a priority.
Healthcare reform still needs to get done, can't jsut drop it for fiscal.
Cut taxes on 95% of Americans, not raised taxes one dime.
Green jobs.
Gays in military acceptance openly.
End war in Iraq.
Education reform.
Doubled down on the existing positions, no pivot or move to the center.

Missing themes/mentions:
  1. Apology for anything. Accepting his share of blame is not an apology.
  2. Decision to charge Christmas Day Underwear Bomber as criminal.
  3. Closing Gitmo.
  4. Plan to recover bailout money form auto makers, and to spin them off from Government ownership.
  5. Police who took down Hassan (shooter) at Fort Hood. They were next to Michelle Obama in gallery.
  6. Israelis who helped much in Haiti. Were not in the list.
Republican Response

many blacks in background at VA House chamber.
jobs are top priority.

Don't pile on regulation to kill jobs.
Refers to Tho. Jefferson in beginnign, and often.
Jobs lost last year, debt to double in 5 yrs, triple in 10.

Freeze is laudable, but must reconsider proper role and level of government at every level.
excessive govt threatens our future.

relsuts, not srhetoric.

Much common ground:
HC system - don't turn it over to the fed govt.
GOp has plan to do common sense reforms,
by acros state lines,
tort reforms,
our proposals are available online: FB, twitter.
Blessed with vast naturala resources, must use all.
can agree on nukes, but not cap n trade.
now is time to lower energy prices and create jobs.

education: much agreement here.
need t compete in global economy.
child's intellect, not zip code determines results.

military. agree on 30k to Afghanistan

Scott Brown said: "we should not be spending our tax dollars to defend terrorists, but rahter to defeat them".
disagree with treating as criminals terrorists. as Scott Brown said. big applause.

can't guarantee outcomes, btu can guarantee opportunities.

Many americans are concerned abotu greater control bu feds on business, so top down control should not be expanded. govt closer to the people governs best. big applause.

freely choosing to help is best, thanx for compassion for HAITI.

some are afraid not land of promise. where opportunity is absent, create it.
where limited, expand it, where denied, open it to all.

forefathers pledged their lives, fortunes, sacred honor. we shoudl do the same.

Joe trippi:
went to American people with not quitting.
pivoted against Washington, though he IS Washington.
He will run against Washington this year.

put Gop on the mark, will have to take sides.
took on GOP
Obama will see more partisanship from GOP

In a word: lecture. not leading.
fundamental disconnect between what people are expecting and what he is doing.
He could have implemented these common sense reforms last year, but didn't.
Drilling offshore is now his idea, though it was a GOP idea for long time.

Steve Hayes:
dignity for countries, but what about Iran last year?