After watching the SOTU speech last night it has become obvious to me that Obama is in way over his head and he is quickly drowning. I listened to him intently to see if he "got it" and was amazed to see that not only does he NOT get it but he also doesn't know that he does not get it.
It is clear from his speech that he is living in some sort of fantasy land and I'm starting to think that he might be consuming way too much of his own Kool-Aid.
In either case one thing became glaringly obvious to me: we are in deep trouble and this man has no idea how to get us out of it.
At one point he proposed a spending freeze of non-descretionary spending that he said would save us $400 Billion over the next 10 years. There is only one problem with that. Becasue of the debt load that we have incurred were are currently paying $4 Billion a DAY on the interest alone. You can see how far the $400 Billion will go. It's a drop in the bucket.
He also talked about a renewed commitment to "out educate" the rest of the world so the future Americans could compete better on the global stage. Again, that is a fantastic idea. However, the facts prove the contrary. According to recent analysis of data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, our government already spends more per capita on education than any other of the 34 wealthiest countries in the world. If education is bad now then what makes Obama think that throwing MORE money at this issue will produce different results? What we need to do is get rid of the Department of Education and let the states handle this on the local level.
However, that alone will not get us out of this mess. What was perplexing to me was that Obama on the one hand wants to "freeze spending" (something he called for last year by the way) but at the same time he proposed new programs that would continue to ADD to the spending.
Over the past 40 years Congress has adopted a spending and borrowing plan for the United States that we now know is unsustainable. Both the Dems and the GOP are to blame. Remember, the President can only recommend spending initiatives or cuts but the Congress has to act upon them in order for them to take effect.
He also chose to pander to his supporters at times so that he could get tham back on board his bandwagon for the 2012 election. He spoke about make the $10,000 tuition tax credit for college students permanent. Again, where is the money coming for this?
He also talked about cutting out the taxpayer subsidies for the oil companies and called for a renewed commitment to renewable green energy sources. GREAT!! How about we start by cutting out the Ethanol supplements added to our gasoline now that not only raises the price of gas but also raises the price of corn at the same time? Instead of paying farmers to grow corn for Ethanol let's let them grow corn for consumption again.
It has now become painfully clear that we are going to have to make some BIG TIME cuts in entitlements and some of these cuts are going to be painful. We've all been living on borrowed time and kicking the can down the road. It's time to pay the bill. There is no way around the fact that we will need to do something drastic about Medicare and Social Security. These are simply unsustainable into the future.
The President missed an opportunity last night for a real "presidential" moment. He could seized the initiative while in the national spotlight to have a frank and open discussion with the American People. He could have confronted this issue head on to get them to realize just how bad things are and how painful it is going to be to fix it. He chose platitudes and hyperbole instead.
His little "halftime speech" will do wonders for making people feel great about America again but the truth is things aren't great. Once these chickens come home to roost there is going to be hell to pay. Take a look at Greece and Ireland and the real trouble they find themselves in. Guess what? That is us in about a decade.
This conversation requires REAL political courage to pull off. This is one of those moments that will be remembered for generations. It may not be popular at first but it is necessary. By sugarcoating the mess we are in and by misleading the American People with catch phrases Obama has shown that he would much rather continue to kick this can down the road rather than confront the problem.
If you look far enough into the future, just over the horizon you'll see a massive cliff quickly approaching. Instead of stepping on the brakes in America we just put the pedal to the metal.