But, as to the President’s State of the Union address, all seems to be in order. It was populist, and took much more liberal stances on issues that Obama had in his first term, as it followed closely on the heels of his stemwinder of an inaugural address.
He outlined a vision of a middle class that is healthy and growing that is in distinct contrast with the patrician and elitist views of the Republicans in Congress. His “ladders of opportunity” and support for increasing the minimum wage (a modest increase of less than 30%, to be sure) mirror my liberal libertarian views on government.
Government ought to be levelling the playing field.
Let me take a moment to brief new readers on what I mean: I view society as a three-legged stool. There’s the people, the government and the business sector.
When these are in balance, the country is stable. It can grow and everybody benefits to some degree.
When one of these comes up short, the country is unstable and when two come up short, the country is set to topple over.
Balance in society is so damned hard to maintain because as people become complacent, business becomes aggressive. We rely on government to step in and keep business in check. Likewise, when business becomes dormant, people become angry and frustrated in poverty. And if government is small enough to drown in a tub, you’ve lost all hope of a stable society.
What we in America are in danger from is that two legs are not only longer than the people’s leg, but they’ve nearly merged. This is a completely unsustainable construct.
But I digress…
You can read the full text here. I do want to highlight a few other points President Obama raised last night:
1) Austerity alone will not work, particularly cutting entitlements alone. Look, the DoD has more money than it knows what to do with. Let’s cut there first, and see if austerity helps the economy and deficit.
2) Growing the economy is the best way to fix this mess, and the best way to grow the economy is middle class tax relief and asking the rich to put up their fair share (altho he didn’t come out and say this last bit). 95% of small businesses in the nation are owned by people who make less than $50,000 from them. 90% of jobs in the country are created by small business. You do the math. He’s right.
3) He left some Medicare reforms on the table. I know he’s talked about a modest hike in the eligibilty age and certainly means-testing ought to be on the table. It’s ridiculous that someone who earns $100,000 in his retirement has full access to the same Medicare a home healthcare worker does. Worse, the higher earner will likely outlive the poorer working stiff. This needs to be addressed.
4) He slapped Boehner’s hands on the American Job Act, for not bringing it to the floor for a vote. Four years, not one jobs bill worth a damn in the House.
5) Science funding. I have to love a man who agrees that research is a critical component of government spending. I just wish he had gone further and said he’d start charging businesses who file patents on the backs of that work.
6) Gun control. I like that he challenged Congress to make a vote on the modest reforms he’s asking for. I want these assholes on record because you just know there’s someone out there thinking he can outdo Adam Lanza. Let’s make these jerks put it on the record they support that effort.
7) Finally, he came out full-throated for fighting climate change. It’s about time.