Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Not Bad

In the opening of his speech on the budget, President Obama did exactly what I hoped he'd do: he made very clear the different Americas envisioned by the teabaggR plan and his own. Given the choice, I'd hope (because I can't quite say I'm sure) a voting majority of Americans would prefer the latter. Much prefer. He spoke directly and persuasively about those differences, and gave convincing examples. He offered the choice -- because such a choice is exactly what's at stake -- between a country which cares for its own and prepares for an improving future, and one that doesn't, in order to maintain tax cuts for the most wealthy. Good.

"A 70% cut in clean energy. A 25% cut in education. A 30% cut in transportation. Cuts in college Pell Grants that will grow to more than $1,000 per year. That's what they're proposing. These aren't the kind of cuts you make when you're trying to get rid of some waste or find extra savings in the budget. These aren't the kind of cuts that the Fiscal Commission proposed. These are the kind of cuts that tell us we can't afford the America we believe in. And they paint a vision of our future that's deeply pessimistic.

"It's a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can't afford to fix them. If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can't afford to send them. Go to China and you'll see businesses opening research labs and solar facilities. South Korean children are outpacing our kids in math and science. Brazil is investing billions in new infrastructure and can run half their cars not on high-priced gasoline, but biofuels. And yet, we are presented with a vision that says the United States of America -- the greatest nation on Earth -- can't afford any of this.

"It's a vision that says America can't afford to keep the promise we've made to care for our seniors. It says that ten years from now, if you're a 65 year old who's eligible for Medicare, you should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today. It says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn't worth enough to buy insurance, tough luck -- you're on your own. Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it.

"This is a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit. And who are those 50 million Americans? Many are someone's grandparents who wouldn't be able afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down's syndrome. Some are kids with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we'd be telling to fend for themselves.

"Worst of all, this is a vision that says even though America can't afford to invest in education or clean energy; even though we can't afford to maintain or commitment to Medicare and Medicaid, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. Think about it. In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90% of all working Americans actually declined. Meanwhile, the top 1% saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. And that's who needs to pay less taxes? They want to give people like me a two hundred thousand dollar tax cut that's paid for by asking thirty three seniors to each pay six thousand dollars more in health costs? That's not right, and it's not going to happen as long as I'm President."

And he said this, with which I entirely agree:

"There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. There's nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don't have any clout on Capitol Hill. And this is not a vision of the America I know."
Starting with Ronald Reagan, our president enumerated the steps that had been taken to address budget problems, all of which included some tax hikes, culminating with the balanced budget of Clinton and its paying down of debt while the economy boomed over the objections of the R Congress. And Mr. Obama made it clear when it all took a turn for the worse, by whom, and how. Plus, he stood to the right of some in his party, as we all knew he would.

On the other hand, specifics were a little thin. And, it seems, there's yet another commission in the plans. So my approval is 90% full-throated (and that 90% is meant to be factual.)

Some have criticized President Obama for dragging his feet on presenting his own plan. Where's he been, they've asked. And now we know: right where he wanted to be. He let the teabaggRs present and rally around their awful -- their pessimistic, as BHO called it -- plan to let the country slip into ruin in order to preserve and increase tax cuts for the wealthy; gave them time to make clear what they're really about. And now, as the people (the thoughtful ones, anyway, including many conservatives) have had enough time to digest the dangers, he has reminded us all what this country -- the greatest country on earth, he called it, for the exceptionalists out there -- has always stood for: caring for one another, creating opportunity, leading the world in innovation; and which it will never again be if the House teabaggRs have their way.

Not bad. Not bad at all.


  1. That was a very good speech and he has made a few since the election. However, I am more skeptical now of the results, given the previous history of his negotiations on issues such as financial reform and the extension of the tax cuts.

    In fact, if his negotiation and/or actions continue as they have I will find it difficult to vote for him again. However, when I consider the alternatives I assume it will be a matter of voting against someone.

  2. Yep. The proof will be in the eating...

  3. So Ironic that the Muslim-in-Chief is keeping the Bush Tax Cut he doesn't need...
    And they should really be called the "Obama Tax Cuts" since Bush's cuts expired December 31st, 2010.
    I mean, He could at least give it to charity, or the homeless, or just blow it on a bunch of lottery tickets.
    Which have a better chance of cutting the deficit than anything He'll do.
    OK, I'll admit He was born in Hawaii, if only because REAL Kenyans would have burried him up to his nappy head and left him to the Hyenas for not bein Black enough.
    Seriously, thats what they do to kids who have 3 eyes or extra toes, or freckles.
    IF you'll
    admit that if The President couldn't raise taxes in 2010, with BOTH houses of Congress, He's probably not gonna do it in December 2012.
    Even if he does, Trump'll just cut em one month later.



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