Tuesday, January 12, 2016

State Of The Union Is One Of Disgust And Anger

A Chance To Inspire?
The State of the Union is one of disgust and anger. Many Americans continue to grow weary of President Obama as his continued promises often fall short and never seem to gel or come to fruition. Promises of gun control, immigration reform, and a healthcare system that works for all of us are just a few examples of where the President and Washington have disappointed America. Cheap tricks used in the past like pointing to a special guest, "an average American" brought to Washington as a "visual prop" as proof that policies are paying off for the masses can only carry us so far. This year it has been indicated a chair will remain empty to signify and represent all those killed by guns.

In truth some Americans will view the empty chair more as a symbol representing all the Americans absent or wanting to remain absent from hearing the same old lies and watching a slew of clowns constantly rising to applaud and pay tribute. The rejection by the American voter's of the two Presidential candidates expected to represent the two political parties and "all things Washington" is an indication at just how far the angst has grown. On Sunday morning Donald Trump said on Meet The Press that "the State of the Union is a mess" and many Americans appear to be in total agreement. One thing is clear, and that is we do not need to be lectured on how too many people die from acts of violence or how the education system has failed to provide kids with the skills to become productive citizens.

The Speech Remains A Dog And Pony Show
Trump's interview was followed by a segment on the SOTU where a White House spokesman talked about how the country was surging and how optimistic things were looking. He indicated that we may see a spin placed on the annual speech that takes it away from the endless traditional "wish list" format we have come to know. He then went on to hint that the President might instead attempt to paint a vision or picture of what he wants America to become. Ironically to a divided, cynical, and polarized America such a speech may be viewed more as a self-serving attempt to shape and cement his legacy rather than an effort to report where America is and the real challenges before our nation. It may be a different year, but for many Americans including those who elected this man hoping for positive change it feels like more of the worst.

In a nut shell when we inspect the economy of America, huge growing deficits, a weak recovery, and a questionable future cast an ugly shadow over the promises that have been made. During the last few years the people of America have been spectators to scandal after scandal from the nations capital. Crony capitalism seems to have run wild and revelations that the NSA was busy taking tens and tens of billions to spy on each and everyone of us has done little to reestablish faith and trust. Not only are conservatives unhappy about the compromises made by their representatives, but many liberals see any attempt of those in Washington to achieve a grand bargain not as confronting problems but as a "grand betrayal" of promises made to help what they see as societies most vulnerable.

Regardless of whether Obama puts out there a big vision, small vision, or no vision expect reality to quickly suck the air and energy out of the room. When it comes to political inaction the Presidents promise for more governing by Presidential edict has stirred the blood of those on both sides of the aisle. Unemployment and poor quality job growth remains a major issue. Washington remains polarized  and we have failed to resolve problems in and with North Korea, Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and several other countries. Obama loves the spot light and he has logged in more camera time than any President in history, but many people will simply tune him out because of over overexposure.

One thing we can expect to see embraced is the call for more infrastructure spending that people are always promoting as the best great idea. How quickly they forget we do not have the infrastructure of a third world country and this kind of spending is not a silver bullet but in many cases merely a pipeline to wasteful spending and a way to line the pockets of those who oil the wheels of our public servants. Our constant search for an easy and painless answers guarantees we will embrace and line up behind more boondoggle projects that expands governments influence and undercuts free enterprise by competing with it on many levels.

Following the speech supporters will praise the President and call it grand, as always we hear some pundits babble about how a new page has been turned while others will talk about how they are disappointed. In the real world a bigger issue of concern in the strength of America going forward both economically and militarily. With many countries in turmoil and China seen as a rising military power a real fear is growing that America may be in decline.  It is fortunate that our political system always allows for ample room for finger pointing and the placement of blame. In short prepare for more of the same. 

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