State of the Union

You can tell you’re getting old when your guild decides to postpone a guild meeting so they can watch the State of the Union. This was one of those times where the Xbox failed me and I had to watch from the computer instead of the tv. It almost looked like there would be a way to watch it from there, since there is  a Youtube app and MSNBC app. But not joy, at least live.

So what did I think? Unimpressed honestly. Normally, I like Obama’s speeches. He’s a good speaker. He didn’t do a poor job here. It just didn’t feel right for a State of the Union. It felt more political then it should have, and more like Dad lecturing unruly kids.

Which isn’t to say it was the wrong thing to do. Congress has been acting like unruly kids, and really needed a stern talking too. The focus of the message was we need to act to help America, and that means to stop being a bunch of whiny babies who can’t agree on anything. Not that it will make a bit of difference.

That’s where the political nature of the speech came in. It was more a reelection speech than a state of the union. It was about here is what America needs, and we could do it, if Congress would just let me act. So reelect me, send more reasonable congress people, and we’ll get stuff done. All true, and a reasonable campaign strategy. It just felt kind of obvious.

But beyond general tone, what did he talk about?

  • Addressed the income disparity issue. The Occupy movement may be petering out in many ways, but they did bring this issue to the forefront of the national discussion. Was one of the main points, so that’s a win.
  • Another thing Obama mentioned was a plan to begin a Federal investigation into the people and institutions that led to the financial meltdown. Another win for Occupy.
  • Mentioned climate change, but only briefly. It was addressed in a more round about way in talking about energy policy and the need to invest in renewable energy industries. I can’t really fault him here. Focusing on climate change won’t get anywhere, but focusing on small pieces of the solution is at least something. Eliminating oil company tax subsidies would be nice.
  • Said a lot of nice things about education; giving more control back to schools, providing them with the resources they need, allowing teachers to do their job. But then also touted the success of Race to the Top which is a terrible education policy.
  • Talked about the way, despite having a high corporate tax rate, most big corporations pay little, if anything, in taxes due to offshore accounts and loopholes. Proposed giving tax breaks to companies that create jobs here and closing loopholes on the others. Sounds good, but will it work when companies can exploit workers so much more in other countries?
  • Banning insider trading amongst Congressmen. Wait, that’s not already illegal? It is for everyone else, why can they do it?
  • Usual stuff about improving infrastructure and creating more jobs. Stuff Congress has ignored for the last three years.


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