Sunday, January 29, 2012

Response to the State of the Union Address

President Obama’s text is in regular font and quotation marks. My responses are in italics.

Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery
State of the Union Address
“An America Built to Last”
“President Obama: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. Together, we offered a final, proud salute to the colors under which more than a million of our fellow citizens fought – and several thousand gave their lives.

We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.” Have they, now? Leaving the debatable “safer” thing aside, did these wars truly make us more respected around the world? Or did they make the entire world fed up with us for roughly throwing our weight around at countries that never attacked us and carelessly dropping bombs without much care for who they hit? I think most people “around the world” will tell you something closer to the latter. If the President disagrees, that’s fine. But he should state his opinion for what it is, an opinion, rather than saying that “we know” this to be true.

“For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home. These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.” We’d accomplish whatever we’re told to accomplish. That’s why the analogy doesn’t fit. Soldiers don’t have to decide what their mission ought to be; they are told what the mission is. They just have to do it. Certainly, they do an admirable and heroic job of that, but that doesn’t make it a fair comparison. The military is not a democracy. If the military were tasked with voting on which wars should be fought and which didn’t, in addition to the actual execution of the wars, I imagine it’d be a lot less efficient and much more internal quarrelling regarding ideological differences would arise. Differences that are irrelevant to the task at hand don’t cause fights, but differences that impact the task at hand do. When the military has such a dispute, there is a strict chain of command to resolve it. The natural insinuation, therefore, is that Obama wants us all to solve our differences by simply doing whatever he says, because he’s the one in charge and that’s how the military does it. How democratic.

“Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.” Funny, I want that America too. Everybody wants that America, which is why it sounds so nice and why his speechwriters put it in. But unfortunately, this is purely for rhetorical appeal, because gazing into the distance and painting visions of Happy Happy Land does not tell us how to get there. And since what’s preventing us from getting there is not a lack of motivation, what’s needed to get us there is not dangling a carrot and saying “We can do this!”

“We can do this. I know we can, because we’ve done it before. At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known. My grandfather, a veteran of Patton’s Army, got the chance to go to college on the GI Bill. My grandmother, who worked on a bomber assembly line, was part of a workforce that turned out the best products on Earth.

"[My grandparents] shared the optimism of a Nation that had triumphed over a depression and fascism. They understood they were part of something larger; that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share – the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement. The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What’s at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them."

I agree with the president that no debate is more important or urgent than the debate over the continuation of that promise. That is because no debate is more important to the future of this country than the debate over what powers the constitution grants the federal government, and in broad terms I found this excerpt to be a good example of the liberal economic perversion of that document. In particular, I took notice of the President's use of the term “American promise,” in place of the more traditional “American dream”. I do not believe that to be an accidental, happenstance word choice, as the two terms are not interchangeable. A “dream” is a person's hope. It is a wish for something, a desire. As such, dreams are customizable based on the hopes, wishes and desires of each individual. My dreams are probably different than yours. A dream is something personal which somebody would LIKE to be able to have or to do, a goal they would LIKE to accomplish. A promise is very different. A promise is a guarantee. A promise is not a hope that something could happen, but a concrete assurance that it will. One who dreams has an objective to pursue; one who promises has an obligation to fulfill. By substituting this fabled “promise” in for the American dream, Obama tries to convince us that the government has such an obligation to us, that it has a duty to provide all of us with whatever the majority of people want. He lists a house, a college education, benefits for "traditional families", or money for retirement as examples. And in turn, he expects that we have an obligation to it: to accept and embrace these handouts, and to unquestioningly “work hard” in order to fund and support this loving, caring, protecting state. Or, as he puts it, to “contribute” to “something larger” which “every American had a chance to share”.

The truth is that the best thing Americans could possibly share is the recognition that there can be no such promises. Such promises have no place in American government, were never intended to exist, and they never did exist beyond a figment of the liberal imagination. The increasingly laughable attempts to stretch the framers words beyond all initial intent reminds us that such promises are unconstitutional. $15 trillion of debt and many more trillions in unfunded liabilities remind us that such promises are unsustainable. The unending stream of lies, flip-flops and contradictions of politicians in both parties remind us that such promises are empty. And the continued reelection those politicians reveals the motivations behind those who make such promises. They are made primarily by those who have discovered that elections can be won by making as many promises as possible to as many people as possible, if only they in turn will promise to vote for you.

The president seeks to align his “American promise” with the American dream, because promising that the government will fix everything that's wrong in our lives has been a surefire way to win and keep power ever since FDR. It will remain a safe campaign strategy until Americans learn that this collectivist rhetoric is the polar opposite of the American dream. The dream our fathers set forth is that of a nation that defends each individual’s rights life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Obama wants to swap the dream of pursuing our own happiness (however we choose to define it) with the promise of happiness itself (however the government defines it). That exchange should fill any freedom-loving person with dread. Americans should be equally worried about his promises to provide everybody a “fair shot” (however he defines it) instead of a fair and equal treatment. They should also be concerned that he seeks to ensure they do their “fair share” (however he defines it) instead of doing whatever they please to the extent that they respect the rights of others.

In conclusion, the vision President Obama lays out is one of collectivism at its ugliest, and America at its least free. The President is totally right that we have to reclaim American values. But he is totally wrong about what those values are, what they have always been and what they’re listed as in the constitution. The president believes that the people have lost their way by distrusting the government that provides for them, rather than the government having lost its way by deviating from “We the people...” The president calls for us to set aside party differences to rally around his party’s worldview, but there can be no compromise with a view as fundamentally un-American as that which he sets forth. Finally, the President claims to want an America where “everyone plays by the same set of rules”. So do I. So Mr. Obama, here’s the government's official rulebook. It’s called the US Constitution, and it’s the only reason your job is allowed to exist. Please start playing by its rules.

“Let’s remember how we got here. Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores.  Technology made businesses more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete. Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren’t, and personal debt that kept piling up. In 2008, the house of cards collapsed.” - By making this sentence come right after the above paragraph (even though it’s probably meant as an introduction to the next), he makes it seem that the “house of cards” was rising income inequality. It wasn’t. Even if we accept the liberal argument that it was caused by too little regulation, that has nothing to do with wealth or inequality. However much liberals’ moral world view compels them to believe that an economy with large inequality is a fragile economy prone to collapse, that’s simply not true, but Obama makes it seem like it is.

We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them. Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money. Regulators had looked the other way, or didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behavior. It was wrong. It was irresponsible.” – Did he really just say that? That was a mighty poor choice of words, my friend. The same president who gave out hundreds of billions of tax dollars in bailouts, spent hundreds of billions of tax dollars on a failed stimulus, hundreds billions more on a flawed healthcare program, and hundreds of billions more in unnecessary wars, turns around and accuses BANKS of being irresponsible with OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY!?!?!?! No no no. Tax dollars are other people’s money, pal. Banks are voluntary and legitimate. People voluntarily choose to give their money to banks. People shop for banks. They pick one bank to invest in over others, based on which has the best combination of interest rates and security and convenience to suit their needs. Like any investment, that has risks, and investors are made aware of those risks (if they aren’t, that’s fraud, and it’s illegal without any regulations required). And like any investment, that money can be taken out of the bank at any time.  If people choose not to do business with that bank anymore, the bank cannot hire men with guns to go to their home, apprehend them, throw them in a cell and take their money anyway. As such, bank money is lent out with the permission of the investors, a permission that is acquired the day they sign on the dotted line. Not so for tax dollars. Tax dollars are taken by force. If you don’t pay your taxes, the government can send men with guns to your house, throw you in jail, and take your money anyway. That’s acceptable when the money is being used for government’s explicit constitutional role, but Obama is spending tax dollars on totally unconstitutional things, making the forced taxation illegitimate. If anybody else were to take your money against your will at gunpoint and spend it, it would be robbery. The difference is that Obama does it on a large scale, and that he amasses a huge debt that will eventually be stolen from my generation instead of from the current taxpayers. Spending tax dollars so freely, frivolously, and unconstitutionally is much more wrong and just as irresponsible as what the banks did.

“And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt, and left innocent, hard-working Americans holding the bag. In the six months before I took office, we lost nearly four million jobs. And we lost another four million before our policies were in full effect.” – No, you left innocent Americans holding the bag. By you I mean the government in general, because the bailouts began before you were even in office. But the point is that in a true free market, nobody is ever left holding anybody else’s bag financially. You can’t lose money you don’t risk. But you can lose whatever money the government simply takes from you. If the government agrees to insure the risk of others and then you’re made to fund the government, your entire income is perpetually at risk depending on how much of the bag the government makes you hold.

“Those are the facts. But so are these. In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than three million jobs. Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005. American manufacturers are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s. Together, we’ve agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion.” – Hahahaha. Listen to this guy. ‘We’ve agreed to cut the deficit.’ My friend and I have agreed to win the lottery one day. That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Your “budgetary task force” failed to cut jack shit. Any reasonable political observer knows that agreeing that the deficit should be lowered does not represent anything remotely near an accomplishment, because it says nothing about HOW it shall be lowered. And that is clearly a very contentious issue.

And we’ve put in place new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so a crisis like that never happens again. The state of our Union is getting stronger. And we’ve come too far to turn back now. As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.” – Translation: I hate obstruction, so I will not tolerate anything the Republicans want to do. I don’t care what I’m actually allowed to do, if the constitution’s checks and balances are preventing me from getting my way, I will walk all over that shit and get what I want. For example, if I want a Consumer Protection official, and congress refuses to appoint the guy I want, I’ll put him in anyway, regardless of whether the constitution explicitly requires congressional approval or not.

“No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits. Tonight, I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.” – Why is it the governments place to pick and choose which sectors of the economy should succeed and which shouldn’t? Isn’t that just a recipe for more crony capitalism alliances where the government helps certain companies over others in exchange for electoral support? Isn’t that exactly what was so wrong about Solyndra? Markets should decide which parts of our economy thrives, not centralized planning.

“This blueprint begins with American manufacturing. On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen.” – The only thing you refused to let happen was for those jobs and that capital to be allocated more efficiently elsewhere, both within and beyond the auto industry. Viewing the effect of failed companies on the unemployment rate as simple subtraction is a simplistic and flawed economic outlook.

In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We got workers and automakers to settle their differences.” – Yeah, by forcing them to accept whatever prices you named. We got the industry to retool and restructure. Today, General Motors is back on top as the world’s number one automaker. Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company. Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories. And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs. We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity. And tonight, the American auto industry is back.” – At the expense of whatever more efficient, safer, and more prosperous economic outcome would have replaced it.

What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries. It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh. We can’t bring back every job that’s left our shores. But right now, it’s getting more expensive to do business in places like China. Meanwhile, America is more productive. A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home. Today, for the first time in fifteen years, Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.
So we have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back.” – That’s true, we do. But that means we as a people, not we as a government. “But we have to seize it. Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.” – Errrrrhh, wrong answer. By your country you mean “your government”, and by your government you mean “a few hundred elected officials who understand little and care less about how to make your business prosperous and how to make your products affordable.”

“We should start with our tax code. Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it. So let’s change it. First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it. That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home.” – I don’t know what tax exemptions he’s referring to, so it’s hard for me to speak as to whether that exemption should exist or not. What I know is that higher taxes on companies mean higher prices for consumers, and that won’t help Americans in a recession.

“Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here.” – If I hear another liberal use the term “fair share” one more time I might pull my hair out.

“Third, if you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut. If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making products here. And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers.
My message is simple. It’s time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. Send me these tax reforms, and I’ll sign them right away.” – Errrhh, wrong answer. This whole thing is enormous social engineering, and it only serves to raise spending, raise the debt, raise prices on consumers and hurt the very same people overseas that we’re sending foreign aid to on the premise of helping them. It’s labor protectionism at its ugliest. The economic costs are dispersed far and wide, and the benefits are minimal. Targeted tax cuts to manufacturers give an unfair edge to them over their competitors, and an unfair advantage of one sector of the economy over others. This restricts the flexibility of capital, limits market sensitivity to changing demand, and hurts innovation and choice. Taxes being equal across the board is just as important as taxes being low across the board.

“We’re also making it easier for American businesses to sell products all over the world. Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years. With the bipartisan trade agreements I signed into law, we are on track to meet that goal – ahead of schedule. Soon, there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, and Toledo, and Chicago.” – Good, I’m all for this. We live in a global economy, let’s take advantage of it. Not doing so, as some protectionists advocate, is far more isolationist than anything Ron Paul proposes.

“I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for American products. And I will not stand by when our competitors don’t play by the rules. We’ve brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration – and it’s made a difference. Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires. But we need to do more. It’s not right when another country lets our movies, music, and software be pirated. It’s not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours only because they’re heavily subsidized.” – Haha, are you the pot or the kettle?!?!?!? Liberals have protected American subsidies for decades! Thankfully most ethanol subsidies expired this December, but other farm subsidies are still sacred cows for many on the left. But to be fair, this is the right approach to China.

“Tonight, I’m announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trade practices in countries like China. There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders. And this Congress should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing when it comes to accessing finance or new markets like Russia. Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you – America will always win.” – Ho-ah.

“I also hear from many business leaders who want to hire in the United States but can’t find workers with the right skills. Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job. Think about that – openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work. That’s inexcusable. And we know how to fix it.

Jackie Bray is a single mom from North Carolina who was laid off from her job as a mechanic. Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College. The company helped the college design courses in laser and robotics training. It paid Jackie’s tuition, then hired her to help operate their plant.” – Cool, great idea. I’m sure that program works great for all involved. That’s because it was a non-coerced transaction made between a local-level school president (doing what’s best for her school and her students) and a private company (doing what’s best for their profit). No help was or is needed from the Federal government for those mutually beneficial transactions to happen. So why do I have the suspicion that Obama’s not telling us this just to cross his fingers and hope more of us choose to do the same?

“I want every American looking for work to have the same opportunity as Jackie did. Join me in a national commitment to train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job. My Administration has already lined up more companies that want to help. Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, Orlando, and Louisville are up and running.  Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers – places that teach people skills that local businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.” – I hate it when I’m right. Both the Tea Party and the Occupy movement are justifiably outraged about the too-close partnership between government and big business. Obama’s response? Let’s create more partnerships between government and big business. As I said above, I have no problem with what Central Piedmont Community College chose to do. I do have a problem with the Federal government imposing top down monetary incentives so as to alter what it’s in their best interests to do. He thinks he knows how to spend that money better than the taxpayers he took it from. He thinks the government deciding what’s best for everyone is a more efficient economic model than millions of people deciding what’s best for themselves. He’s wrong.

“And I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help they need. It’s time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work.” – The trouble is, this “unemployment system” we have right now isn’t the result of doing nothing. It’s the result of decades of politicians trying to engineer economic outcomes by “turning _____ into ______”, instead of just setting fair, level rules and letting people do whatever they want.

“These reforms will help people get jobs that are open today. But to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, our commitment to skills and education has to start earlier.
For less than one percent of what our Nation spends on education each year, we’ve convinced nearly every State in the country to raise their standards for teaching and learning – the first time that’s happened in a generation. But challenges remain. And we know how to solve them.

At a time when other countries are doubling down on education, tight budgets have forced States to lay off thousands of teachers. We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000. A great teacher can offer an escape from poverty to the child who dreams beyond his circumstance.  Every person in this chamber can point to a teacher who changed the trajectory of their lives. Most teachers work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies – just to make a difference. Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. In return, grant schools flexibility: To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.” – Absolutely spot on diagnosis of the problem, 100% correct and I’m glad that he said it. But unfortunately, it’s an absolutely incorrect prescription for how to fix it. He is right that we need to stop bashing teachers, and right that we should venerate them for the very important role they play in our society. Teaching should not be viewed as a simple job that anybody can do, it should be revered as the esteemed and honorable profession that it is. He is also correct that we need to reward good teachers with higher pay so as to attract better people into this profession. The demeaning attitude of many on the right that teachers are inept and don’t deserve much pay has unfortunately become a self-fulfilling prophecy: if we offer salaries fit for a moron, only morons will take the job. Where Obama goes wrong is where he starts speaking Union-talk: “stop teaching to the test” instead of just making better tests, and demanding that schools “replace” bad teachers instead of simply firing them and having larger classes. There is plenty of statistical proof that good teachers get better results (no matter how you evaluate those results) than bad ones, but no statistical indication that smaller class sizes work better than larger class sizes. Perhaps his biggest folly, however, is the notion that the federal government should “give resources” to the states to do all this. Local schools can decide what course of action is best for their students on their own, without the Fed dangling a conditional funding carrot in front of them to try to change those actions to fit a the top down, one-size-fits-all recipe. And the federal government can’t afford to offer that carrot anyway.

“We also know that when students aren’t allowed to walk away from their education, more of them walk the stage to get their diploma. So tonight, I call on every state to require that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn eighteen.” – Boo, hiss. More government requirements are never the best way to make a libertarian happy, but this is especially so when those requirements hurt the poor. I’m planning a whole blog post about why schooling shouldn’t be mandatory in any state in the coming weeks, but I’ll summarize that post here: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. And sometimes, the horse knows where the water is better than you do. Most of the students who drop out of high school aren’t the sort of student who’s going to do much with high school degree just because a teacher is made to babysit them for another two years. And most of the kids who drop out don’t do it because they’re lazy, they do it because their family needs money and they need to work, or because they feel their time is better spent in a vocational or trade school than it is receiving state-mandated history lectures. Just as no one type of school is appropriate for all states, it’s not appropriate for all families either. And just as states and districts should be able to tailor their schools to suit their own region’s needs, families should be able to take whatever action they feel is best for them and their child. I’m fine with a law that says a kid can’t drop out without a parental signature, because legal guardians decide all sorts of things for their dependents. But nobody is in a better position to determine what’s best for their child than the child himself and his parents. You and I may agree that dropping out of school is a bad choice, but if they disagree, our opinions don’t matter. Just like my Christian beliefs shouldn’t be forced on others either. Everybody being able to do whatever they like to the extent it doesn’t harm others is the definition of liberty, which is exactly what the constitution was created to protect.

“When kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college. At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July. Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves middle-class families thousands of dollars. And give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years.” – That’s three times he’s called for extending tax credits, plus several times he’s called for new spending programs. He has mentioned the deficit or debt exactly zero times. Where’s all this money coming from, pal? I know that you’re trying to get elected, and it’s easier to get elected when you can promise every interest group more government money, while simultaneously promising every individual that they can keep more of their own money. But after 20 years or so, that strategy leads to a $15 trillion debt.

“Of course, it’s not enough for us to increase student aid. We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition; we’ll run out of money. States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets. And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down. Recently, I spoke with a group of college presidents who’ve done just that. Some schools re-design courses to help students finish more quickly. Some use better technology. The point is, it’s possible. So let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down. Higher education can’t be a luxury – it’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.” – The reason tuition is going up is precisely because you keep dishing out that taxpayer funding! The more money people are given to pay for college, the more money they can afford to pay for college! Inflated demand = inflated price. Trying to ensure that every family in America gets a college education, which you JUST ADVOCATED,  inflates the demand. You can’t complain about inflated prices in one sentence and then propose inflating the demand in the next! Price controls never work, and trying to ensure that everybody can afford something doesn’t either. Your attitude towards education is precisely the attitude that caused the 2008 crash. For decades, politicians said “Owning your own home can’t be a luxury – it’s an imperative that every American should be able to afford a house.” So they created Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for that very purpose: to facilitate and encourage more widespread lending to more middle-class Americans to raise home ownership rates beyond what the market was allowing. With more people getting money from government-created programs to buy a house, more people tried to buy houses, and housing prices skyrocketed. The Fed went along and printed off more and more money to inflate the housing bubble. When it all came crashing down, they stood around wondering why people couldn’t afford their enormous houses anymore, and then pointed the finger at banks for trying to make a profit in the distorted economic conditions they created. The same will happen with college if we view it as an economic right which everybody must be granted access to. The prices won’t stop rising until the government quits inflating them.

“Let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: The fact that they aren’t yet American citizens. Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation. Others came more recently, to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else. That doesn’t make sense.” – Only a liberal can use “facing a challenge” as a euphemism for running from the law. We can disagree about what those laws ought to be, but it should be common sense that once laws are in place, we need to enforce them! Let’s substitute another type of criminal fugitive into this exact same paragraph to see how it would read: ‘Let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: they’re shoplifters. Many have been shoplifting since they were small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of arrest and imprisonment. Others began shoplifting more recently, to pay for an education in business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them to jail. That doesn’t make sense.’ And don’t tell me that shoplifting isn’t a fair analogy. Illegal immigrants drive on the roads we pay for, receive the education and healthcare benefits we pay for and sometimes even the welfare we pay for, all while paying none of the federal taxes that fund those things. They illegally take our shit without paying for it. That is stealing, whether you’re black, white, brown, yellow, or purple with green polka dots. That many of them are talented and hardworking is completely irrelevant.

“I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That’s why my Administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office. The opponents of action are out of excuses. We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now.  But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, and defend this country. Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away.” – By” opponents of action”, he means opponents of what he wants to do. By “a comprehensive plan”, he means a plan he supports. And by “let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people…”, he means let’s all just agree to what he wants to do. This has been the trademark rhetoric of everything Obama’s proposed since Republicans took over the house, especially since he introduced his failed relief program this September. He accuses anyone who dares to disagree with him of being an obstructionist! This strategy will continue throughout the campaign. In one of the 2008 debates, John McCain said “It’s hard to reach across the aisle when you’re so far to the left.” He hit the nail on the head. President Obama has been the worst compromiser I can remember in the White House. That’s not a bad thing! I’m glad, actually, because I don’t trust Republicans to pursue the right types of compromise. It’s perfectly fine to be unwilling to bend your beliefs, but it’s not perfectly fine to then accuse your opponents of being unwilling to bend their beliefs. And if that means you don’t get your way, it’s not called obstructionism; it’s called a system of checks and balances.

“You see, an economy built to last is one where we encourage the talent and ingenuity of every person in this country. That means women should earn equal pay for equal work. It means we should support everyone who’s willing to work; and every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.” – An economy built to last is one in which we don’t alter the structure of the economy to try to meet short term goals, but set a basic framework and let people do the rest on their own. It’s one in which we let basic market forces self-correct for anomalies instead of seeking a quick fix with far reaching, unforeseeable consequences. And it’s one in which we recognize that people must be able to work on whatever terms are in both of their bests interests, rather than on whatever terms the federal government deems fair.

“After all, innovation is what America has always been about. Most new jobs are created in start-ups and small businesses. So let’s pass an agenda that helps them succeed. Tear down regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from getting the financing to grow. Expand tax relief to small businesses that are raising wages and creating good jobs. Both parties agree on these ideas. So put them in a bill, and get it on my desk this year.” – That’s because neither party is willing to recognize that WE’RE OUT OF MONEY, and therefore we can’t afford any more targeted tax cuts. And as tough as it is for his Keynesian mind to comprehend, continuing to try to drive up wages instead of letting them fall might have something to do with why unemployment has been over 8.5% for the last two years.

“Innovation also demands basic research. Today, the discoveries taking place in our federally-financed labs and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but leave healthy ones untouched. New lightweight vests for cops and soldiers that can stop any bullet. Don’t gut these investments in our budget. Don’t let other countries win the race for the future. Support the same kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet; to new American jobs and new American industries.” – More liberal bullshit. To quote Reagan, “Outside it’s legitimate function, government can do nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.” Research and innovation is not its legitimate function. I go to Johns Hopkins Universty, a totally private school that is one of the most innovative medical institutions in the world. My peers are working on incredible things right now, and in 20 years, the companies they start will create even more incredible things and distribute them to people across the world. Unless they have to use that money to pay enormous taxes to fund your debt. We don’t have the money to keep borrowing from future innovators, cutting into my generations’ budget, to help you get elected by appeasing public university school boards. You can’t win the race for the future by saddling the future with mountains of debt.

“Nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my Administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources. Right now, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years. That’s right – eight years. Not only that – last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past sixteen years. But with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough. This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy – a strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.” – If that’s true – and I believe it is – markets will guide us to that strategy more efficiently than legislation ever could.

“We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly one hundred years, and my Administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk. The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy. And by the way, it was public research dollars, over the course of thirty years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock – reminding us that Government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground.” – And by the way, all your liberal friends love to blast that same technology for inefficiency and for polluting the water supply. Watch Gaslands, and then brag about how great government technology is. Maybe if you’d taxed less and spent less and left the innovation to private companies with a profit incentive to get environmentalist lawsuits off their back, instead of bureaucrats with a fixed salary who can’t be fired, we’d have solved all those problems long before people’s faucets started exploding. Or, maybe those entrepreneurs would have found natural gas too expensive or risky, and would have moved their investment dollars into a more cost efficient, accessible, and environmentally friendly technology. They can shift their own money around to best position themselves for these developments and discoveries, and they can do it much more quickly and specifically than Congress can through cumbersome and belated legislation.

“What’s true for natural gas is true for clean energy. In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries. Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled. And thousands of Americans have jobs because of it. When Bryan Ritterby was laid off from his job making furniture, he said he worried that at 55, no one would give him a second chance. But he found work at Energetx, a wind turbine manufacturer in Michigan. Before the recession, the factory only made luxury yachts. Today, it’s hiring workers like Bryan, who said, “I’m proud to be working in the industry of the future. Our experience with shale gas shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don’t always come right away. Some technologies don’t pan out; some companies fail. But I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy. I will not walk away from workers like Bryan. I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here.” – It is in no way ceding the battle to cut this from the budget; it’s merely a matter of who fights the battle. Will these industries be better developed by private investment, or public investment? Cough cough Solyndra cough cough…

“We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough. It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising.  Pass clean energy tax credits and create these jobs.” – Great about the first part, let’s end those subsidies. Not so great about the second part. What’s wrong about the government subsidizing oil isn’t that they picked the wrong industry to help succeed, but that they tried to pick one industry to succeed over others in the first place.

“We can also spur energy innovation with new incentives. The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change. But there’s no reason why Congress shouldn’t at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation. So far, you haven’t acted. Well tonight, I will. I’m directing my Administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power three million homes.” – This is good, but it’s not something to cite as an accomplishment of government. It’s fixing a problem that government created by owning so many millions of acres of otherwise usable land in the first place! He’s not gifting the people something they didn’t have already, he’s merely ending the practice of banning the use of what they had. But I’m being nitpicky; good job, Barack.

“And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history – with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.” – But if we weren’t fighting so many wars, the Navy wouldn’t need so much energy in the first place, the demand would go down, and the price of energy for useful things like running homes would go down. I don’t much care which type of energy they choose to piss away our money on, I’d rather just keep more of my money thanks.

“Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. So here’s another proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings. Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, and more jobs for construction workers who need them. Send me a bill that creates these jobs.” – More of the ‘send me a bill that does everything I want to do’ logic. And he wonders why it doesn’t get done.

“Building this new energy future should be just one part of a broader agenda to repair America’s infrastructure. So much of America needs to be rebuilt. We’ve got crumbling roads and bridges. A power grid that wastes too much energy. An incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world.” – And where’s all this money coming from, Barack?

“During the Great Depression, America built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. After World War II, we connected our States with a system of highways. Democratic and Republican administrations invested in great projects that benefited everybody, from the workers who built them to the businesses that still use them today.” – Yeah, everybody except the taxpayers. And when they lowered taxes anyway, everyone one except the future generations who got stuck with the tab. Meanwhile, I’ve never travelled on the Golden Gate bridge, and neither did my parents or grandparents. But I will have to pay for it and other programs like it. Please do tell me how I won from that.

“In the next few weeks, I will sign an Executive Order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects. But you need to fund these projects. Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home.” – HE DID IT! HE MENTIONED THE DEBT! The first time in this entire speech, rambling on for 90 minutes about all the new toys he wants to buy and all the tax cuts he wants to extend and he says finally throws in nine words about the country’s biggest problem into a sentence about a different topic. His proposal? ALLOW half of the money that's no longer being spent on war to NOT be spent on something else. How generous.

“There’s never been a better time to build, especially since the construction industry was one of the hardest-hit when the housing bubble burst. Of course, construction workers weren’t the only ones hurt. So were millions of innocent Americans who’ve seen their home values decline. And while Government can’t fix the problem on its own, responsible homeowners shouldn’t have to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief. That’s why I’m sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low interest rates. No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks. A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won’t add to the deficit, and will give banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust. Let’s never forget: Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a Government and a financial system that do the same. It’s time to apply the same rules from top to bottom: No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts. An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody.” – Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. Rewind. Play that again. “No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts.” … Those three things could be a summary of your entire presidency! They could be a summary of this entire speech! You literally JUST BRAGGED about how you rescued the auto industry with bailouts. You literally JUST ADVOCATED giving handouts like subsidies and tax breaks to clean energy companies. You JUST PROMISED to give the same handouts to companies that move workers here from other countries. You’ve also given out handouts to big healthcare companies through the individual mandate, to car companies through Cash for Clunkers, plus to unions and tons of other interest groups. This is the definition of doublespeak.

“We’ve all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them, and buyers who knew they couldn’t afford them. That’s why we need smart regulations to prevent irresponsible behavior. Rules to prevent financial fraud, or toxic dumping, or faulty medical devices, don’t destroy the free market. They make the free market work better.” – I’m all for rules that prevent fraud. Fraud is lying and an infringement against property rights. But that’s not a regulation. For instance, if I offer you a bottle of beer for two dollars, and you accept and pay me, and I hand you a bottle of Pepsi, that’s illegal. That’s theft. You can make laws about what certain words mean when transactions happen so that people don’t get lied to. As it relates to lending, you can say “if you want to market your bank as a safe place to put your money, you can’t have less than X amount held in reserve”, etc. What you can’t do is ban certain amounts of risk as too risky, even if your truthful to investors about how risky it is. Regarding energy efficiency, I can’t sell you a lightbulb saying that it costs 10 cents an hour to run if it really costs 20 cents an hour. The government can make “truth in advertising” laws preventing me from lying about the specifications of my product. But it can’t ban me from selling the 20 cent per hour bulb if I advertise what it is honestly, no matter how unwise or inefficient legislators feel that transaction is. It’s none of their business, and unfortunately that’s what most government regulations do: they mind your own business.

“There is no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly. In fact, I’ve approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his. I’ve ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don’t make sense. We’ve already announced over 500 reforms, and just a fraction of them will save business and citizens more than $10 billion over the next five years. We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill – because milk was somehow classified as an oil. With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk.  
I’m confident a farmer can contain a milk spill without a federal agency looking over his shoulder. But I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf two years ago. I will not back down from protecting our kids from mercury pollution, or making sure that our food is safe and our water is clean.” – Translation: you will not stop telling people what they can or can’t eat or drink, whether they know the risks of eating it and drinking it or not.

“I will not go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women differently from men.” – Translation: you will not stop preventing people from saving money by buying less comprehensive plans than what you feel is wise for them to buy.

“And I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules. The new rules we passed restore what should be any financial system’s core purpose: Getting funding to entrepreneurs with the best ideas, and getting loans to responsible families who want to buy a home, start a business, or send a kid to college.
So if you’re a big bank or financial institution, you are no longer allowed to make risky bets with your customers’ deposits. You’re required to write out a “living will” that details exactly how you’ll pay the bills if you fail – because the rest of us aren’t bailing you out ever again. And if you’re a mortgage lender or a payday lender or a credit card company, the days of signing people up for products they can’t afford with confusing forms and deceptive practices are over. Today, American consumers finally have a watchdog in Richard Cordray with one job: To look out for them.” – Translation: If you’re too big to fail, we’re gonna make you pinky promise that you won’t fail, because we swear we won’t bail you out again if you do. Only we mean it this time. Really. No joke, we’re very serious. Stop chuckling…

“We will also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people’s investments. Some financial firms violate major anti-fraud laws because there’s no real penalty for being a repeat offender. That’s bad for consumers, and it’s bad for the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing. So pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count.” – All in favor of this. White collar crime is very bad and should be punished more harshly.

“And tonight, I am asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans. A return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help us protect our people and our economy.” – Remember that whole “American Promise vs. America Dream” rant I went on a while back? He did it again. Where the hell did he get the idea that “shared responsibility” is a traditional American value? Personal responsibility is an American value. Individualism is an American value. Shared legal and economic responsibility is a communist value. Barack Obama is not a communist, but his rhetoric is evidence that he probably spent more time in college reading Marx than he did reading Madison.

“But it should also guide us as we look to pay down our debt and invest in our future.
Right now, our most immediate priority is stopping a tax hike on 160 million working Americans while the recovery is still fragile. People cannot afford losing $40 out of each paycheck this year. There are plenty of ways to get this done. So let’s agree right here, right now: No side issues. No drama. Pass the payroll tax cut without delay.” – Lmao. This is literally what he just said: “I want to pass this tax cut. Some of you don’t want to pass this tax cut. So let’s agree right here, right now: no side issues, no drama. Pass this tax cut without delay.” Do what I want, and do it NOW!!!

“When it comes to the deficit, we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings. But we need to do more, and that means making choices. Right now, we’re poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else – like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans? Because if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do both.” – Actually, if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do either. At least now he’s talking about the right topic. But what he doesn’t tell you is that Warren Buffet’s secretary makes somewhere between $200,000 and $500,000 a year. What he doesn’t tell you is that our “investments” in education and medical research at the federal level are unconstitutional. And what he doesn’t tell you is that even if we close all those loopholes, and end all the tax exemptions (even the one’s he advocated creating tonight), and end all the tax cuts (even the payroll tax cut he JUST FINISHED PROPOSING), we’d still be trillions a trillions of dollars in debt. Revenue can be tinkered with to make it more fair and to make its collection more efficient, but at the end of the day we do not have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. Until the president and other liberals admit that, the debt and deficit will continue to grow.

“The American people know what the right choice is. So do I. As I told the Speaker this summer, I’m prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors. But in return, we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of Members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes.” – There’s that term again. Commence hair being pulled out. You can write a check to the treasury whenever you damn well please. Until such time, make taxes low and flat, and stop imposing your morality on others. You don’t like it when Mr. Santorum does it, so you stop doing it too.

“Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes. And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right: Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires. In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up. You’re the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages. You’re the ones who need relief. Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.” – No, this is good common sense:

“We don’t begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich. It’s because they understand that when I get tax breaks I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference – like a senior on a fixed income; or a student trying to get through school; or a family trying to make ends meet. That’s not right. Americans know it’s not right. They know that this generation’s success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to their country’s future, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility. That’s how we’ll reduce our deficit. That’s an America built to last.” – Nobody has to make up any difference if you don’t keep spending on unconstitutional programs. But you do anyway, spend more than you have and then blame rich people for not funding them. That’s not right. Americans know it’s not right. Oh, and then he repeats that shared responsibility crap from before for good measure.

“I recognize that people watching tonight have differing views about taxes and debt; energy and health care. But no matter what party they belong to, I bet most Americans are thinking the same thing right now: Nothing will get done this year, or next year, or maybe even the year after that, because Washington is broken. Can you blame them for feeling a little cynical?” – Haha that’s not a cynical belief, that’s a hopeful belief! If you told me that nothing will get done in Washington this year, or next year, or maybe even the year after that, I’d jump for joy. Because I have zero faith that anything they do end up doing will be good. Unless Ron Paul wins the election, of course…

“The greatest blow to confidence in our economy last year didn’t come from events beyond our control. It came from a debate in Washington over whether the United States would pay its bills or not. Who benefited from that fiasco? I’ve talked tonight about the deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street. But the divide between this city and the rest of the country is at least as bad – and it seems to get worse every year. Some of this has to do with the corrosive influence of money in politics. So together, let’s take some steps to fix that. Send me a bill that bans insider trading by Members of Congress, and I will sign it tomorrow. Let’s limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they impact.” – No, let’s limit their impact.

“Let’s make sure people who bundle campaign contributions for Congress can’t lobby Congress, and vice versa – an idea that has bipartisan support, at least outside of Washington. Some of what’s broken has to do with the way Congress does its business these days. A simple majority is no longer enough to get anything – even routine business – passed through the Senate.” – Good! A simple majority was never intended to be enough to get things done. A simple majority can be 51%, and the framers wanted much more than that to ensure the passage of legislation. That’s why they created the system of checks and balances. That’s why the filibuster was instituted. I know it’s frustrating to not be able to get your way, but that’s not an excuse to erase inconvenient barriers to getting your way.

“Neither party has been blameless in these tactics. Now both parties should put an end to it. For starters, I ask the Senate to pass a rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up or down vote within 90 days. The executive branch also needs to change. Too often, it’s inefficient, outdated and remote. That’s why I’ve asked this Congress to grant me the authority to consolidate the federal bureaucracy so that our Government is leaner, quicker, and more responsive to the needs of the American people.” – What a surprise, you’ve asked Congress to help you fix the problem by giving you more power. I support what you intend to do with that power, but I oppose you getting that power because once you have it, future presidents will abuse it.

“Finally, none of these reforms can happen unless we also lower the temperature in this town. We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction; that politics is about clinging to rigid ideologies instead of building consensus around common sense ideas.” – Clinging to rigid ideologies. Huh. That sounds like a synonym for being ideologically consistent. A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. I stand for something, and I know exactly what I stand for, and I won’t stop fighting for what I stand for. So does Ron Paul. That’s more than almost anybody in Washington can say. And that is what Washington is broken. Not because there’s gridlock, because there’s always been gridlock. Not because the parties are at each other’s throats, because they’ve always been at each other’s throats. Go read the advertisements between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in the 1796 and 1800 elections and tell me the temperature in Washington is hot now. They make Newt Gingrich look like a cuddly teddy-bear. No, Washington is broken because nobody sticks with their ideologies long enough; rather, they propose whatever policies will help them get elected. The root word of ideology is idea. An ideology is merely a collection of ideas. When you tell us to reject rigid ideologies in favor of common sense ideas, you’re using doublespeak again. The whole trouble is that nobody can agree about what ideas are “rigid” and what ideas are “common sense”. What you’re really telling us to reject the ideas YOU think are bad in favor of the ideas YOU think are good. That’s certainly not going to end gridlock or fix Washington.

I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more. That’s why my education reform offers more competition, and more control for schools and States. That’s why we’re getting rid of regulations that don’t work. That’s why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a Government program. 
On the other hand, even my Republican friends who complain the most about Government spending have supported federally-financed roads, and clean energy projects, and federal offices for the folks back home.” – Not Ron Paul! Although he’s probably not your friend haha.

“The point is, we should all want a smarter, more effective Government. And while we may not be able to bridge our biggest philosophical differences this year, we can make real progress. With or without this Congress, I will keep taking actions that help the economy grow. But I can do a whole lot more with your help. Because when we act together, there is nothing the United States of America can’t achieve.” – Sniff. Pass the tissues.

“That is the lesson we’ve learned from our actions abroad over the last few years.
Ending the Iraq war has allowed us to strike decisive blows against our enemies. From Pakistan to Yemen, the al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can’t escape the reach of the United States of America. From this position of strength, we’ve begun to wind down the war in Afghanistan. Ten thousand of our troops have come home. Twenty-three thousand more will leave by the end of this summer. This transition to Afghan lead will continue, and we will build an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, so that it is never again a source of attacks against America. As the tide of war recedes, a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunis to Cairo; from Sana’a to Tripoli. A year ago, Qadhafi was one of the world’s longest-serving dictators – a murderer with American blood on his hands. Today, he is gone. And in Syria, I have no doubt that the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change can’t be reversed, and that human dignity can’t be denied.”

“How this incredible transformation will end remains uncertain. But we have a huge stake in the outcome. And while it is ultimately up to the people of the region to decide their fate, we will advocate for those values that have served our own country so well. We will stand against violence and intimidation. We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings – men and women; Christians, Muslims, and Jews. We will support policies that lead to strong and stable democracies and open markets, because tyranny is no match for liberty.” – Barack Obama, freedom crusader. Now go do your shared responsibility, pay your fair share, and buy my health insurance.

“And we will safeguard America’s own security against those who threaten our citizens, our friends, and our interests. Look at Iran. Through the power of our diplomacy, a world that was once divided about how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program now stands as one. The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent. Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.” – Gulp. You sound like Rick Santorum.

“The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe. Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever. Our ties to the Americas are deeper. Our iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history. We’ve made it clear that America is a Pacific power, and a new beginning in Burma has lit a new hope. From the coalitions we’ve built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we’ve led against hunger and disease; from the blows we’ve dealt to our enemies; to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back. Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about. That’s not the message we get from leaders around the world, all of whom are eager to work with us. That’s not how people feel from Tokyo to Berlin; from Cape Town to Rio; where opinions of America are higher than they’ve been in years. Yes, the world is changing; no, we can’t control every event. But America remains the one indispensable nation in world affairs – and as long as I’m President, I intend to keep it that way.” – To be fair, I prefer your foreign policy to that of any Republican whose last name isn’t Paul. Good paragraph here.

“That’s why, working with our military leaders, I have proposed a new defense strategy that ensures we maintain the finest military in the world, while saving nearly half a trillion dollars in our budget. To stay one step ahead of our adversaries, I have already sent this Congress legislation that will secure our country from the growing danger of cyber-threats.” – Good first step. Now cut more.

“Above all, our freedom endures because of the men and women in uniform who defend it. As they come home, we must serve them as well as they served us. That includes giving them the care and benefits they have earned – which is why we’ve increased annual VA spending every year I’ve been President. And it means enlisting our veterans in the work of rebuilding our Nation. With the bipartisan support of this Congress, we are providing new tax credits to companies that hire vets. Michelle and Jill Biden have worked with American businesses to secure a pledge of 135,000 jobs for veterans and their families. And tonight, I’m proposing a Veterans Job Corps that will help our communities hire veterans as cops and firefighters, so that America is as strong as those who defend her.” – By my count that’s at least 4 proposed targeted tax cuts in this speech alone. What happened to “no more handouts…”?

Which brings me back to where I began. Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one Nation, leaving no one behind. One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden. On it are each of their names. Some may be Democrats. Some may be Republicans. But that doesn’t matter. Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gates – a man who was George Bush’s defense secretary; and Hillary Clinton, a woman who ran against me for president. All that mattered that day was the mission. No one thought about politics. No one thought about themselves. One of the young men involved in the raid later told me that he didn’t deserve credit for the mission. It only succeeded, he said, because every single member of that unit did their job – the pilot who landed the helicopter that spun out of control; the translator who kept others from entering the compound; the troops who separated the women and children from the fight; the SEALs who charged up the stairs. More than that, the mission only succeeded because every member of that unit trusted each other – because you can’t charge up those stairs, into darkness and danger, unless you know that there’s someone behind you, watching your back.” – See my breakdown of the flaws in this analogy at the beginning of the speech.

“So it is with America. Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those fifty stars and those thirteen stripes. No one built this country on their own. This Nation is great because we built it together. This Nation is great because we worked as a team. This Nation is great because we get each other’s backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we’re joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.” – Ho-ah to that.

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