Note to readers of this blog – This post is being published now instead of this Wednesday due to the timing of Mr. Obama’s State of the Union Address. There will not likely be a regular Wednesday post.
I have taken it upon myself to write your State of the Union Address for you. This is my small contribution to reducing the National Debt. If you will just give this address (and follow up on it) it will save hours of costly polling and speech drafting. You may be able to lay off a few of your speechwriters and save thousands of taxpayer dollars.
No need to thank me. I did it with pleasure. I just hope you are prepared for the surge in popularity you will receive from giving this speech and following through with its promises.
Here it is:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I stand before you tonight, I am humbled by the thought of the millions of people who live and work in this wonderful country of ours. I am humbled that they are all affected by the actions taken by us as your government officials. We have made some mistakes that have affected the people of this great land in a negative way. Tonight as we discuss the state of our union, I want you to know that, as your President, I am aware that not everything is as it should be. Our country is not as strong as it could be, but, I want you to never forget that America is now and will continue to be the greatest nation on the face of the earth.
I want to get right to the heart of the matter. Last week, my Administration watched as the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts elected a new Senator. They chose a Republican Senator for the first time since I have been of voting age. With that choice, they told us a number of things about the direction my Administration has been steering our country. I want, this evening, to list many of those things that we heard from Massachusetts and then I want to tell you what we plan to do. Above all, I want each of you to know that we are now listening to you. We intend to make this government more responsive to the needs and wishes of you, the governed. It has not gone unnoticed in this Administration that the people of Massachusetts were the ones who some two and a half centuries ago rebelled against a distant government that taxed them without listening to their wants and needs.
Here is a listing of some of the key lessons that we have learned. There are others, of course, but, I want to give you details on these tonight.
We have taken health care reform and turned it into a gravy train for political paybacks, losing sight of the problems we had hoped to solve. We have not taken seriously the issue of job losses and new job creation. We have not taken seriously the impact of illegal aliens on our workforce and national resources. We have not taken seriously the hostile threat of militant Islam to our country and its people. We have not been serious about money. We believed we could spend our way out of a recession and then were so drunk with power we just kept on spending. We have tried to convince ourselves that we are both creating massive climate change and that we can reverse it. We have decided that critical energy issues should take a backseat to politics. Most of all, we have acted arrogantly. We give every impression that we are smarter than the people we serve. We feel that we know better what is good for the people of this great country than they know themselves. We are out of touch with the reality of the lives of most of our citizens. That will stop and we will begin, tonight, to act like elected leaders in a Democracy instead of Imperial Lords in a Feudal System.
The first thing that we learned from the vote in Massachusetts is that the direction of the Health Care debate is wrong. On the surface, the vote last Tuesday told us that the people wanted us to slow down, if not stop the health care bills now working their way through the halls of Congress. Voters were rightfully dismayed at the cost of the many provisions of the bills that had little to do with health care and a lot to do with the business of politics. It was wrong of me and my Administration to push for an exception for workers covered by collective bargaining units. By exempting our friends in Unionized Labor from certain health care costs for many years, we in effect were adding another $60 Billion dollars in cost to the rest of the country’s taxpayers. This was unfair and unwise. It was intended to sell our plan to one large constituency but it would do so at great cost to the nation as a whole. It was wrong and for this I apologize. It was also wrong for Senate leadership to commit Millions of Dollars of taxpayer money just to ensure that certain Senators could be counted on to vote in favor of the bill. It was wrong for the House to force a bill to passage by threatening a great number of members with reprisals if they did not vote in favor of a bill that many knew would not serve their constituents.
I won the election a little over a year ago partially because I promised change from business as usual in Washington. I told you we would have a transparent government. I even told you on numerous occasions that we would tackle the health care issues in front of everyone. I said the debate would be held in the open, would be a bipartisan debate, and it would be broadcast by CSPAN. Well, as you know, the debate has not been in the open. It has not been bipartisan. It has not been broadcast on CSPAN. That is about to change. Today, I have asked both House and Senate leadership to hold no committee meeting regarding the health care debate unless it can be broadcast by CSPAN. I have also asked that they scrap the bills currently under consideration and start over. There is just too much in each of the current bills concerned with political leverage and not enough to do with solving health care issues. Since I do not have control of the Legislative Branch of our government, I cannot order the House and the Senate to do this. I did, however, suggest to both Mr. Reid and Mrs. Pelosi that I would be watching. I have told them I will veto any bill sent to me on Health Care that had not been crafted in a bipartisan manner and all in front of CSPAN’s cameras. I have also reconfirmed with CSPAN CEO Brian Lamb that his organization is prepared to provide unprecedented coverage of this debate. He has promised to direct all the assets at his command to bring this issue to the people like no other in history. It is now up to the Congress to see that this happens. Congress is under the watchful eyes of the country. I am confident that many who are now privileged to serve in Congress will find that if they keep doing business as usual in Washington, they will find themselves voted out of Congress this Fall.
The recession has affected almost everyone in our land, with the possible exception of the Political Elite. We here in Washington, and many in State Capitols, have been insulated from the real world. Since we have not felt the pain of the Recession, we have not acted with any urgency to solve the problems that have led to the downturn. Your government, from the Department of the Treasury to the Congress to my desk, has failed to act in a responsible manner with our money. We have forgotten that tax dollars come from your hard earned wages and profits. We have forgotten that taxes often kill a private job just to provide the funds to create a new public, government job. At some point, there will not be enough tax generating jobs in the private sector to provide for all the government jobs paid for by those taxes. Tomorrow, we will begin to get our house in order. I have today asked for the resignation of Mr. Timothy Geithner, our Secretary of the Treasury. Though I believe he has done a good job, I realize that appointing him to that position was a mistake. I have set a double standard by allowing a person who has failed to meet his tax obligations to be in charge of taxing all of you. It was my error and I apologize for it. In Mr. Geithner’s position, I will ask Congress to approve the nomination of Mr. Steven Forbes to be the Secretary of the Treasury. Mr. Forbes has a long and distinguished career in business. He has proven capable of running a large business at a profit. His views do not parallel mine in all areas. For this reason, we will have some of that bipartisan debate that you, the taxpaying public, have asked of us. I will be looking, with the new Secretary of the Treasury, very closely at Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac to see what we can do to make those organizations part of the solution rather than part of the problem. We will take a very close look at the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the bailouts of major banks and insurance companies and the control of General Motors. In short, we will be starting over and looking at our budget and our financial policies anew. Does this mean we will change everything? Of course not. It means we are now committed to looking at these things and how they effect our economy first and not so much how they effect us as politicians. Our actions in the future will be based, among other things, on the answer to the question, “What will be the effect of this action on the overall economy and jobs in the private sector?”
The presence of large numbers of illegal aliens in our country has put pressure on jobs, on public services, and on our infrastructure. We have laws that were written to allow for a foreign nationals to come to America to work and, if they choose, to eventually become citizens. By ignoring and selectively enforcing many of those laws, we are doing our citizens a disservice. I pledge today to take this issue to heart and will ask the INS and Border Patrol for recommendations as to how we can better enforce the laws that are now on the books. If I find that those laws are not compatible with today’s realities, I will suggest to Congress, that they make needed changes. I do not, however, want Congress to write new laws until we have shown what needs to be done to enforce the laws we have. This will not just apply to immigration law. I want Congress to enact no new laws until they have shown me that there is a need and that other outdated or conflicting laws have been stricken from the books.
Events of the past month have shown that we have some problems to solve regarding Homeland Security. To be frank, we have not been as serious about security as we should have been. We need to rethink many of the actions we have taken. Much of what we have done to date has been based on as yet unfulfilled diplomatic efforts. We have only managed to remove about 25% of the prisoners at Guantanamo. We cannot find other countries willing to take these detainees except those who want to execute them. We have chosen to try many of these people in our American Court System. According to the rules of the Geneva Convention, they should be tried as enemy combatants. Our failure to see this is reminiscent of the British trying to fight our irregular forces with century old firing lines. They only succeeded in making targets easier for our militiamen. They were fighting a new type of war with old ideas. We are doing the same today. We need to reevaluate what we are doing to secure our nation and make adjustments where needed. To do this, I have asked Janet Napolitano to step down as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. I nominated her for the position as a political calculation. I wanted a woman and I wanted someone from the southwest. She fit the political criteria, but, not necessarily the qualifications to run the Department. In her place, I will ask the Senate to approve my nomination of Al Clark, one of the founders of Xe Company to become Secretary of Homeland Security. Mr. Clark’s background and experience make him highly qualified to run the agency. We cannot and will not allow lapses like we have seen in the recent past put Americans in harms way.
We will, from today, reclassify those terrorists who threaten our country and its people as war combatants and treat them as such. The luxury of trials in our courts will be a thing of the past. Though many will not like it, I plan to keep Guantanamo open until such time as it is no longer needed to protect us from the dangerous enemy combatants housed there. Bringing these people to the Continental United States to bring them to trial will only present rich targets for thouse who would harm our nation and its people. Until I am shown a better way, we will use Guantanamo and military tribunals. We will not waste the valuable time and freedoms of our court system to try terrorists.
In our rush to ‘solve’ our recession, our Congress and my Administration have committed resources that we do not have. The result will mean large increases in our national debt, a debt that will have to be paid by our children and grandchildren. This must change. I have asked the Office of Management and Budget to prepare a list of potential cost savings that are possible within the current budget cycle and a similar list for the budgets for the next three years. I will ask Congress to act on those cuts which can be made within the law. We will cut back our spending and learn to live within our means. Many of our critics have stated that the Recovery Act (which was passed by Congress early last year and which I signed), spent more money on things that would create political power for incumbents than it spent on things that would reverse the Recession. I have ignored these critics and should not have. I promise tonight to reject future legislation that is laden with money for special projects and “pork.’ I have made this promise to you before. I am ashamed that it was a hollow promise. I intend to correct that. I know that in three years you will hold me to account if I do not keep the promise this time.
While my Administration has been absorbed with health care, we have neglected the key issue of energy independence and have bought into the non-scientific side of the Global Warming issue. Let me explain. I personally believe in man caused Global Climate Change. I know there are many who do not. Though I would point to much scientific knowledge that supports my position, I know my critics can do much the same thing. To make the decisions I had planned to make, like Cap and Trade legislation, without considering the cost to the nation’s economy and the potential loss of jobs is wrong. I think that Climate Change is an opportunity for us to do the things we can to protect our environment. I do not think it should be an excuse for radical actions that could destroy our economy while other major nations do little or nothing to change their ways. We will provide incentives for energy saving technologies and alternative energy solutions. We will do this to a level far beyond what has been seen before. I will ask Congress and will recommend to the States that they do what they can to make it easier for more of our commerce to be local. We will help foster the slow food movement. This alone will save millions of gallons of transportation fuel by giving opportunities for local producers to sell locally. There is a farmer, not too far from here, in Virginia who has grown and attempted to sell food locally for 40 years. At every turn, he has been thwarted or had costs multiplied greatly by Federal and State regulations. He has written a book called something like “Everything I want to do is Illegal.” His frustration is felt by small growers, builders, manufacturers, miners and more. Often they are hindered by laws that have no recognition of life outside the Washington Beltway. This is not right. Our government programs and rules should be there to both assist and protect the producers in our society. Typical of the disconnect between Washington and the world outside the beltway is the USDA. The USDA administers a myriad of programs. Most of them were started to fill a need and were done with the best of intentions. Many of the programs are still good and worthwhile and serve important purposes. Many, however, have outlived their usefulness and should be discontinued. We will take a close look at each of the departments of our government and identify those areas where programs have outlived their usefulness. I will ask the Office of Management and Budget to prepare reports on each department. I promise to report back to you at next year’s State of the Union address to tell you what we have learned and what we intend to do about what we have learned.
Last but far from least I want to address Energy concerns. I am convinced and the science supports my belief that the world is running short of the inexpensive energy that has helped fuel our economy, petroleum. A combination of population growth and dropping production from established oil sites does not bode well for future supplies of oil meeting world needs. In the United States, we have been importing an ever-growing amount of our oil. Much of our own production has dwindled and new sources domestically have not been forthcoming. Among the reasons are the high cost to develop new finds and governmental roadblocks to development. The time is right for us to seriously explore alternatives to fuel oil for our transportation needs. We use petroleum based fuels for transportation because they are cheap compared to most alternatives and we have the infrastructure to distribute them. It will take a very large investment to change to fuels for which we have no distribution system. I will tomorrow propose to Congress a new Energy replacement tax on all petroleum based transportation fuels. I know it will not be popular but without it, we will not make our fleets more fuel efficient and we will not have the seed money for alternative fuels. I will insist that all funds raised by this new tax will be set aside and only available for transportation infrastructure and alternative fuel projects.
Our country and the world are now suffering from an economic recession. We are showing signs of coming out of the recession. I think that government can play an important part in stimulating our return to a strong economy. And, I don’t mean stimulus of the type we tried a year ago. I am talking about encouraging the creative and hardworking American People and then getting out of their way. Our government has to become a part of the solution, not the significant part of the problem that it has been.
I promise that my Administration will listen to the people. It will work with all members of Congress, not just those from my party. It will be open and do its work in the full view of the public. Any member of my Administration who uses his or her position for personal advantage or who conducts business in private will find that I have a very short fuse on such matters.
We were arrogant and self-absorbed. We didn’t need to listen to the people. We thought we knew better than you what was good for America. Well, we were wrong. We will now do our best to change and become the public servants that we planned to be when we originally sought your trust and your vote. We will listen. The Change we promised will be delivered and it starts with my Administration changing to become a servant of the people instead of the body served by the people.
I am confident that with your help we can make America an even better place to live. The state of our Union can again be great if we agree to work together. We will work at cutting unneeded expenses. We will work to balance the Budget. We will work to keep this country safe from all enemies, foreign and domestic. I give you my promise that my Administration will do its part or we will leave Washington. Now lets all get back to work and show the world what America can do.
My apologies for not taking more time to better draft this speech. It is not what I would like to have put on this page. I made the decision that it was better to get the general ideas out there ahead of Mr. Obama’s speech. I have no fears he will use this speech or any parts of it for that matter. I do, however, think he would do well to consider a few of the ideas and criticisms. I am also confident that if he continues to lead an Administration populated with arrogant people who are out of touch with the electorate, Mr. Obama and many of his friends will find themselves on the outside looking in after the 2012 elections. I sure would like some comments on this post. Do you agree or disagree with the ideas here?