It does not seem possible that an entire year has already passed since President Obama took the reins of an Out of Control America.
And, so you might ask… are we better today than we were just one short year ago.
The answer for me is yes… and no.
And even though Right Wing Pundits want to throw stones at the current administration for the problems that still exist today, hoping against hope that we will all believe that we have just recently arrived at this disaster! They appear ostrich-like in their view of the out of control and downward spiraling economy as Bush led the charge, not even attempting to halt it in its early and rapidly growing stages. Yes, according to them, the problems we have as a nation today are somehow all Mr. Obama’s fault. However, as President Obama so aptly pointed out last night, he did indeed inherit a colossal disaster from the previous administration.
It astounds me that it only took 8 short years for Bush to take the $200 and some billion dollar surplus left to him by President Clinton and turn it into a deficit that is strangling the nation with the staggering number of over $1 trillion dollars which continues to grow at a far too rapid a pace! My how time flies when you are having fun.
So last night, President Obama shared with us his take on the State of our Union and he did so openly and honestly. Sharing things that were probably not any easier to say than they were to hear, but necessary none the less.
I, for one, do appreciate the fact that Mr. Obama is not trying to win any popularity contests right now. This is not the time to try and be popular, but rather being prudent and realistic. Making decisions that are going to bring us out of where we are with record numbers of unemployed. Or, if you are lucky enough to have a job, you are probably working much harder and earning a lot less. So whether you are in the ranks of the unemployed or under-employed, you understand the need for some intervention to correct the problem. Therefore, I truly respected President Obama making jobs a major focus of his address. And, his ideas on how to do that made lots of sense, at least to me. We do need to work on our trade imbalance, which will definitely foster job growth here. It also makes sense to focus on being a cleaner (and greener) nation. Leaders, not followers!
It also resonated deeply within me when he spoke to Wall Street (and big banks) being rewarded for their bad behavior and that they should have to pay for the benefits they got with their bailout via a fee charged to the biggest banks. I am sure there will be much moaning and complaining about that, but as Mr. Obama said, ” if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need.” And, they can more than afford it, in my not so humble opinion! They allowed greed to overtake their reason which propelled us on the path we are on, that and the falsehood that it somehow is “the American dream” to own your own home. Nice in theory but not very realistic in practice, as is evidenced by the fallout from the lending debacle that the banking industry created.
I, likewise, was glad to hear the President continue to raise the banner of Health Care Reform for Americans. He did so with a persistent determination that avoided the political grandstanding that has happened in both parties, and his call for Congress to “not walk away” from reform was music to my ears! Partisan politics be damned, the fact of the matter is that uninsured and under-insured Americans are costing all of us money and insurance companies are the ones getting rich, and quickly, off the premiums we pay, not to mention how they are crippling the business owner with the lions share that they pay. Think how many more people businesses could employ if they were not choked by the insurance benefits they offer their employees. It boggles my mind, to be sure. I truly hope that Congress can put their differences aside and work together with the President, unified, to improve health care for all Americans.
And, while I chuckled at his joke regarding working on being fiscally responsible beginning in 2011, I disagree that we can continue on as we are. I don’t know about you, but the “we still have checks, what do you mean we don’t have any money” theory just does not work for me. I think we need to start today taking a hard look at the budget and making some reasonable cuts in spending. It won’t be easy, but sometimes doing the right thing is the most difficult, and I would welcome your leadership in this difficult yet necessary endeavor Mr. President!
Being unified may not be popular, but it is the right thing to do. We began this journey together and as we continue together as a nation, I realize that the problems we face will not be miraculously fixed overnight. However, I believe wholeheartedly that the one leading us is heading in the right direction. He extended an invitation to all of us last night, now it is up to us to join him in the daunting journey. And, wouldn’t it be nice if we just did it because it was the right thing to do?
Finally, in case you somehow missed President Obama’s address last night, you can find the complete text here.