Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of the Union – 1st American Children Investment Must be They Don’t Inherit a Bankrupt Country

Photo Credit - Flickr
If you are out of work or woefully underemployed today, you were not excited by the State of the Union speech or impressed by President Obama’s future focus in it. If you are concerned about the big government spending and the now record deficit of $1.5T, you weren’t impressed either.

President Obama did not focus on what the majority of Americans care about most as we enter 2011 – immediate jobs and urgent spending cuts.

No matter how much one may like the president as a person, or think he has a wonderful family, or even believe he is trying his best; the SOTU speech was a stunning display of how out of touch with the reality of every day Americans he really is.

President Obama’s speech focus reflected he really doesn’t get it. He really does live in the DC bubble. American political concentration must be on jobs today and tomorrow – not tomorrow only. The jobs focus needs to be immediate and for adults that have no job prospects today, not only on what jobs children will have in 20 years.

Having a SOTU speech that focused on the future education of those now in elementary school and the Dream Act as corner stones in rebuilding America’s future seemed to blatantly ignore and be a replacement for the extreme need to focus on rebuilding the lives of unemployed Americans today.

The state of the economy for most Americans is things are not getting better in their every day lives. The unemployed still can not find jobs, even jobs well below what they lost months ago. Housing prices are starting downward again with foreclosures in 2011 estimated to be at the same record levels of 2010 if not higher. Prolonged unemployment and more foreclosures go hand in hand in reality.

The wear and tear on Americans, including unemployed professionals with a college degree, is showing with extreme increases, if not records are being set, in the number of foreclosures, short sales, settlements, charged off credit card accounts, and bankruptcies in 2008-2010.

One in eight Americans is now on food stamps. One in seven is now living in poverty. This includes formerly employed professionals educated at the level President Obama espouses for future generations.

Many lament the downfalls of the US being a youth focused culture in advertising and entertainment. Is job creation now only going to be focused on the youth also?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics November 2010 Employment Situation report the unemployment rate go up to 9.8%. Increased joblessness had set a record remaining at 9.5% or higher for 16 consecutive months. The current unemployment rate is not much improved at 9.4%. At 43%, almost half of the long-term unemployed are 45-years and older.

It was good to see the president acknowledge cutting the corporate tax rate is needed to ensure the US is competitive in a global market in job creation. At 35%, the US has the second highest tax rate in the world. There was also an acknowledgment that government over regulation is an issue in creating an environment of private sector job creation. He must walk the talk.

The president’s future focus on jobs being in clean energy, high speed rail, health research, and education is all too far down the road to affect the lives of unemployed Americans today. His talk of investment and innovation in America in these areas also look to be more government spending is the answer in reality.

Investment and innovation in America must come from the private sector without government subsidies and spending money the US simply does not have now without continued borrowing, digitally printing, raising taxes, or stealing from future generations.

Everyone knows “government investment” means “government spending”. Americans are innovators without government help or direction. We always will be if allowed and trusted to be so. Isn’t the theft of intellectual property by other countries, mainly China, a big problem for America’s private sector companies?

Regretfully, President Obama’s SOTU speech was in many ways reflective of protecting big government, big spending, big waste, big duplicity, and big bureaucracy. To suggest a “freezing” of current levels of spending for 5 years as reflecting the fiscal discipline Americans want to see is not moving to the center politically or listening effectively to those governed by consent.

Freezing the current spending at a level that increased government agencies 25% in the first two years of being in office is not President Obama realistically owning up to the current budget crisis. In the 2010 SOTU address Obama promised a 3 year spending freeze that did not come to pass. With all the talk in the 2011 SOTU of new investments, why would anyone believe a 5 year spending freeze will happen either?

Realistically the new entitlements in Obamacare promise to increase spending by billions. What other government programs will be decreased as an offset to ensure a 5 year spending freeze?

Investment or spending in education has doubled over the last 30 years with scores going down. Will the US ever admit spending too little on education is not the problem? Will the president ever really take on the stranglehold of teacher’s unions to reward good teachers and oust bad ones? If education spending is increased, again, what other government programs will be decreased as an offset to ensure a 5 year spending freeze?

The president noted in his speech kids must be taught discipline and work ethic. He didn’t note this could begin with parental role models and welfare reform. As much as he is taking a page out of Former President Bill Clinton’s political playbook of moving to the center, he is in reality no Bill Clinton.

The president offered a note on government bureaucratic duplicity with the example of there being 12 different agencies dealing with exports and 5 different agencies dealing with housing. Did he lay out a plan specifically to cut any of these agencies reducing government spending in this way?

Did President Obama acknowledge Obamacare comes with increasing the IRS by thousands of agents to enforce the regulation and mandates? Did he note Obamacare comes with creating a huge new bureaucracy with billions in increased administrative government spending? This makes the 12 export agencies and 5 housing agencies he did mention look like fiscal discipline in comparison.

Indicators of inflation are here today with rising prices at the gas pumps and grocery stores. The need to increase the debt ceiling to continue government levels without significant spending cuts was ignored in the SOTU speech.

Yes, Mr. President, the American children are America’s future. Meaningful and effective federal government must be willing to first invest in American children by not having them inherit a bankrupt country. The second investment in them should be their parents have employment and economic stability.

President Obama likes the comparison of himself to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Perhaps FDR’s “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” could be applied to immediate job creation and urgent spending cuts in 2011. The future of America’s children really depend on this more than anything else.

Follow Brenda Krueger Huffman on Twitter and join her on Facebook.

No comments:

Post a Comment