29 January 2008

Comments on the State of the Union Speech '08

First, I must say that it is quite annoying to listen to a speech which is twice as long as it should be simply because folks are standing and cheering. The “sentence-sentence-cheer-sentence-stand and cheer” gets old and it leads me to think that, in all honesty, there isn’t a lot of substance in the speech. In fact, that’s probably closer to the truth than in past years.

The good parts of the speech centered on what Congress and the president have not accomplished, in particular, social security and immigration reform. Neither will be touched this year because of the election – God forbid something politically volatile gets accomplished in an election year – but at least President Bush said something about them.

A side note on immigration: anyone who thinks that Oklahoma’s tough stance on illegals will only “push them into the shadows” should think again. It is pushing them to other states. Hint, hint.

The bad was the stimulus package. I know I keep hitting this point, but there really is no reason why the federal government should shell out (or should I say shill?) billions to pump up an economy that is growing, albeit at a much slower rate than before. It amounts to buying quiet. Thomas Sowell has a good article on that subject today.

The ugly was President Bush’s dual veto pledge. It’s not that I disagree with him. Far from it. However, where was this tough rhetoric in, say, 2006? Where was this fiscal conservative attitude in the past seven years? As someone who voted for Bush, his performance on budget issues is one of the big reasons I’ll never trust a candidate who dons the mantle “compassionate conservative” again.

Ah, and one more ugly that must be mentioned: No Child Left Behind. Federal monitoring ends up in control of the entire public school system. It should be scrapped. And I find it counterintuitive that President Bush would simultaneously ask for a “strengthened” NCLB Act and Pell grant equivalents for kids to go to private K-12 schools so that they won’t be “trapped” in failing public schools. The reason for these contradictory stances is that because of the nature of the beast, there is no “one size fits all” solution to education, and the federal government would do best to realize that.

Come to think of it, there are probably lots of things that the federal government has no business interfering with. (Please excuse the preposition at the end of the previous sentence; it’s poetic license.)

1 comment:

chan said...

Agree with what you said. The thing that bothered me most is nowadays it's all about what new government program we need to implement or increase funding to. Never a word about programs that don't work, so hey, let's get rid of 'em. Starting with the Dept of Ed, but I think I'm preaching to the choir here.