DownsizeDC.org
February 2, 2006
Top Ten Highlights from the President’s State of the Union Speech...
By Jim Babka
10. We seek the end of evil/tyranny – While campaigning in 2000, then-Governor Bush said his favorite philosopher was Jesus Christ. Jesus said you will always have the poor amongst you. But nowhere in the New Testament does anyone, let alone Jesus, suggest that evil and tyranny will end until He comes again. Does he really admire Jesus or was expressing admiration for Christ merely good politics? Of course, ending evil and trampling tyranny will be quite expensive. 9. The decision to draw down troop levels in Iraq will be made the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commanders in the field, not by politicians in Washington, DC. – This line got a lot of applause, but it’s just not the truth. Both the decision to go to war and the decision to come home will always be made by politicians. The generals have learned, long ago, that they better do what Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld tell them to do, no matter how stupid, ill-conceived, or dangerous the assignment. On July 10, 2005, I predicted on my radio show that troop withdrawal would be underway, not just planned, but actually happening by no later than the Fall of 2006. I stand by that prediction. And if the generals suddenly decide troop withdrawal is a good idea, it will be because the politicians in Washington, DC told them it was. 8. Second-guessing is not a strategy – This barb is fairly aimed at the Democrats who, as I pointed out in my previous column, supported the use of force in Iraq. But not everyone questioning the policy is second-guessing, despite what the President insists. The team at Downsize DC, for one, called it with amazing accuracy six weeks before “Shock and Awe,” hit Iraq. You can check out the TruthAboutWar.org site, frozen in time since March, 2003. Can you still call it second-guessing when it’s a prediction? 7. Isolationism... Isolationists everywhere – Dubya kept talking about non-existent isolationism. Where in the federal government are the isolationists? Are there any in Congress? I don’t know of any? Any in the State Department? What, are you kidding? Nearly everyone in power belongs to the Council on Foreign Relations. Who are these isolationists Bush kept referring to? Please, name me some names! 6. Eliminate 140 programs; $14 billion savings; cut deficit in half by 2009 – Eliminating programs sounds good, but there will be no “savings.” This is political-speak. When a politician says savings, he means that he’s decided to spend less than he originally planned. The president introduced several new programs and initiatives. So at best, the spending will go elsewhere. But the funniest line is cutting the deficit in half by 2009. This president inherited a budget that (thanks to Social Security supplementation) was not running a deficit. By his second year, epic deficits had returned. Now read carefully… If a politician says he’s going to cut the deficit in half what he’s really saying is, if the deficit today is $400 billion, then by the time he reaches his goal he plans to only be overspending by $200 billion. IT’S STILL DEFICIT SPENDING AND THE DEBT WILL STILL BE GROWING. 5. Pass a line-item veto – This is the only President since James Garfield, who only served a portion of his first term before he was assassinated, who hasn’t vetoed a single bill. He also has the power of rescission, which means he can send “line items” back to the House and Senate for repeal. He hasn’t done this either! 4. A commission on entitlements – We know Social Security is in trouble. We know the Baby Boomers are about to retire. We know that entitlements are on course to crash. We can debate why this is the case, but it is the case. So what is the bold plan of the President? Another do-nothing commission. His last commission, looking at tax reform, came back with a complicated proposal that was so awful no one liked it – and no one should. “Yeah, let’s do that again. At least we can say we’re doing something.” 3. Advanced Energy Initiatives – Skip the details of the President’s plan. They don’t much matter. Government doesn’t innovate. It stifles innovation. It steals dollars from energetic, private efforts because who wants to compete with the bottomless well of funding the government? My all-time favorite West Wing line: “If government had waged a war on polio, we’d have the best iron lungs imaginable.” Of course, with the news that Exxon posted the largest fourth quarter profit in U.S. history, how could this oil-man President, flanked by his oil-man Vice President say with a straight face, “We need to end our addiction on oil?” Who stands to benefit from these research dollars? I’ll bet someone a donut that the energy companies get the grants to fund this research and the benefits of it. Do you really think Bush is going to abandon Big Oil? 2. American Competitiveness Initiatives – More federal money thrown at education. It’s done so much good in the past (sarcasm intended). Apparently, we’re falling behind on science and math in the higher grades. And the President thinks that he can fix that as well with more federal spending, even though past increases in federal education spending have resulted in reduced test scores – particularly in math and science. Apparently, the President intends to spend so much money that we’ll kill math and science aptitude in high-schoolers! Oh how I wish this would work. Failure in math and science is, all too often, a sign that a young person is headed for a life of crime, or worse, politics. You laugh but how good do you think George Bush or Nancy Pelosi were at math? 1. Another family in the balcony with another son killed in Iraq – Yes, another family – the most memorable moment of the President’s State of the Union last year was apparently so good for the administration that they decided to have an encore performance. Read what I had to say about last year’s “tribute” here.
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