timely quote

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president.

Theodore Roosevelt

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Breakdown of Obama's Weekly Address

Obama said several things that concerned me.
  1. Congress must put more tax money into the economy.
  2. The government must put 2 million people to work.
  3. Create a "green" energy economy with $150 billion.
  4. Create a Social Healthcare program.
  5. Giving any child who wants it an education.
I'll go through these one at a time.

Congress must put more tax money in to the economy:
Next week, Congress will meet to address the spreading impact of the economic crisis. I urge them to pass at least a down-payment on a rescue plan that will create jobs, relieve the squeeze on families, and help get the economy growing again.
So we're looking at a new rebate of some sort, combined with another business stimulus of some sort. Maybe the automakers, maybe something different. The problem is, we're in the hole almost $1Trillion already because of what's already been done. And Obama hasn't even gotten started yet. We're already asking OPEC countries for $300 Billion.

The consumer is supposed to put more money in the economy, not the government. Things will smooth out, and the economy will will rebound. Let's give people a chance to calm down. Don't make big changes right now. Voting another huge bailout or creating another huge program we can't afford won't help.

The government must put 2 Million people to work:
That means putting two million Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, and schools.
This is obviously a reference to his "voluntary" service program. First, the roads, bridges and schools are state property. The state governments are responsible for their upkeep. Is the federal government going to start usurping the states authority? Wouldn't that be in violation of the 10th Amendment? Also, the federal government already employs more than 1.8 million people. Do we need to pay more?

Creating a "green" energy economy with $150 Billion:
It means investing $150 billion to build an American green energy economy that will create five million new jobs, while freeing our nation from the tyranny of foreign oil, and saving our planet for our children.
So where do we invest $150Bn to create an economy? What is a green economy? We know he wants to bankrupt the coal industry and put it out of business. So what will he do with all of those jobs? I guess he means to create an industry around climate change. The next Kyoto Protocol will be just as damaging to the economy as the first would have been, had we subscribed to it. How is this supposed to help?

Creating a Social Healthcare program:
It means making health care affordable for anyone who has it, accessible for anyone who wants it, and reducing costs for small businesses.
Ah, Socialized Medicine(tm). The holy grail of Democrats over the last couple of decades. It sounds so reasonable. Everyone needs healthcare, right? Except that it's not the government's job to provide it. The Constitution doesn't guarantee healthcare, or jobs or cars or TVs or anything.

Above and beyond that, The size of the program would be staggering. The amount of money it would take to either control the entire healthcare system, or subsidize it enough to make it "affordable" would be gargantuan. Hundreds of thousands of people. Doctors would work for the government and not be making any money. I like my doctors rich and happy. Driving nice cars. I don't want a pissed off, government employee type doctor.

Look. I have insurance. I don't pay too much for it. I can get in to the doctor with little or no notice if necessary. My family and I are healthy and happy. Those who aren't as lucky as I, have the ability to go see the doctor too. There are already programs to help people who don't have insurance. If the government gets in the business of providing healthcare, how will it be payed for?

Anyway, look at England's social medicine program. Yeah, that's what we should aspire to.

Giving any child who wants it an education:
And it also means giving every child the world-class education they need to compete with any worker, anywhere in the world.
Again, it sounds so righteous. We all want our kids to get a good education, right?

My problem here is that an education is not a guarantee, and it's not the federal government's job to provide the education. While I believe in the idea behind the No Child Left Behind program, I think it was poorly done. The idea was to provide testing to make sure that children are actually learning what they need to learn. It turned into a school punishment tool.

If the government gets in the business of providing college education, the entire system will become watered down. If anyone can get in to college, regardless of academic fitness, then the degree will mean nothing.

Obama's socialist programs will be hugely expensive, leading to higher taxes across the board. There is no way to create these kinds of entitlements and giveaways without incredible amounts of money. That money will have to come from somewhere. Obama is already trying to lower the public's expectations.

I thought as soon as Obama was elected, everything would Change(tm) and everything would be better. Wasn't that what he said? I guess this was the change he meant. More taxes, more programs, more entitlements and less Pursuit of Happiness.


stevjo said...

Where to begin?
Why do our political leaders always talk about lessening the influence of OPEC/Middle East and yet hit them up for $$ to fix a problem that will work itself out? I understand that the Saudis and Dubai are more than willing to give us money, so are the Chinese. They're planning ahead, investing in the our unquenchable thirst to spend. As for potential rebates, I might spend mine on a handgun.
Education is another aspect of infrastructure, like roads and bridges. i agree that each state should take care of their own. If roads and bridges and education suck in a particular state, then complain to your state representative. Find out where the money goes. However, I don't agree with NCLB. all good intentions aside, teachers (my sister being one) have to teach kids how to take a test in order to keep the school in good standing. Aren't they suppose tto teach subject matter like history, math, science, English? Some kids fail, that's just life. Education starts at home, so if the kid is failing, then the parents need to get involved. Parents don't care, then no amount of standardized testing is going to change that, and then the system gets worse for that particular area.
Free college? or will the Great Leader's volunteer system be used as a barter, like a G.I. Bill for the socially conscious. When my parents paid for my college, I half-assed it, spending more time than I should have getting high and chasing girls. Eventually, did do well in my major, but overall, i think I squandered the opportunity. When I paid for culinary school (which I'm still paying for), I worked my ass off.
Are these free educations going to include "green studies?" The U.S. could create just as many jobs with coal, nuclear, and offshore drilling(not to mention the subsequent parts and support networks these industries will need), while transitioning into the great green unknown. Just get rid of the red tape and watch the construction to production time drop.
Enough has been said about health care. One question: why do the same people who criticized the Katrina response want the same government involved in health care?
The lowered expectations are par for the course. Its PR for the all the Great Leaders' supporters. The truth is, most people have very little patience for non-action, and eventually, "Progress" will have to be measured.

folly said...

I'm saying that the NCLB was done wrong. We already have standardized testing, and if those don't suffice, then they should be changed. I don't agree with tying funding to test scores.

I haven't seen the new tests, and I only have what my two teenagers have told me about them. My only argument against the "teaching the test" comment is this:

If the kids are being taught math, history, science and english, shouldn't they be able to pass the test?

Yes, education starts at home, and some parents aren't going to participate. Should funding be tied to something that teachers don't always have control over? No. But, teacher have always had to deal with apathetic parents. More than parents are the apathetic students. The teachers can still teach them.

Should teacher salaries be raised? Absolutely. Should teacher promotions be merit based? Absolutely. Should tenure be merit based? Absolutely. Continuing teacher education? Absolutely.

I'm not suggesting that teachers are the problem. I have teachers in my family and not a one of them likes the NCLB. I think it was poorly done, and I think that everyone involved is paying for it. I do believe it should be rescinded, because it isn't useful to the purpose of educating my children.

stevjo said...

No,teachers are not the problem. Now, granted not all school districts are the same, but I do think that there are instances where your average apathetic student with the same parents isn't going to learn math, english, et al. the same as your student who actually cares, hence the need to "teach them how to take a standardized test." I agree with the notion of fewer rather than more standized testing. The SAT/ACT were enough. Exams were essay based where applicable and problem solving for math and science. Some kids do fall through the cracks.