Friday, January 28, 2011

A response to the State of the Union address

[Editor's note: This is Return to Locke's response to the State of the Union. Any comments from me or edits will be bracketed. The post references the speech as last night, so my apologies for not posting it as soon it was sent to me. Mea Culpa. My own response to the State of the Union will be posted in a later blog]

To be fair and in the name of full disclosure, I wasn’t expecting much from Obama in last night’s speech. However, I even came away shocked at exactly how all around bad it was. Even if Obama intended it to be a purely grandstanding election speech, he failed on that account to, as the speech itself lacked energy or his usual charismatic delivery. He looked tired and disinterested.

However, enough with the superficial observations, there are too many substantive points that I want to get in his speech. I will address the points in the order in which Obama did last night.

Obama began the “substantive” part of his address to the nation by first addressing our nations failing public education system. Obama pointed to the fact that our nation’s youth are falling behind the youth of other countries, especially in the areas of math and science. And Obama’s brave new idea to fix the problem….drum roll please…… MORE SPENDING!!! Obama explained that we need to model our response on Dwight D. Eisenhower’s response to the Soviet Union launching Sputnik. He called this our Sputnik moment. Besides this not being a novel idea (Obama has been using this line for a while now, it is based on a FAILED program!!!!

The fact of the matter is, after Congress pushed through the National Defense Education Act in the wake of Sputnik… MATH SCORES WENT DOWN!!!! Like most federal programs, the NDEA was an expensive failure. According to numbers put out by the organization that runs the SAT test, high school mathematics performance actually fell in the eight years following passage of the law. [Link for source here.]

So, let’s recap. In the face of the latest international test scores showing that the United States continues to languish in educational mediocrity, Obama rolls out an idea to model our response on yet another massive federal program that history has shown to be a failure. Now that is man with a plan for hope and change…..

I simply don’t get it. How hard is it to understand that 40 years (and $1.8 trillion) of federal educational intervention has failed? With a mounting federal deficit, is this really the right time to be flushing more money down the toilet that is the federal educational system?

Or, how about the novel, wild and crazy idea of returning the education system to the states and local governments where the Constitution so wisely left them?

As bad as Obama’s plan for improving education was, it got much, much worse. The next topic was the President’s response to our nation’s unemployment rate and stagnant economy. I mean this was priceless. If a conservative pundit tried to write this stuff to mock Obama they couldn’t have done it any better.

Obama’s solution to our creating jobs…… drum roll please……. MORE SPENDING!!!!!!!

No really, I’m serious. But I guess you can give Obama credit for moving to the center on the spending. I mean he did at least call it “investing”. We must “invest” in green technology (there is an original line… 2008 campaign anyone??) to create jobs. Let’s look at this idea a little closer because it probably sounds good to most people that hear it. (Esp. my tree hugging counterpart).

What does it mean to “invest” in green technology? It means you will be giving part of your paycheck to subsidize private businesses. Don’t let Obama fool you. Not only did he himself tout this as a solution to creating jobs in his 2008 campaign, (how has that worked out for you? If you like double digit unemployment, pretty well….) but this is an age old Democratic playing card. Instead of letting the private sector create jobs in a FREE market, the left believes that it is the government’s place to create jobs. Where in the Constitution this is found is beyond me. Maybe my left leaning friend can enlighten me….. But I digress. Even if the power was granted in the Constitution, the Government creating jobs is a losing proposition.

Obama has tried this EXACT same thing just last year. The administration’s poster children for clean-energy jobs, Solyndra and Evergreen Solar, should be the guide on how NOT to create jobs.

Months after receiving a $535 million government loan (and after a well-publicized presidential photo op), Solyndra withdrew its initial public offering because it got a sub-par review from an independent auditor. And a year after getting their half-billion dollars, Solyndra closed a factory and got rid of nearly 200 jobs.

After much hyped state subsidies of up to $76 million and after millions of dollars of federal subsidies Evergreen Solar is now shutting its factory in Massachusetts, laying off 700 workers, and moving production to China.

As David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation explains, “[I]f a company needs a subsidy to hire a worker, that worker will be out on the street when the subsidy expires. Private enterprise provides energy, creates jobs, and develops innovative technology. It does so because private enterprise only succeeds when the energy, jobs, and technology provide value that exceeds the cost. That’s how we get good, durable jobs.”

So again, let’s recap. Obama’s answer to creating jobs? Basing his plan on yet another massive federal program that history has shown to be a failure. Are you sensing a pattern yet????

Tomorrow I will finish my final thoughts on the SOTU. The post will include an examination of President Obama’s solution to our National Debt. Any guesses on how Obama proposed to fix it????

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