Gosh, is it that time again? It just doesn’t feel like State of the Union time. Every year they bring out the decorations earlier and there’s hardly time in all the rush to actually enjoy the speech. Every year I say I’m not going overboard but every year I get caught up in the whole red and blue thing. Don’t you just love it when the president tells us that “the state of our union is strong?”
Well, it is reassuring to hear those words from the top.
Mr. Obama will talk about the progress the economy is making toward recovery. That’s his chance to take a little credit, which he deserves. Then he’ll tell us that we have a long way to go.
Presidents always tell us we have a long way to go. I don’t know why they do that because the American public has the attention span of a 2 year old. In fact, many people won’t watch the entire speech. Most have their minds made up about Mr. Obama anyway. It wouldn’t matter if he announced that the treasury department found a stash of money they’d forgotten about and there is no $14 trillion debt! One half of the American public would say that the money is fake and that we’re probably in deeper debt than ‘he’ is telling us. 27% of Americans don’t believe Obama is a U.S. citizen by birth.
Anyway, enough of that.
Let’s talk about what Mr. Obama won’t say.
He won’t place any responsibility on us. He won’t tell us to clean up our unethical business practices, treat people right and operate in the best interest of the country instead of catering to a handful of greedy crooks on Wall Street. No, he won’t say that.
He won’t say that people with plenty of money will draw unemployment until the the last month before their benefits run out. He won’t say that that is an abuse of the system that needs to stop.
He won’t say that much of the money the government spends on education and job training goes to people who have no intention of learning, but love being subsidized while going to classes.
He won’t say that we are wasting billions of dollars “rebuilding” Iraq or destroying Afghanistan, which we will later rebuild.
So I’ll say a few things that Mr. Obama won’t say that really need to be said.
If we are going to turn our economy around and actually make our union strong, we will have to rebuild our manufacturing base. No Tom Firiedman, the world isn’t that flat. I’m sick of hearing about globalism. From here out, I want us to fight (can I still say that or are we completely neutered?) for the home team. China isn’t our friend or partner. China is our biggest competitor.
There are many items which just might be more efficient to let China make. But there are many, many items that we can and should be making right here in the U.S.
Here’s an example. Pet products. We live in a pet obsessed society but it’s nearly impossible to find dog toys or a cat bed made in the U.S. How much labor goes into making a rubber ball? Don’t tell me it’s that much cheaper to make a ball in China.
That might be a silly example to you, but you can name hundreds of items that could and should be made here.
I don’t want the government to create jobs by making up work and then funding that work with deficit dollars. I want companies to make goods here, in the USA. If there is a barrier, let’s overcome it. Mr. Obama, have you forgotten that yes, we can?
To encourage manufacturing in the U.S. will require an improvement in our business ethics. Yes, businesses operate for profit. But if the only goal is profit, if there isn’t a dash of the “greater good” in the mix, the economy can’t sustain itself. Business must be willing to pay a little to make goods here and we the people must support domestic production and pay a little more for those goods. It beats paying it in taxes and it beats a growing deficit. Wouldn’t it be great if your neighbor faced a growing income tax because of growing income rather than foreclosure? (1 million home foreclosures last year)
Finally, our system of education needs to leap from 1960 to 2015 quickly. From Kindergarten through college we must refocus on math, science and reading. We must teach problem solving and creative thinking. We must bring PE back into our schools. Lazy fat kids aren’t great thinkers. We must abolish (or reform) teacher tenure and support teachers who perform and get rid of the ones who don’t. Gee, just like business. Not like government.
I am sorry. I apologize to my teacher friends. But all the ills of our education system are not due to insufficient funds. Study after study bears that out. And yes, I agree, parents aren’t giving you much to work with in terms of your raw materials. Few kids come from homes where books are read. It’s a tough job. All true. But a little less complaining and a lot more innovation would get the education system a lot more support.
Okay, let’s recap.
Now let’s get to it people.