Wednesday, February 13, 2013

SOTU: My Irreverent 2 Cents

President Obama's State of the Union Address  was notable for several things:

1. Efforts to contain or slow climate change. This is a hot button issue in the United States as thoughts about it's causes and alleged progression run clearly down party lines. Republicans denounce it as a tool used by the pinko, tree hugging left to keep the United States dependent on foreign oil for the future; Democrats see climate change as a future significant threat to the globe and accuse Republicans of stymieing efforts at  curbing climate change so that their big oil donors will keep reaping record profits from the sale of oil and gasoline.
Conclusion: no politician is really going to stick out his/her neck on an issue that may not cause any significant disruption to the globe in 40-50 years. Their chief concern, both Democrat and Republican is  garnering enough votes to get reelected in 2 or 4 years so you'll end up seeing a lot of kicking the can down the road on this issue

2. Immigration reform is high on both parties agendas. Why? Hispanics now constitute 10% of this country's voting block. This just past Presidential election saw Obama come away with 70% of the Hispanic vote. Now everyone, Tea Party Republican and tree hugging liberal alike are shouting "Te Quiero" to the nation's Hispanic population

3. Gun control- that I wrote about in another post. Check it out if you like

4. Raising the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. Shouldn't be hard. Both sides reaching out for votes and with many recently arrived immigrants, especially those of Hispanic descent, starting off their lives in their new country working low paying jobs (just as more or less every new immigrant population  in this country started off). Look for this to pass notwithstanding the BS spewed by Limbaugh, Hannity and that rabid raccoon Marc Levin

5. Troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Don't see much of a problem here either for Obama. People here are fed up after 11 years. If they can't take care of themselves by now, then let them take the consequences (if they start shit with the US again I would look for a much larger response by the US. And we wont be coming in smiling this time).

5 and 6: Debt reduction and Medicare are extremely complicated issues. With Obama in his last 4 years in office; look for him to at least give both a shot. Senators and House members though, needing votes every 2-4 years to keep their jobs will vote along party lines. Possible kick the can issue, especially if another war flares somewhere

7. Fixing Bridges and other infrastructure. Infrastructure has been ignored by the leaders of this country for long enough. Bridges, tunnels, levees, and a whole host of other important structures are in such dilapidated condition that a national emergency should be declared. As an example the San Joaquin Vally system of levees is in such a bad state that a 6.7 mag earthquake hitting the area would not only swamp close to a hundred thousand homes in the Valley but also cut off a third of the drinking water to the state of California for more than 6 months. The country's infrastructure is in such widespread disrepair that a decision to repair it all would probably cut the country's unemployment rate to near zero instantly

8. Foreign Policy . This is going to be a tough one. Arab Springs, Africa spiraling further and further into disarray, doubts about the very survival of the European Union, North Korea building nukes while its people starve, Iran free to flex its muscles without having to keep a nervous eye out for Saddam, places like Haiti where people are still living in sub-human conditions following the deadly earthquake there, not to mention the perennial Israeli-Palestinian conflict all make for one great foreign policy headache

We live in a very complicated world, much more complicated than the cold war when everyone knew who made up what side. America is finding itself, after almost a century of world dominance to becoming, pardon the pun, merely human.It's going to be an interesting 4 years and with so much up in the air at this time I say lets buckle up, ignore the doomsayers and try to enjoy the ride as best we can. What else can we do?