So, I'll start off this series with one of three rebuttals to George W. Bush's State of the Union Addresses. This is my rebuttal to his 2006 speech. A bit of context. It was still just months since Hurricane Katrina had hit New Orleans. President Bush had attempted to get both Immigration and Entitlement reform and it hadn't worked out well for him and his approval was plummeting. I think most notably I wasn't as cynical as I am now.
Original Post Date: February 2nd, 2006
Mr. President, Is the State of the Union actually strong? We have 150,000 troops abroad fighting a war that was based on poor intelligence. This has over-stretched our military. Americans phone calls are being monitored without a warrant, which violates the law and is unconstitutional. There are thousands of Americans who still don’t have long-term temporary housing after Hurricane Katrina. Our Economy is being slowed by increasing inflation, high energy prices, and competition from countries who allow people to work for mere cents an hour. Health Care costs are out of control, not allowing many to afford the treatment and medication they need, and there are millions of Americans with no health insurance at all and that needs to change. Their are ethical concerns in Washington both on the hill and in the White House.
Mr. President you lack a true plan for victory in Iraq. We need a real exit strategy, not just saying when the Iraqis are prepared and when the military leaders say so. First our large military presence in Iraq is strengthening the insurgency, and second our indefinite military presence will cause the Iraqis to be dependent on us. I believe we should begin withdrawing our troops immediately from Iraq, with all of them home by Christmas.
Domestic Intelligence gathering is indeed necessary to help defeat Islamic Extremists. But gathering Intelligence illegally is dangerous to our civil liberties, and puts all in danger of an over-zealous executive. Also violating the constitution in the so call ‘War on Terror’ is dangerous as well, because betraying our rights is exactly what they want us to do, and we should not give it to them.
Hurricane Katrina was a terrible event in the past year needs to not be forgotten. The people on the Gulf Coast, who were affected by this storm, in many cases still lack a place the can call home until they are able to rebuild their homes. Getting these people semi-permanent housing needs to be a national priority and should be addressed immediately. Also we need to not forget the rebuilding, it will be a long road, but we need to continue to provide funds to rebuild the Gulf Coast, so that it can be returned to what it once was. Also as you said in your speech, we need to address the problems with the area prior to the storm. There was much poverty and we need to make sure that this region is made economically strong after being rebuilt.
The Economy is growing at a rapid rate, but it still has problems. The gap between rich and poor is growing as rapidly as it has since the 20’s. Also the new jobs being created are not nearly as good as the jobs that are leaving for other countries where workers can be paid less that 5 cents an hour. I believe we need to level the playing field by only trading with countries with good human rights, and an acceptable minimum wage. Also our dependence on foreign oil has made our economy temperamental and fluctuates with happenings in the middle east.
Mr. President your statements about the need to end Americas addiction to foreign oil are absolutely true. It needs to be ended by developing new sources of energy and I commend on saying that we need to get that done.
Health Care Costs in this country are out of control. Americans are either losing their health insurance all together or taking massive benefit cuts from their health insurance provided by their workplace. I believe that it is absurd that there are around 40 million Americans don’t have health insurance. In a country of our wealth I believe it is the governments responsibility to make sure everyone is able to get health care whenever they need it. That’s why I am calling for an new nationalized health care system.
The ethical problems in Washington need to be dealt with as soon as possible. There needs to be lobbying reform passed that will close all lobbying loopholes and prevent a person like Jack Abramoff from gaining that type of power in Washington. In the White House there are major ethical concerns from leaking a CIA agents name, and some dealings with Jack Abramoff. Government needs to be cleaned up and it needs to be cleaned up now.
Mr. President you make a lot of claims about HIV/AIDS but you truly have not fulfilled any of your prior promises about this issue in the past nor do I think you will this time.
In your speech you talked about strengthening our education system. I agree with you, for Americans to be able to compete with foreign competitors we need to teach more math and science and make sure more kids stay in school and are able to graduate.
No Child Left Behind has harmed schools and needs to be reformed. It cuts funds to failing schools and therefore hurts those schools and prevent the students attending those schools from receiving a quality education, and hurts Americas future.
Social Security does need to be changed, and I believe in your calling for a new commission on the matter is great step in that direction. I believe that privatizing Social Security is a risky idea and should not even be considered. I think the best way to help extend the life of this program is to both increase social security and have small cuts in social security benefits. There needs to be a solution on this and both sides just sitting and staring at each other will not achieve that.
The tax cuts passed by congress should not be made permanent. Our nation is in massive debt and it is continuing to grow largely because of these tax cuts. Having a massive debt and deficit will hurt the economy more in the long run, than an increase in taxes. Also these tax cuts do not benefit the people who need it. These tax cuts give 88% of the benefits to the top 1% of the population.
I must say that the State of the Union is not strong. It can be made strong but much must be changed and I hope that you, Mr. President will work to make it that way.
Thanks for reading.
**I'm not even going to edit out any of the errors. I'll say to change anything would be unethical. That sounds good.