President Obama - State of the Union Speech

In case you guys missed it, here's a link to President Obama's State of the Union speech from WSJ. As always, I really enjoy listening to the President speak. Regardless of policy, I think it's important for us monkeys to listen to this speech. Some of the topics discussed include: the economy, jobs, taxes, innovation/technology, education, immigration, infrastructure, and healthcare. I think it's one of the better speeches in the last couple years. The only thing left is to see how he follows through on his promises.

WSJ: Pres. Obama's Speech

Comments (52)

Jan 26, 2011

I turned it off after Obama started blowing China....

Jan 26, 2011

Let's be honest. There is a big difference between CUTTING spending, and a spending FREEZE that he proposed. He's already spent shit tons more than Bush so to freeze it at its current inflated level really isn't doing our country any favors.

Jan 26, 2011
Ben Shalom Bernanke:

He's already spent shit tons more than Bush

doubtful

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL33110.pdf

Jan 26, 2011
UFOinsider:
Ben Shalom Bernanke:

He's already spent shit tons more than Bush

doubtful

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL33110.pdf

I should have clarified. Obviously, I don't mean overall spending.

Jan 28, 2011
Ben Shalom Bernanke:

Let's be honest. There is a big difference between CUTTING spending, and a spending FREEZE that he proposed. He's already spent shit tons more than Bush so to freeze it at its current inflated level really isn't doing our country any favors.

I think this misses the real point, though. It would make no difference if it were a freeze or a cut, when it comes to only non-defense discretionary spending. This leaves all entitlements (read: healthcare, government pensions, etc) untouched. Herein lies the problem. Non-discretionary and defense spending make up such a significant portion of the federal budget, that any cuts or freezes to the smallest piece of the spending pie do next to nothing.

To use Mitch Hedberg:

If the budget was a pie chart for what people would do if they found a million dollars, discretionary spending would be the "donate it to charity" slice. We need to make reforms to the "keep it" slice.

Jan 28, 2011
Rudy Was Offside:
Ben Shalom Bernanke:

Let's be honest. There is a big difference between CUTTING spending, and a spending FREEZE that he proposed. He's already spent shit tons more than Bush so to freeze it at its current inflated level really isn't doing our country any favors.

I think this misses the real point, though. It would make no difference if it were a freeze or a cut, when it comes to only non-defense discretionary spending. This leaves all entitlements (read: healthcare, government pensions, etc) untouched. Herein lies the problem. Non-discretionary and defense spending make up such a significant portion of the federal budget, that any cuts or freezes to the smallest piece of the spending pie do next to nothing.

To use Mitch Hedberg:

If the budget was a pie chart for what people would do if they found a million dollars, discretionary spending would be the "donate it to charity" slice. We need to make reforms to the "keep it" slice.

Leaders of both parties would agree under a truth serum, we just have to hope they'll both agree to take the hit at the same time. Getting durbin and Coburn to both rubber stamp the deficit commission shows that unlike healthcare both parties have the willpower to consider a deal if it was hated equally by both constituencies (meaning neither party would lose seats because of it).

Having said that, any and all excuses to put it off will be attempted.

Jan 26, 2011

High speed rail is on of the biggest crocks of shit ever...works for Europe because everything is sooo much closer together. Wonder how GM feels about that hmm...

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Jan 26, 2011
happypantsmcgee:

High speed rail is on of the biggest crocks of shit ever...works for Europe because everything is sooo much closer together. Wonder how GM feels about that hmm...

That's not necessarily true. The US just needs a different model. When rail really takes off here, we'll see smaller state/regional networks like what is being developed in CA and FL.

Will there ever be a 200mph bullet train from NYC to LA? No. But we'll see LA to SF in a couple hours, or maybe even Miami to NYC in under a day. Eventually.

Jan 26, 2011
InfraInvestor:
happypantsmcgee:

High speed rail is on of the biggest crocks of shit ever...works for Europe because everything is sooo much closer together. Wonder how GM feels about that hmm...

That's not necessarily true. The US just needs a different model. When rail really takes off here, we'll see smaller state/regional networks like what is being developed in CA and FL.

Will there ever be a 200mph bullet train from NYC to LA? No. But we'll see LA to SF in a couple hours, or maybe even Miami to NYC in under a day. Eventually.

This is probably pretty accurate and I do like the idea of traveling medium length distances via rail if there is a cost savings over flying without too much of an increase in travel time. The problem is I don't see that happening. What would the travel time from Miami to NYC be...under a day? For how much? My bet is it would be $60+ dollars each way, so $120 round trip vs. $180+ for a round trip air ticket...but it would take you 12-18 hours instead of 4 hours. I will pay $60 to save that much of my life. Granted some wouldn't be so there is a market, the question is, how big is that market going to be?

Another thing that concerns me when traveling...is that while I am there I will need to use more public transit (not available everywhere and not always reliable) or rent a car (additional expense). A high speed rail is good to get you from one big city to another or to ride a couple hours into a theme park or to take home for the holidays when you are visiting your folks for a few days, etc. but I just don't see it having this mass appeal. If there was a high speed rail that ran between ATL and Tampa, I would probably go visit my friends and parents more often but it would have to cost me less than $160 round trip (cost of gas to drive) and it would have to be less than a 5 hour train ride (because you would have to factor in the time to the train terminal, screening, getting seat, departure, arrival, grabbing luggage and getting picked up) before I would actually do it. Same thing to go visit my buddies in Charlotte, though much less time and cost. I've read through the plans they have for this high speed rail through the east corridor (starting in Atlanta to Charlotte to NoVA/DC to NYC to Boston...or something like that) and the speeds they estimate the train will travel will hardly be faster than my car (from ATL to CLT) so the cost would have to still be less because I see a small benefit in having my car (though that is partially offset by the benefit of not being forced to concentrate for 4 hours).

Regards

Jan 26, 2011

blah blah blah look at me on stage

blah blah blah look at me on stage

rinse, repeat, puke

Jan 26, 2011
Midas Mulligan Magoo:

blah blah blah look at me on stage

blah blah blah look at me on stage

rinse, repeat, puke

Is it true what they say - politics is show biz for ugly people

Jan 26, 2011

Best thing to ever happen to Obama was the tea party and landslide republican midterm win. It has moderated him and made him more pro business. It is up to the republicans to make good on their promise and cut the budget. Hopefully more tea party candidates will rise up to keep the fiscal pressure on those elected.

Jan 26, 2011

I actually decided not to watch the speech last night. Despite being extremely interested in where the country is headed and how it's getting there...I ultimately decided it to be a waste of time to watch a speech about Obama's agenda for the country when he doesn't actual execute on the thing he says anyways. This speech, like the rest, are simply "feel good" talks served up for those that don't care to know to truth and don't care enough to want to know the truth. People tune in and hear that this is good and that this isn't so good but that we have a plan and that we can fix this and that without affecting the other...but the truth of the matter is...it can't happen and people who believe what Obama is saying are being naive.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/FACT-CHECK-Obama-and...
I also think high speed rail is going to be a huge drain on the economy...which is probably the same reason no private companies have started any of these project...the cost is high and the benefit is relatively low. Oddly, I like the idea of a high speed rail in certain places because it would be extremely convenient for me...but I'm also logical enough to know that the benefit just isn't as spectacular as they make it seem (travel times are barely better than cars in most cases, average speeds are far lower than what are generally advertised, maintenance costs are astronomical, etc.).

I will also add to ANT's comment about Obama's mood swing. The only good thing about him being spineless is that wind blows both ways and the Tea Party movement appears to be impacting Washington...for the better. Hopefully they keep to pressure on to reduce the budget and get us back on the road to recovery.

Regards

Jan 26, 2011

The Acela rail is the only part of Amtrak that makes money. Why? Because it uses existing rail and serves the major east coast cities. We don't need high speed rail like they have in Europe, especially right now. We need to cut spending, eliminate waste and cut taxes so the animal spirts can be freed and value created. Taxed money is dead money.

Jan 26, 2011

ANT,

Are you talking about the North East Corridor itself (The Line from Boston to DC) or are you talking about the Acela trains themselves? I just wanted to clarrify because if you're talking solely about the train, then I think you're wrong, but if you're talking about the line, spot on.

Jan 26, 2011

I definitely get your point infral but I just don't think dumping money into a high speed rail system should even be on the radar at this point. You're talking about literally building the infrastructure from next to nothing. And what the fuck kind of time line in 2035? I would love to be judged on things that I admit won't be operational until 20 years after I'm out of office. I really feel like there are a ton of better things that money can be spent on at this point.

PS I really expected him to finish the speech with "Vote Emmanuel"

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Jan 26, 2011
happypantsmcgee:

PS I really expected him to finish the speech with "Vote Emmanuel"

Me too! lol

Jan 26, 2011

Great Campaign speech. False promises...false promises...and more false promises.

He definitely tried to move towards the center due to political pressure, however I doubt anything will get done. It will be a year of political grid lock and let us pray that the spending comes to a halt.

The Dems are dying to spend more money as they are well aware that it would give the economy a synthetic catalyst heading into campaign season.

Jan 26, 2011

The people that vote dem are people who love free money. It is always optimal to increase taxes when you don't pay any. For the rich Dems, they just enjoy controlling and micro managing other people.

Less taxes and more freedom!

Jan 26, 2011
ANT:

The people that vote dem are people who love free money. It is always optimal to increase taxes when you don't pay any. For the rich Dems, they just enjoy controlling and micro managing other people.

Less taxes and more freedom!

Less gov't means more opportunity - it helps to be ideologically promiscuous

Jan 26, 2011

It does suck to ride the Metra in Chicago and go 5 miles an hour.....not to mention leaving the train smelling like a hobo.

Jan 26, 2011

I liked Fox News' spin on it.

http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201101260007

Jan 26, 2011

I would have given his speech a solid D. The fluffy speech stuff sounds good, but is rather unappealing after spending a day working with numbers. Obama needs to realize that we are in a fiscal crisis. His remedies for this crisis are laughable at best. A discretionary spending freeze sounds good until you realize that discretionary spending for this year will be less than 20% of the budget. Eliminating Medicare fraud, making Medicare more efficient, raising the social security age, ending all foreign occupations and cutting defense back to 2002 levels is the only way we can right the ship. As we speak, we are wasting 2 billion dollars a week in Afghanistan and are on track to spend 400 billion dollars there by the year 2014. We need to really try to address what is good for America and this program just doesn't cut it.

Education reform can be a major GDP booster, given that 1/4 of all high school freshman don't graduate. The numbers are even worse for minorities.

I am torn on high speed rail but would be for a more comprehensive national bus network. Infrastructure investment would be good.

I laughed so hard when he said that he would veto any bill with earmarks. WTF??? There were 9000 earmarks in the health care bill.

I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
-Styles P

Jan 26, 2011
eokpar02:

I would have given his speech a solid D. The fluffy speech stuff sounds good, but is rather unappealing after spending a day working with numbers. Obama needs to realize that we are in a fiscal crisis. His remedies for this crisis are laughable at best. A discretionary spending freeze sounds good until you realize that discretionary spending for this year will be less than 20% of the budget. Eliminating Medicare fraud, making Medicare more efficient, raising the social security age, ending all foreign occupations and cutting defense back to 2002 levels is the only way we can right the ship. As we speak, we are wasting 2 billion dollars a week in Afghanistan and are on track to spend 400 billion dollars there by the year 2014. We need to really try to address what is good for America and this program just doesn't cut it.

Education reform can be a major GDP booster, given that 1/4 of all high school freshman don't graduate. The numbers are even worse for minorities.

I am torn on high speed rail but would be for a more comprehensive national bus network. Infrastructure investment would be good.

I laughed so hard when he said that he would veto any bill with earmarks. WTF??? There were 9000 earmarks in the health care bill.

Agreed.

We eventually need to reform our federal income tax system. How about create new brackets for people that make over ie, 10mm, 50mm,100mm,1B.... This way, you could raise taxes marginally on the super wealthy and lower taxes for for those under that echelon. I know these people are the job creates, however those who make less would gain far more utility from the additionally money saved. This would probably shift the demand curve while nominally effecting the super wealthy. Let me know if this sounds crazy?

Jan 27, 2011
IBankedout:

Agreed.

We eventually need to reform our federal income tax system. How about create new brackets for people that make over ie, 10mm, 50mm,100mm,1B.... This way, you could raise taxes marginally on the super wealthy and lower taxes for for those under that echelon. I know these people are the job creates, however those who make less would gain far more utility from the additionally money saved. This would probably shift the demand curve while nominally effecting the super wealthy. Let me know if this sounds crazy?

Get rid of all the tax credits and subsidies. Only subsidize education and human capital investment. No more subsidies/tax credits for having children, paying interest on home loans, buying hybrids, etc.

I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
-Styles P

Jan 28, 2011
eokpar02:

I would have given his speech a solid D. The fluffy speech stuff sounds good, but is rather unappealing after spending a day working with numbers. Obama needs to realize that we are in a fiscal crisis. His remedies for this crisis are laughable at best. A discretionary spending freeze sounds good until you realize that discretionary spending for this year will be less than 20% of the budget. Eliminating Medicare fraud, making Medicare more efficient, raising the social security age, ending all foreign occupations and cutting defense back to 2002 levels is the only way we can right the ship. As we speak, we are wasting 2 billion dollars a week in Afghanistan and are on track to spend 400 billion dollars there by the year 2014. We need to really try to address what is good for America and this program just doesn't cut it.

Education reform can be a major GDP booster, given that 1/4 of all high school freshman don't graduate. The numbers are even worse for minorities.

I am torn on high speed rail but would be for a more comprehensive national bus network. Infrastructure investment would be good.

I laughed so hard when he said that he would veto any bill with earmarks. WTF??? There were 9000 earmarks in the health care bill.

Are you telling me you didn't blow your load all over your screen 8 times during the speech?

Jan 26, 2011

Wow, EOK, are you trying to make me like you. Where did this closet fiscal Republican attitude come from.

Jan 26, 2011
ANT:

Wow, EOK, are you trying to make me like you. Where did this closet fiscal Republican attitude come from.

Exactly what I thought when I read that.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Jan 26, 2011
ANT:

Wow, EOK, are you trying to make me like you. Where did this closet fiscal Republican attitude come from.

I am a fiscal conservative, not because of ideology but because a significant portion of what the federal government spends tax revenues on is waste.

I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
-Styles P

Jan 26, 2011

Wow, we completely agree then. I am in utter shock.

Jan 26, 2011

How balance the budget in 2011:

Cut defense down to 2002 levels.
End all foreign occupations.
Raise the retirement age by 4 years and offer anyone who elects to forgo Social Security a 3% tax cut for life.
Go after Medicare fraudsters and hospitals that over-bill. Medicare fraud is between 60 billion and 180 billion a year.
Defund the DEA

Thats about 1 trillion dollars of cuts

I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
-Styles P

Jan 26, 2011
eokpar02:

How balance the budget in 2011:

Cut defense down to 2002 levels.
End all foreign occupations.
Raise the retirement age by 4 years and offer anyone who elects to forgo Social Security a 3% tax cut for life.
Go after Medicare fraudsters and hospitals that over-bill. Medicare fraud is between 60 billion and 180 billion a year.
Defund the DEA

Thats about 1 trillion dollars of cuts

cap unemployment to 2 years if one can prove that are ACTIVELY looking for a job

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Jan 26, 2011

End a significant portion of federal departments.

Administration of Aging
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Department of Interior
Domestic Policy Council
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Department of Homeland Security
Risk Management Agency
(So many more)

I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
-Styles P

Jan 26, 2011
eokpar02:

End a significant portion of federal departments.

Administration of Aging
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Department of Interior
Domestic Policy Council
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Department of Homeland Security
Risk Management Agency
(So many more)

Add Department of Education. Give back the power to the states.

Jan 27, 2011
IBankedout:
eokpar02:

End a significant portion of federal departments.

Administration of Aging
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Department of Interior
Domestic Policy Council
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Department of Homeland Security
Risk Management Agency
(So many more)

Add Department of Education. Give back the power to the states.

The Department of Education has no power over the curriculum of high schools. I think we should take power out of the hands of states because states have done a fairly terrible job getting kids from their freshman year to college. Look at the south for example and compare their graduation rates to graduation rates in say, Maine, and you will know what I am talking about.

I think having a national education framework like South Korea and North Europe would alleviate/eliminate the racial achievement gap.

I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
-Styles P

Jan 27, 2011
eokpar02:

End a significant portion of federal departments.

Administration of Aging
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Department of Interior
Domestic Policy Council
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Department of Homeland Security
Risk Management Agency
(So many more)

wtf is Administration of Aging? Sounds like some exhibit I would see in a science museum

Jan 26, 2011

I think we benefit from having strategic bases around the world, but I support your other cuts.

Jan 26, 2011

For all of his bullshit from the first two years (see: healthcare legislation), I actually have to break down and admit that Obama has been doing a much better job as of late. His compromise on the income tax situation, his appointment of Bill Daly (of whom I am a big fan as a moderate from Chicago) and the tone he took in this address were extremely reassuring to me.

I agree we need to get more aggressive about spending cuts, but this guy is taking some big steps in the right direction talking about infrastructure and education investment, etc... We do need to spend in targeted areas to set up a foundation for our futures and for our children. So long as we can decrease military spending, get out of these retarded wars, cooperate properly with china, and minimize growth (or ideally slash to a degree) in healtcare costs, we'll be okay.

Jan 26, 2011
International Pymp:

his appointment of Bill Daly.

Just another example of the long, cyclical nature of the circle jerk that is Chicago Politics.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Jan 27, 2011

[quote=International Pymp

I agree we need to get more aggressive about spending cuts, but this guy is taking some big steps in the right direction talking about infrastructure and education investment, etc... [/quote]

That's all well and good if you show the total spending is going down. The problem is it's going to take political rocket science to cut spending meaningfully WITHOUT increasing it in any area, how is it going to be cut even more to offset new outlays?

It's no small feet that both the aflcio and chamber of congress agreed to raising infrastructure spending, but making the math work is another challenge entirely.

Jan 27, 2011

Interesting strategy the republicans should consider, but won't:

Give Obama the red pen. Reinstate the line item veto, only as a means to specifically cut lines that increase spending. It'll give them the same authority if they win the white house, it will make them look bipartisan, and it will put pressure on the president to fight his own party.

I believe when supreme court knocked it out, justices said it could be done if narrowly tailored. The only problem is that they don't want to be perceived as weak, but I would argue this strengthens their goal of cutting spending, both now and even moreso under future republican admins.

Jan 27, 2011
HedgeMonkey:

Interesting strategy the republicans should consider, but won't:

Give Obama the red pen. Reinstate the line item veto, only as a means to specifically cut lines that increase spending. It'll give them the same authority if they win the white house, it will make them look bipartisan, and it will put pressure on the president to fight his own party.

I believe when supreme court knocked it out, justices said it could be done if narrowly tailored. The only problem is that they don't want to be perceived as weak, but I would argue this strengthens their goal of cutting spending, both now and even moreso under future republican admins.

I think it's much more likely that Obama would use it to veto budget cuts to his favorite social programs than he would to actually curtail any spending (especially given the debt he's racked up in less than two years). Even if he would, we're trying to cut spending it, not just freeze it now that it's a historically high levels. I think politically this could work for Republicans, for the reasons you mentioned, but with the situation we're in with our debt, I don't think this is an area they should be looking to score political points. It may be something to look at down the road, but I think right now it hurts the goal of cutting government spending.

Jan 27, 2011
Tar Heel 2010:
HedgeMonkey:

Interesting strategy the republicans should consider, but won't:

Give Obama the red pen. Reinstate the line item veto, only as a means to specifically cut lines that increase spending. It'll give them the same authority if they win the white house, it will make them look bipartisan, and it will put pressure on the president to fight his own party.

I believe when supreme court knocked it out, justices said it could be done if narrowly tailored. The only problem is that they don't want to be perceived as weak, but I would argue this strengthens their goal of cutting spending, both now and even moreso under future republican admins.

I think it's much more likely that Obama would use it to veto budget cuts to his favorite social programs than he would to actually curtail any spending (especially given the debt he's racked up in less than two years). Even if he would, we're trying to cut spending it, not just freeze it now that it's a historically high levels. I think politically this could work for Republicans, for the reasons you mentioned, but with the situation we're in with our debt, I don't think this is an area they should be looking to score political points. It may be something to look at down the road, but I think right now it hurts the goal of cutting government spending.

You're misunderstanding my proposal. Line item veto that can only be used to strike out a paragraph that CBO Scores as worse than budget neutral.

Jan 27, 2011
Comment