Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of the Union

Let the games begin. President Obama made a forceful, compelling case for a balance of free market and governmental reforms on a wide range of issues, and defended his record on foreign policy and an improving economy. He called out both parties for inaction, and reminded us that one party's class warfare is another's common sense. He also sounded themes that will be part of his reelection campaign, such as tax cuts for businesses and investment in future technologies.

His call for fairness was in all of the previews, and evidently, that's a dirty word among the Republican leadership. Tax fairness? Socialism. Economic fairness? Socialism. Fair access to social institutions, education, and job training? Socialism.

Ahead of the speech, Mitt Romney said of the economy that, "In a normal recovery under strong leadership, it could now be full of workers." The problem is that this isn't a normal recession, it's a Republican-caused recession. And when the GOP screws the economy, the economy doesn't walk right for years. Further, research has suggested that the economy would have been worse off under Republican policies and fewer people would have been employed. Electing either Romney or Gingrich would mean more tax cuts for the wealthy, fewer services, no stimulus and worsening infrastructure throughout the country (except for a very high wall on the Mexican border).

So what exactly is the GOP for? The right to make millions and to pay a lower tax rate because you're not earning wages? Most working and middle class people earn only wages. The right to pay for a better education because you have money? Most working and middle class people can't pay or don't want to go into debt to the tune of $200,000 dollars. The right to health care only if you can pay shockingly high premiums, don't care about preexisting conditions, or don't take your medicine because the doughnut hole would cost you thousands? Running against the health care reform law might be good politics, but repeal would set us back decades.

After months of listening to the radical right bloviate about the threat that gay marriage, financial and health reform, legal and illegal immigrants, and Shariah law presents to our nation, it's about time that we heard some actual policies that make sense and serve the interests of actual citizens. And that's exactly what we heard.

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