Burnard: Obama speech good, Ryan predictableWritten by Don Burnard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I waited to write this week’s column until the SOTU speech and the Republican response were complete. In general, I thought the speech was good, not great, and the GOP response by Rep. Paul Ryan was predictable. One thing that I thought both speeches had in common was a paucity of details on how they were both going to address the problems with other than vague talking points. I do have to give Obama a slight edge in that I believe he actually might have some actual plans, or at least some people actually working on the problems, whereas I have yet to see any proposals whatsoever from the GOP other than tax cuts mostly for the wealthy, and benefit cuts that fall mainly on the middle class and the poor.
The GOP would have you believe that Social Security and Medicare, public employees, teachers, and their unions, and virtually the entire middle class are responsible for the fix this nation’s economy is in. Rep. Ryan stated that the deficit was the responsibility of a number of administrations and that what we needed to do was to address this now because we’re in a huge crisis. I find it rather odd that the GOP seems to always ignore where the majority of the problems come from and try to scare and distract us into basically allowing business to continue as usual. I saw a graph several times that basically points out that under GOP administrations from the Reagan administration to the Bush administration, the deficits and unemployment have grown and under Democratic administrations they have decreased. How did they become the supposed party of fiscal responsibility when the facts and figures clearly belie this? The inevitable GOP response has been to circle the wagons around the big money interests and to find a scapegoat or some other distraction to keep the masses busy while their livelihoods are compromised in the name of corporate profits. Don’t look at the bankers and financial wizards who really caused the problems. Look at those public employees that make all that money, have health care, and pensions! They’re the real problem! You don’t have a health plan and a pension, why should they? The real question that should be asked is not why they have those things. It’s why don’t I have those things?
Smoke and mirrors has been the GOP game plan for decades. Don’t think about why your spending power has decreased for the last thirty years, look at those welfare queens, gays wanting to get married, illegal immigrants, highly paid public employees, big government socialists, and on and on ad nauseum. If the facts don’t back up the argument, we’ll make up our own, and ridicule anyone who actually has studied things like economics or finance that point out their fallacies. Abraham Lincoln said you can’t fool all the people all the time. That’s true. You don’t have to fool them all. You just have to fool enough of them, and disillusion enough to get the job done. It’s like the Wizard of Oz. Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain! We know what’s best for you! All those things that make America the greatest country in the world that you learned about in school don’t really matter. All those biblical calls to help the poor don’t fit into our bottom line. The times they are a’changin’.
The military has a basic rule; leave no man behind. Maybe we should adopt this as an American rule to be guided by. Maybe some of the top 1% could learn to get by on $10 million a year instead of $20 million, for example. The Golden Rule seems to have been replaced by “Screw you, I’ve got mine!” We’ll just cut the legs out from under the very people that paid to bail us out and leave them to fend for themselves. Is this the America we really want?
On the local front, we have the new governor sticking it to us again with his new quasi private JobsOhio plan. It has HUGE problems with ethics, oversight, and accountability for handling economic development in Ohio. More smoke and mirrors on the way. We’ll delve deeper into this in the next column. A parting thought: does anyone but me think there is a correlation between the GOP gains in the elections and the precipitous rise in gas prices? Just askin’.