Tag Archives: energy

Fracking Hydro

28 Apr

The Not Necessarily State of the Union

25 Feb

Energy, Health Care, and Education.

Budgeting that includes the true cost of the wars in Iraq in Afghanistan.

Line by line review of the federal budget with enough cuts to pay for the programs that have been proposed, and reduce the deficit, to boot.

Last night, the President addressed the Congress and the people. In addition to the hope being back, one other theme stuck out at me:

While George W. Bush liked to remind us constantly during the early days of his administration that federal money was “the people’s money”, Barack Obama reminded us repeatedly last night that the people sent these people to Washington to get work done. Frankly, it’s a self-evident fact that they don’t get reminded of quite enough down there.

The speech returned the hope and inspiration that became synonymous with Obama during the campaign – if his speech was an over-the-counter cold remedy, it would be called Malaiseaway.

I thought he well explained why the mortgage plan was needed, and rebutted the notion that it would help the irresponsible. He promised to make sure that banks started extending credit to people and small business again to get the economy going again.

On the issue of energy, Obama laid out a challenge to reach clean, renewable energy independence through wind, solar, and biofuels. On healthcare, he promised to fundamentally reform Medicare, eliminate waste and fraud in the system, and put a “significant down payment” towards universal health care.

On education, Obama reminded us that our schools are failing too many kids, and admonished parents to become more engaged with their kids and their educations. Our kids will need to stay in school and actually learn stuff in order for them to compete in a future global market. It is the key to innovation in health care and energy, when you get down to it. Today’s elementary school student is tomorrow’s inventor.

Obama’s Apollo program is going to be a cure for cancer “in our time”. That’s a cause everyone can get behind.

I got the sense, watching the speech, that there was a more bipartisan reaction to Obama’s proposals than I had seen in a long time. Obviously, this isn’t an indication that all of a sudden the Republicans are going to go along with everything, but I could count on one hand the number of times it appeared that the Republican side of the aisle remained seated while the Democrats applauded. If nothing else, regardless of the outcome of the stimulus bill vote, I think the new president has done a good job of reaching out to the Republicans in a meaningful and substantive way. They might not agree with him, but they seem to like him and are willing to listen to each other.

It was a speech that, for the first time in decades, reminded Americans that we’re all in this together. Shared sacrifice – like the banker who shared his bonus with his employees – is what’s needed in tough times. This isn’t socialism or an abrogation of individual rights and liberties. This is underscoring the fact that raising the tax rate on the top 2% of taxpayers back to Clinton-era levels is appropriate, (they did pretty well back in the ’90s). Everyone making less than $250k will get a tax cut as soon as April – a follow-through on a campaign promise. This in conjunction with the stimulus bill, which is essentially the largest net tax cut in history.

When people and businesses aren’t buying stuff, the federal government steps in as the last resort. When people are abandoning their homes because of neighborhood foreclosures that have suddenly left them upside-down in their loans – when it makes more financial sense to walk away from the house than to keep paying the note – it makes sense for government to change the rules to enable them to refinance and stay in their homes.

Obama finally strongly indicated that he would submit a responsible plan to get out of Iraq, make sure Afghanistan is made safer, and work to ensure that al Qaeda cannot launch attacks on America from safe havens in Pakistan or Afghanistan. He also unequivocally stated that the United States does not torture.

I thought it was a hopeful speech that looks forward to American revival, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Energy independence, health care reform, and educational improvement have been on the radars of many past presidents, yet big decisions that look to the long-term have constantly been put off. President Obama indicates that now is the time they were put off to.

Full text, as prepared, after the jump. Continue reading