On Jan. 25, President Obama delivered the highly anticipated State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress.
While there were certainly parts of the speech that could have been improved, in the end I thought that it was a well-written, well-delivered speech.
There was a large amount of speculation from political pundits and experts in the days leading up to the speech over what the president was going to talk about and how he was going to handle the speech.
The president’s point on oil subsidies was interesting and is likely to draw complaints from the Republican side of the aisle.
“So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s,” Obama said, referring to the idea of nixing the millions of dollars that go to oil companies and their petroleum research.
The grimace on Speaker Boehner’s face and his lack of applause on this point was hard to miss.
His remarks on the deficit were also lackluster and, in my opinion, not what many Americans wanted to hear from their commander in chief.
The president’s proposal to freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years, while noteworthy, is still not enough. Obama’s proposal would reduce the deficit by an estimated $400 billion over the next decade.
However, due to the fact that the United States has passed trillion dollar deficits in the past two years, the cuts need to be deeper and broader.
Another issue the president chose to address was corporate taxes.
“So tonight, I’m asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system. Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field. And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years, without adding to our deficit.”
Personally, I was quite impressed to hear a Democrat, especially Obama, even address the corporate tax rate and the fact that it’s one of the highest in the world.
However, Obama’s words on this will mean nothing until something is actually done about it. Time will tell if he acts on the corporate tax rates and if he does it in an effective manner.
A critical issue that the president failed to mention was the debt ceiling and the debate over whether or not it should be raised. This is becoming a divisive issue amongst Republicans and Democrats and with the formal debate set to begin soon, the president should have shed light on it in his speech.
One thing I did appreciate in Obama’s speech was his sense of optimism and pride in his country, something Republicans have criticized him for lacking.
“So yes, the world has changed,” he said. “The competition for jobs is real. But this shouldn’t discourage us. It should challenge us.”
The President is right. Now more than ever, Americans needs a sense of pride and optimism in their country.
Although many people are concerned with the great strides that countries like China have been making, Americans still need to find a sense of pride in their country. President Obama hit on that Tuesday night with his plea towards Americans to strive to keep up with the changing world.
It is clear that the President used his speech to lay a foundation for the remainder of his term, and as a way to kick off his 2012 campaign.
The day after his speech, the President flew to Wisconsin to begin an attempt to sell the words of his speech to the American people. Vice President Joe Biden was on the move as well. He headed to Indiana to speak at Ener1, a manufacturer of electric car batteries.
It will be interesting to watch the president for the remainder of the year and see if anything comes of the promises he made in the State of the Union.
One thing is for sure: the Republicans will be watching him like hawks, ready to admonish him for anything he fails to follow through with.