SOTU — No JFK

My take on the President’s Sate of the Union address.

Positive
Immigration reform. It gives me hope that the President said, or at least strongly implied, he would support reasonable immigration reform that would secure the borders, and provide a path to citizenship to those already here on many of the important conditions Senator Rubio and others have put forth. He expressly included a condition that current illegal immigrants would should undergo background, or at least criminal history checks, and would not get in ahead of those already legally here.

Maybe positive
Tax reform. At the very least, the tax code should be simplified. Taxation should be should be for revenue only and not to encourage activities deemed worthy or discourage those deemed otherwise. That is probably a tall order, because of the various lobbies in Washington who really make that call. Some movement in that direction should be encouraged. I would favor a consumption tax like a national sales tax or VAT, but only if the income tax were scrapped.

Infrastructure enhancement. One of the obvious, and Constitutional, functions of the national government is to construct and maintain public highways, whether land, water, or air, for foreign and interstate commerce. The mythical “shovel-ready” projects touted four years ago did not materialize for the most part. Some of the roadblocks (pun intended) for infrastructure projects are interminable environmental studies and assessments, and other bureaucratic nonsense. If the President really wants to help move things along in this regard, executive orders to cut that red tape would doubtless help.

Negative
Almost everything else. The President would like to further pursue the big government agenda. That means more government spending and necessarily more taxing or borrowing. Raising the federal minimum wage was the worst proposal; if passed, it will result in even more unemployment, and drive offshore more entry level jobs where young workers can learn a skill and get experience.

Insofar as the global warming/climate change bugaboo is concerned, the President should take a page from the 11th Century King Canute who supposedly set his throne by the shore and commanded the tide not to rush in. It did, thus demonstrating the limits of kingly power. I have little doubt that the earth is warming; I am just not convinced that human activity is a major cause. Even if it is, the only effective means to stanch it would be to reduce the population – of the entire earth – or make us all move into caves and subsist on raw nuts and berries, or perhaps Soylent Green. Neither will happen. Half the world’s population lives in Asia, and they are interested in economic growth, not contraction. The way to deal with the prospect of a warmer earth and its effects is to learn to adapt to it.

The cheerleading performance regarding gun control measures that deserve a vote was hokey. I am sure many of the Democrat red state senators up for re-election next year broke a bit of a sweat during that part. For a gun control measure that really works, at least for the everyday incidents of street crime if not for the occasional lunatic, see Holman Jenkins’ essay at Gun Control That Works

President Obama began his State of the Union speech with a reference to President Kennedy SOTU 51 years ago. I was around when JFK gave that speech; I heard it, as well of many of his others. President Obama is no Jack Kennedy (although Michelle is probably grateful for that in one respect).

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