A few observations about POTUS address to Congress.

Having taken a strong antiemetic, I watched Pres. Obama’s address to the Joint Session of Congress.

First, people say this fellow is a great orator.  Great orators craft their speech for the occasion.  I can’t fathom how “up your game” and “you guys” was apt.

Were I in the Republican leadership, I would take the good parts of what he is proposing, and carve them out as individual pieces of legislation and present them for a vote.  Do what the President asks piece by piece, in separate pieces of legislation, rather than as a whole bill.

“I intend to take that message to every corner of the country.”  Given the tone with which it was delivered, did it sound to you like a threat?   Then he called on Americans to raise their voice.  That is what a demagogue does.   He purposely set traps for the opposition.  He wanted Americans to raise their voices.  That is what the Tea Party has been doing, no?  But I don’t think POTUS wants them around.

However, the way I heard it, this address degenerated into a shamefully obvious campaign speech in content and in tone.  Eventually he just bludgeoned the listeners in the chamber into silence.   This was the springboard for a campaign speech, as I heard it develop.  Shame.

Am I wrong?

One thing I was pleased about, was the pace.  Usually this fellow is a dreadful speaker.  He pace is sepulchral.   Perhaps that comes from too much reliance on using a text.  Tonight, however, the pace was determined by the need to finish before the beginning of the big NFL football game.

I think every network should have had a little ticking football in the corner, flashing in a screen bug.  THAT’ll get the attention of presidential candidates!

Please, Congress! Pass legislation – right away! – requiring that Presidents can only address Congress on the day of the opening of the NFL season.  I call on you to pass this right away!

At the end he managed to mention God when quoting a standard patriotic text… “one nation, under God”.  He said God!  He has cut it when quoting the Declaration of Independence and don’t even try to suggest he forgot it or slipped.

And even though the President finished a little early, the White House then put out a notice that there is some credible terrorist threat.  I may be cynical, but I think that had something to do with cutting off analysis.

So, what next?

UPDATE:

Are products stamped “Made in America” or “Made in the USA”? I’m asking.  Really.

And when POTUS uttered the sentiment about selling more American products abroad, was Jeffrey Immelt really sitting with Mrs. Obama?

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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69 Responses to A few observations about POTUS address to Congress.

  1. Kerry says:

    Thank you for watching and listening to…that man. How does the anti-emetic react a good Scotch? We didn’t watch or listen, as we’ve seen this speech before. The man is contrived, petulant, small and bitter. Oh my….

  2. markomalley says:

    You’re a better man than I am, Father. There is no amount of medication that could allow me to stomach a speech by the TOTUS. (for those offshore, TOTUS = Teleprompter Of The United States)

  3. Look… I left the combox open so that there could be some actual discussion, not name calling.

    And it is very hard to stomach his speaking style. His final sibilants make me crazy. The predictable rhythms make me want to pound by head on the wall.

  4. Jacob says:

    Made in the USA used to be a big deal. Not so much anymore with globalization.

    I remember those halcyon days of my youth during Gulf War I when I walked into my local Walmart and invariably heard the strains of “God Bless The USA!” while being surrounded by banners declaring how much of the crap that Walmart sold was made in the USA…

  5. Mike says:

    Maybe it’s the soggy, constant rain and clouds here in Maryland, but I just couldn’t muster the desire to watch.

    I think the President is a highly capable man (he gets the credit for getting bin Laden), but how sad it is to see his talent working for such things as abortion.

  6. Tim Ferguson says:

    I have seen both “Made in America” and “Made in the USA” on items – though it seems that the latter is more prevalent.

    To me, too, this seemed like a campaign speech, in both style and substance. Having a more impassioned delivery, with an emphasis on immediacy is something more in keeping with a stump speech than a reasoned address to the legislature. In some ways, it’s a shame the GOP did not opt to give a rebuttal speech – the first thing I would say, were I to be called on to deliver it, is, “The President has asked us to pass this bill right away, the same rush that he and his party used to pass the health care bill that we now know contains much that is contrary to the constitution, and the cost of which was greatly underestimated by the Democrats at the time. If there is such a need for this bill to be passed so quickly, why did it take the President three years to present these ideas. The urgency did not seem so urgent when viewed from an impending vacation to Martha’s Vineyard. We will stay true to our pledge to the American people to study the ideas carefully, allow the public to read and digest the bills and present their opinions to their representatives, and will not rush to implement another juggernaut sized boondoggle on the American people.”

    Now, there’s some quality football on…

  7. AnAmericanMother says:

    Mike,
    I’m gonna call you on that one.
    The SEALs got Bin Laden, and this administration (Obama and Biden in particular) promptly signed their death warrants by breaking OPSEC and giving their names to the media. This administration’s complete ignorance of (and hatred for) the military runs very deep. I cannot shake the impression that this was done in the same way and for the same reason that Captain Kidd used to pistol the hapless sailors who buried his treasure.
    And my son is a U.S. Marine, so I will call this president out for being an incompetent Commander in Chief and putting my son and his brothers in arms in harm’s way by his malignant self-aggrandizement.

  8. disco says:

    Made in the USA and Made in America are both used with about equal prevalence in my experience. USA in that context feels more politically neutral as if merely stating fact. This product was constructed within the borders of the united states. America seems more imperative to me. As though things made in America are inherently superior to the alternative and that true patriotic Americans ought only purchase such things.

  9. Geoffrey says:

    “Made in the USA”

    I am reminded of a scene from and old episode of “The Simpsons” where Marge responds: “No thank you.”

  10. Jason Keener says:

    The delivery and content of tonight’s speech was more of the same old song and dance. Who, by the way, doesn’t believe that the rich pay their fair share in taxes? The top 20 percent of income earners pay some 70 to 80 percent of all federal taxes! Moreover, tonight’s speech was another apologetic for big government. Who really believes that such an unwieldy apparatus is fit to do much of anything in an efficient and cost-effective manner?

    I’m also tired of hearing about how the government giving some tax breaks to employers for hiring certain employees is going to stimulate job growth. An employer is NOT going to hire employees because they might receive a one-time tax break or tax credit. Employers hire employees when there is plenty of work in the foreseeable future!

    Part of my solution: Cut the size of government by eliminating things like the Department of Education, etc., and let people have more of their own money to spend and invest as they see fit.

  11. digdigby says:

    Made in USA always. Made in America tends to forget that there is a South and Central America, even Canada is ‘America’. As for just plain ‘United States’…. there is also a United States of Brazil.

    Many things are still made in USA. For instance chopsticks. They send us mass produced electronics, appliances, textiles, etc. etc. and we send the Chinese – chopsticks and pornography.

  12. Seamas O Dalaigh says:

    Was he adressing the Congress or the voters? If this was his first speech of the forthcoming election campaign…

    James Daly

  13. pm125 says:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf:
    I’ll skip the address/speech with sympathy and understanding, but can forward some bar code information I recently received in one of those mass fw: emailings meant to help identify the origin, or at least that of the distributor, of products. It was sent with similar sentiment.

    BAR CODES:
    00 – 09 USA or Canada
    30 – 37 France
    40 – 44 Germany
    471 Taiwan
    49 Japan
    50 UK
    690 – 692 China
    What’s next might be a strategy of speaking in conjunction with professional ball game schedules to associate with enthusiasm?

  14. Charles E Flynn says:

    Complying with the Made in USA Standard, by the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Business Center.

  15. Jack Hughes says:

    Mr Keener a few points if I may (firstly I am British and as such speak as an outsider when talking American politics).

    1) How pray are you going to make sure that American kids are educated if you eliminate the Department of Education ? Not everyone possess the talent/ has the time/ can afford to homeschool. Also your argument assumes that all of those people employed by the department of education are parasitic, lazy beauracrats who are completely uncessercary to the functioing of soceity (sure in public service you can always find lazy people but the vast majority of public sector workers I know are not) BTW these people pay taxes and spent their money on homes, fast moving consumer goods etc etc, what will happen if you cut all thier jobs and take all of that money out of the economy?

    2) You must accept on principle that as the fedeal and state governments pass any laws including good ones e.g. those regarding environmental pollution they will have to employ people to regulate and enforce those laws, this in turn will lead to the need to hire more people to do the backroom work such as making sure that these people are paid on time etc etc

    3) As Mark Shea has pointed out on his blog numerous times the reason that (according to your figures) the top 20% of earners pay 70%-%80 of federal income tax is because they earn obscene amounts of money, I just don’t get what makes Mickael Vick worth £16 million a year, I probebly couldn’t spend that much in a lifetime btw they probebly pay lots of lobbyists to get special exemptions written into the tax code so they don’t actually pay as much as they ought to. Now we can debate the merits of particular tax codes till the cows come home but I do not see morally how you can justify paying a man $16 million a year for running up and down a field for a couple of hours, once or twice a week.

  16. ContraMundum says:

    I. I never watch speeches like this, but then no president would dare make a major announcement at such a high-profile speech. Important changes are hinted as trial balloons in small, unimportant speeches, or leaked to the press as rumors; that way the president’s team can determine the reception the announcement would receive. Speeches to the joint houses of Congress are intended to generate TV coverage of multiple standing ovations.

    II. I’d like to see a comparison between the ratings for Obama’s speech and tonight’s game between the Packers and Saints.

  17. Captain Peabody says:

    Jack Hughes-

    While I can’t speak directly to your other points, the general idea behind eliminating the Department of Education (which is not something I advocate) is not to abolish public schools, since all public schools in America are run by state and local governments, not the federal government. The Department of Education plays a very limited promotional and oversight role in American education, and eliminating it would in all likelihood have very little effect on public education in the US.

    I imagine its quite different in the UK, so its understandable you wouldn’t be aware of this.

    Otherwise, I have increasingly little to say about politics. God save us all.

  18. Jason Keener says:

    Jack Hughes,

    You raise some interesting points. First, the Department of Education should, for the most part, be abolished because educational issues can best be handled at the local and state levels. Second, I agree that there is a need to have a federal government, but the federal government should stick to carrying out tasks that can in no way be handled at lower levels. For example, the federal government is needed to raise an army and handle foreign policy. Much that the federal government does, however, is a waste of time and money. Lastly, I agree that Michael Vick gets paid too much money, but is it the federal government’s job to decide who makes too little or too much money? If Michael Vick wants to give his money away to the poor, that would be a great thing; however, Michael Vick should be able to make the decision where his money goes, not the federal government.

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    Jack,
    You DID ask, so here goes:
    1) The U.S. Dept of Ed is VERY recent- Jimmy Carter. Somehow people got educated before 1976. Seriously, education in the U.S. is traditionally a local matter, with some oversight on the state level. The federal department contributes very little, because “one size fits all” doesn’t work even on a state level, let alone nationally. That principle of subsidiarity again.
    2) This theory is simply the ‘broken window’ fallacy writ large. Tax money to pay the bureaucrats is taken directly out of the private sector. This hampers business investment. Plus the regulations themselves hamper business, as many are not beneficial but simply harass (ask Gibson about that). Plus since there is no worry about profit or productivity, there’s no incentive for efficiency and much money is simply wasted.
    3) The real problem is, who decides what’s “obscene”? It’s like this administration’s definition of
    “rich”. Obama demagogues in terms like yours – 16 million or some other astronomical figure, but when you look at the actual regulations and laws the definition of “rich” keeps creeping down, from $300k p.a. to $250, to $200 and now to $150k, which may sound like a lot of money but includes teachers, white collar managers and quite a lot of small tradesmen, especially family businesses that declare business income as personal income.
    Never mind that what a private company is willing to pay an employee is nobody’s business but the shareholders’. If the salary is out of line, the directors and shareholders will can those responsible. And even though it may seem trivial, you and I (and the vast majority of the population) can’t do what even your average professional sports player can do. That’s why their services are in high demand. And their careers do not last long and may end at any time due to injury.

  20. Mark S says:

    Mr. Hughes, I’d like to try to address your points.

    1) The department of education was created by president Jimmy Carter on October 17, 1979. Schools worked (arguably better) before the department was created. Kids will still be educated.

    2) Hiring more government workers will put more people to work, but the only source of income to pay these workers will be tax increases on those who don’t work for the government. That will be an overall drain on the economy. We need a growing private sector and a shrinking government.

    3) While I personally feel some people are paid more than they’re worth, who should be in charge of setting their wage, you? me? (I wouldn’t trust either of us with that much power). If the NFL doesn’t make enough revenue to pay what they do, they’ll go out of business. If they raise prices too high, they’ll lose revenue and go out of business. The only time that system doesn’t work is when the government gets involved and bails one of the parties out. Michael Vick gets paid what he does because someone is willing to pay him that much. It’s their money to do with as they wish.

  21. donantebello says:

    Experts are saying the numbers just aren’t adding up for his re-election. The great non sequitur in ’09 was: the economy is in trouble therefore….impose Universal Healthcare, $800 billion stimulus (which only %6 percent went to “shovel ready jobs”), and other rather corrupt social engineering programs. Now almost 3 years later, it’s too late to play political catch up.

    Perhaps his zeal for Keynesian/Statist reforms (done Alinsky style) will awaken us once and for all to begin removing the Socialist bread and circuses scaffolding which has been built around the Constitution for the last 80 years and begin the process of steering our Nation to a more virtuous, humane (abortion), educated (Classical education!!!), and God fearing future (like our Founders envisioned).

  22. AnAmericanMother says:

    And as for the percentages of income and tax, the problem with that facially attractive bit of ‘soak the rich’ is that there are not enough rich people to make any difference.
    If you confiscated ALL the assets (not just one year’s income – all their houses, yachts, cars, planes, retirement accounts, investments, and cash) of “the wealthiest Americans” – those who make $1M p.a. – about 2 tenths of one percent of the population- you could fund the government for, oh, about three weeks. There are not enough rich to tax.
    And Obama knows this full well. That’s why he keeps revising the definition of “rich” down through the middle class and well into the skilled laboring class.

  23. Tom says:

    This is how he uses a joint session of congress? Nothing about the speech justified that. A joint session! That’s really over the top. The DNC should cover the expense of that, not the taxpayers.

    “And it is very hard to stomach his speaking style. His final sibilants make me crazy. The predictable rhythms make me want to pound by head on the wall.”
    Thank you for putting into words what I have been hearing. Both the silibants and rhythms drive me nuts too, to the point that I can no longer bear to listen. I admire your intrepidity.

  24. Sword40 says:

    I feel its my duty, as a citizen, to have respect for the Office of the President. However, this particular holder of the Office has NEVER had my respect. I’ll leave it at that. If I go further I’ll need to head to confession ASAP.

  25. Jack Hughes says:

    An American Mother
    1) Ok I’ll grant you this one, I did assume that the DoE is the same as its British equivalent, although I do think it makes SOME sense for a such a body to exist even if its only goal is to set a general direction in terms of policy e.g. mandating the Truth of the Catholic Faith be taught on a national level.

    2) I’ll grant the broken window fallacy in some cases but surely leglislation making it illegal for profit hungry businessmen to dump toxic waste in the missasipi is a good idea, as is making sure that employers make sure the health and safety of thier employees is not comprimised (admitedly this has been taken to far in recent years but the principle is sound). Also having worked for two private companies in the past (both of which still exist) that the idea that private sector companies are engines of efficiency is a myth, granted local, state and federal employees are not motivated by profits, they are usually motivated by a sense of improving society, I should know as one of them is my mother.

    3) I view this very much as a societal problem and quite rightly one that cannot be fixed by leglislation but by straightening out the priorities in life i.e. the next one rather than this one. However I would argue that one cannot rely on the Austrian School of economics to solve these problems; look at NewsCorp, for decades it has been run as a personal fiefdom of Rupert Murdoch whose family exercises complete control over the board, completely disregarding the wishes of the average shareholder.

    As a general observation I do find Americans (including some Traditional Catholics) to be a little obsessed with individual freedoms and mammon to the point of it being almost a national religion, this worries me

  26. Peter in Canberra says:

    I’m sorry Father but it is somewhat amusing to see so many of your country’s citizens arrogating the term ‘America’ as if they were the only Americans.

    In similar vein, I would note that the most frequent decriers of ‘one world government’ are from the USA yet if you look at url’s and domain names, what do you find? Every other country has country specific domain identifiers but the USA doesn’t.

  27. jflare says:

    A few points, if I may:
    – If something or someone comes from Mexico, Canada, Peru, or some other place in the Western Hemisphere, it’s almost always referred to as “Mexican”, “Canadian”, “Peruvian”, or whatever. I realize that many despise admitting this, but I’ve never come across a large group of people who felt that “American” referred to something besides the United States. Most of those that DO refer to “American” in a broader sense almost always do so as a result of politically correct attitudes, not because of genuine understanding of people and typical references.

    – I didn’t watch the President’s speech tonight because I was at work, but I’d be surprised if I missed much. He didn’t impress me in a positive fashion in 2008, he hasn’t impressed me positively since, and I doubt he’ll do any better in the next year or so. I’m hoping that one of the Ricks (Perry or Santorum–was there a third?) will win, or else Michelle Bachman.

    – Peter, I see the url item quite differently. If anything, I’d say the “one world government” concern arises more sternly when a nation insists on placing .va, .uk, or .(place nation’s initials here) on the end of the url. I’ve never quite understood why that was; I’ve always thought .com, .edu. .org, or any of the other endings quite workable. You’re only limited by your own imagination with regard to what comes before it.

    – I’ve been wanting to see the Depts of Education AND Energy abolished since 1996. Keep in mind, most Education Secretaries have been..uncomfortable..with allowing parents to educate their own children. I’ve literally set in a room with people and heard about how we need this or that because “somebody might neglect their kids if we don’t”. Never mind that kids haven’t been allowed to learn Truth or even viable science in quite some time. There’s almost always a leftward leaning pitch to it.

    As for Energy, I groan every time I hear the President mention “green” technology. If this nation–and others–had allowed “green technologies” to develop, mature, and be prepared for consumer markets, we likely could’ve been close to energy independence some time past. As it happened, too many tried to require consumers to buy stuff they didn’t want, so many consumers have been needlessly alienated from being even willing to try using alternatives.
    Seems to me that if we’d knock it off with government mandates, we could allow creative and/or inventive people to develop technologies in ways that people might actually be willing to buy.
    (As a case in point, I have no confidence at all in giving tax breaks or whatever to utilities to encourage use of alternative fuels. I have GREAT confidence though, in building my own solar panels, the better to not only be better prepared in an emergency, but also possibly reduce my electric bill.)

    I think half our problem with alternative energy right now is that too many people dread being forced to use alternative means–and also being forced to change how they live their lives–and so they don’t want to touch alternative energy resources with a proverbial ten-foot pole.
    I think if the Dept of Energy would disband and allow people to discern better ways to accomplish the same goals, we’d find people much more amenable to using new technologies.
    Right now, the average consumer sees too much of Uncle Sam breathing down their neck if they come close.

  28. jflare says:

    BTW, I haven’t looked for “Made in the USA” or “Made in America” for some time, but I haven’t looked for them either. I remember quite a ruckus about it back in the 90’s though, because some WERE trying to promote the concept. Problem: Define “Made in the USA”?
    Does that mean assembled here from parts built elsewhere? Or does it mean assembled 50-60 % here, but 50 – 60 % elsewhere?
    I’m reminded of a few interesting examples:
    – My 9th grade teacher wanted to buy an American vehicle, so he bought a Ford pickup. Imagine his surprise when he opened the hood and saw “Mazda” written on the engine block!
    – At one time, some efforts came about to label Civic and Accord vehicles as American-made. It raised a ticklish question because, obviously, Honda is now and always has been a foreign company. Yes, they have (LARGE) American affiliates, but Honda HQ has always been in Japan. BUT..some of the parts were being fabricated in the US and the assembly actually happened here in the ‘States. So did they technically qualify as “American” or not? I honestly don’t know.
    Much the same question arose with Nissan. They’re technically led on the corporate level from Japan, but they’ve assembled their pickups in Tennessee for a long time.

    Put simply: I don’t think “Made in America” or whatever will apply very well today.

  29. Supertradmum says:

    The man has the voice of Saruman and can only be taken seriously as a neo-Progressive, ego-centric who believes that the powers that put him into office will stand by him. He is a puppet for greater minds than his and he knows it. As to campaigning, is that our tax money he is using for such a stage? And, he is so boring…same drum beat. But, sinister is the fact that POTUS cannot even see the hole he has carved for himself. When the tyrants finally take over, using his non-policies and so-called rhetoric to establish themselves on the destroyed cities of America, they will throw him aside as well as all the others they have used. I am convinced he will use some excuse to enforce martial law, perhaps when the Euro and dollar fall before the end of the year, and become the tin-pot-tyrant-flavor-of-the-month he really is. Delusion. He is completely out of touch with reality, and we know that reality is God and His Kingdom.

  30. Supertradmum says:

    AnAmericanMother,

    Thank you for pointing out the re-definition of “rich”. What Potus is doing is fanning the flames of “class warfare”, using the language of Marxism (remember Gramsci and Alinksy are his mentors-as they are for Rahm Emanuel and Chicago advisors) to undo the capitalist system and put into place tyrannical socialism. The recent outburst of the Daly contingency and the union workers shows how effected Potus has been in dividing the Nation even more than it was previously. Class warfare starts with words and the re-definitions of fiscal terms and labor terms. Thank God we have over a century of Popes to help us sort this out, but sadly, Potus is playing to an audience which cannot think except in terms of economic envy. For any Catholics here still confused about socialism, here is a good start http://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/catholic-perspective/what-the-popes-have-to-say-about-socialism.html

  31. Andrew says:

    And yet: he IS the President of the US, chosen by the voters and perhaps about to be chosen for a second term as well. And he won the catholic vote. And then he got invited to ND to be praised publicly. Qualis rector, tales qui reguntur. When we look at him, we are looking in a mirror at ourselves. We are for ever looking for some “technical” solutions to our problems but our sickness is not of a technical nature.

  32. AnAmericanMother says:

    Lot,
    It’s easy to call names, as you demonstrate.
    The president and the democrats have created this situation completely- the uncertainties of Obamacare and the wasted “stimulus” are primarily responsible.
    The Dems made a coordinated switch straight from blaming Bush (which they did in a Greek chorus for 3 years) to blaming the “tea party” (and you can pinpoint the date from a Gibbs presser that cued the Sunday shows), and never stopped in between. And you just follow along. . .
    As for our host, how would you know? More parroting. So predictable.

  33. AnAmericanMother says:

    Andrew,
    I understand your point. Tocqueville said much the same thing 200 years ago.
    But on the facts I beg to differ. It is true that far too many people voted for a pig in a poke.
    But much of that vote was whipped up by a complicit media by simultaneously trumpeting that a vote for Obama was a vote for racial healing and bipartisanship, and displaying a singular lack of curiosity about the man’s background, track record, and associates. Compare their failure to investigate his terrorist and Nation of Islam friends, his voting record in the state senate, his bar records, his academic non-performance, and his support for infanticide – with the meticulous turning over of every rock regarding every potential Republican candidate. (Perry made a “D” in college! and may have supported Gore 30 years ago! And Cain said something naughty about Islam! And dumping thousands of old emails from Alaska and inviting the public to help them dig for dirt . . . )
    I think many people are wise to the media now and will not be fooled again.

  34. benedetta says:

    I no longer watch these occasions or really follow campaigns with any regularity at all since having been viciously attacked for my beliefs during the last national election cycle and now again. (Vicious as in, not merely attacking one’s views or even vigorous debate but illegal methodology and organized tactics designed to impose). I suppose the vicious designs did have at least one desired effect upon me which was to encourage me from exercising my civil liberties. One has to protect minors when it comes to criminality, and, knowing what happened the last time one has an obligation to attempt to minimize the wrath in its effects towards innocents.

    But I am curious about this address in one area and wonder if those who watched it could help me out. Regarding the dialogue with prolife that was a basis of the faith based outreach during the last campaign and assured Catholics that one could vote in good conscience, was there some content in the speech for this area? I have no control over anything obviously and what I have to say will not impact, pretty much anything one way or another (contrary to the thugs’ beliefs) but I am still curious as to what the future holds in terms of voting the next time around and a Catholic conscience. I have no problem with this “taxing of the rich” if only this will help people who are struggling at every level who are not “the rich”. I guess we look to the economists as to whether that will do the trick.

    I hope that others recognize that the right to have an opinion on just about anything and to express it is a backbone of our democracy. It seems that some have become convinced somehow that this only applies to a select elite few and further that criminality to prevent others from expression is a good thing. It’s going to take some steps to remind people that totalitarianism isn’t something any honest liberal should seek or attempt to effectuate.

  35. iowapapist says:

    For those of you who watched the President’s speech, and fell asleep, the Packers won 42-34. The current President of the United States is certainly no orator. He can string together a few sentences with the help of a teleprompter, but is incapable of thinking on his feet. As an attorney, I’d love to see him attempt to practice our profession in a court room (although, I would feel incredibly sorry for his client).

  36. AnAmericanMother says:

    Don’t worry about the client- I think we could take judicial notice that he would have a solid ineffectiveness claim and/or a malpractice cause of action.
    But I agree that he would be in trouble from “ready for the plaintiff?” if not motions calendar.
    Who started the rumor that this man was “eloquent?”

  37. Kerry says:

    Can we agree that the only employment any governing body can ‘create’ is more public sector jobs? If the USPS, or the Department of the Interior, Fisheries division, or the TSA, or ATF (and really big explosions and fires) or the DEA had an IPO, what created wealth would any buyer get for his bucks? (Who here would change gold or silver into greenbacks just now?) A quote from the speech: “The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy….” Is the POTUS not a political animal? When he said “We push back twice as hard”, when he called Paul Ryan names after inviting him to sit in the front row several speeches ago, when he said, “I don’t have all the facts, but clearly the Cambridge police acted stupidly”, when he D.C.’s al fine, ad infinitum, are these not political acts inside the big tent? Yet he is above any posturing? We are supposed to believe that he has and had nothing to do with the “ongoing national crisis” and although he has done nothing to undo it, (one trillion dollars in ‘stimulus’ did what…), now if only everyone will do as he asks, the unicorns will magically vent skittles? And as far as the “mess we inherited from Bush”, did he gain the office at the reading of the will or the Electoral College? Who controlled all three branches of government from 2008-2010? When the admin. reported the exact opposite of what the “scientific experts” said about deep water drilling during the BP oil blowout in the gulf, that they told him to stop deep water drilling when they made no such recommendation, and $1,000,000 a day rigs began to move to the waters off Brazil & elsewhere, will this action bring employment or unemployment? When the EPA pulled after granting a permit for a coal mine in West Virginia, saying “West Virginians deserve clean water”, did those fine words butter any paychecks? When the same thing happened to Conoco Oil after they spent $1,000,000,000, (or was it $2,000,000,000) on exploration costs (I believe) off the coast of Alaska, was that the act of a Jobs President? My God, not too far from where I’m writing this there is a Hubert H. Humphrey Job Corps (corpse) building all recently spiffed up and renovated. Did the $$$$$ come from private capital and the investor got 3.4% return on his money? Spare me!! Unless and until the Feds get their massive black hole, sucks in surrounding light all off private property, we are in for more speechifying from the President, and hunkerdown to avoid the direct and indirect fire from the Ringmaster and his sideshow.

  38. Kerry says:

    Oh yes, and “We need to focus on jobs”

  39. Gail F says:

    Jason Keneer wrote: “I’m also tired of hearing about how the government giving some tax breaks to employers for hiring certain employees is going to stimulate job growth. An employer is NOT going to hire employees because they might receive a one-time tax break or tax credit. Employers hire employees when there is plenty of work in the foreseeable future! ”

    THANK YOU. I am sick of hearing that too. I own a small business and we are certainly not “sitting on reserves and refusing to hire.” We have had two people leave in the last two years and we haven’t replaced them — our customers have gone out of business or are cutting back. Most jobs come from small businesses. What will a one-time tax credit do for us? NOTHING. We aren’t going to hire anyone until we have enough work to keep them employed!

    And the idea of giving MORE money to people who hire veterans or those who have been unemployed for a certain number of months is just as stupid. We have record unemployment, and the government wants to pit the unemployed against each other? Oh, and extending unemployment benefits another YEAR is somehow “job creation”? Does this administration know how anything, anywhere, actually works????

  40. Gail F says:

    Andrew: President Obama is not a mirror of America. Americans are split right now between progressives — who largely approve of Pres. Obama — and everyone else. There is not a clear opposition position, the half of Americans who don’t like progressives are all over the place in what they believe and advocate. That’s why there is no clear Republican front-runner or plan. Also, don’t forget that even if the progressives (or the conservatives, for that matter) had a majority or supermajority among the voters, that fact would not make their positions “right.” Often in history the majority has supported ideas and governments that are wrong.

    re, the Department of Education: Foreign readers should know that all schools are paid for and operated by our states, and all school districts are paid for mostly from the taxes of the people and businesses in their district. The DOE mostly makes regulations and gives out grants (millions and millions in grants every year) to encourage better schools, teaching methods, testing methods, and so on. I think it ought to be eliminated or completely reformed. It takes in huge tax monies and does nothing (that I have seen) productive — the grants don’t seem to have amounted to much in the way of reform, because (in part) schools are operated according to fads in educational theory and many of them don’t do a good job of teaching. All the money in the world won’t change that. The idea of the DoE is a good one, but as it has not accomplished its goals it needs to reform or go — as do many other government programs and departments.

  41. The Egyptian says:

    Jack

    To clear up a misconception, the United States is and was founded as a FEDERATION of INDEPENDENT STATES, not a nation such as Britain, Federalism has taken quite a beating this last 75 years, under the Constitution of the United States, the Federal government has NO authority over education it is reserved to the States and people respectively. we are suffering from decades of governmental overreach, the federal dept of ed is just a sop to the unions and a drag on the economy, just like 80 percent of the fed gov. the only original purpose of the Federal Government was for common defense, treaties and the harmonization (regulation or to make regular) of trade between the Independent States.

  42. Widukind says:

    I have wondered again and again, why those who rally for the president, fail to see the missteps, duplicity, and prevarications of the man. Has real patriotism ceased to exist in these people? Everything is so enemical to what it is to be American. Again, why do the masses have to be stirred up, when the masses have already arose and spoken? Such numb-skullery! The sad thing is, my nieces and nephews in grade school can see right through him and his cabal. They get it, but why those who should know better, do not? For what have they sold their souls and for how much? Perhaps a bit of requoting from that champion of liberty Saint Thomas More – “but, for Obama”??

  43. The Egyptian says:

    Jack
    PS
    and to build a Navy to stop the forced conscription of US merchant sailors and ships by the ” British Navy” :>)

  44. The Egyptian says:

    At the risk of boring people,
    for those who do not understand the federation we live in,

    I strongly recommend Mike Church’s documentaries on the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, all based on the original writings, proceedings and letters from the actual events. (Yes he can be a little overt the top but well worth the time). This not what we Americans are taught in school.

    BTW he is a Catholic convert and a promoter of the Latin Mass, talks of it occasionally on his show.

    http://mikechurch.com/zenshop/
    I recommend the Documentary Trilogy Set: pricey but worth it

  45. Kerry says:

    From the ‘Speech': “What kind of country would this be if this Chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do?” If “this Chamber” does not adhere to the Constitution, this country would not be a Constitutional Republic but a tyranny. Or is the Prez hoping for a return to the principles of Dred Scott v. Sanford? These rigid ideas are numbered, Roman numerals I believe, I,II, III, …X.

  46. “Made in the USA”

    I’ve actually been getting more and more frustrated with how much I buy is made outside the USA, particularly China. I understand the chinese working man needs a job and income too, but between the political stance of some countries and the current economy in the US, I’m wondering how hard it would be to try to buy as much as possible from within the US.

    I did not watch the speech. Honestly, I can’t watch him without getting angry and upset and, well, it just becomes an occasion of sin for me so I don’t. I enjoyed the your and AmericanPapist’s tweets though. I got the gist of it.

  47. Imrahil says:

    I’ll only comment about his demand that “Republicans should put the country first”; seen in the light of one of the principal motivations for his politics, viz: That there be no division between Republicans and Democrats, but the United States of America.

    And I’m just thinking : what about replacing these words with gaullist and socialist, or with christian-democrat and social-democrat, and speaking them aloud in France, or Germany or Austria.

    Totalitarian. [In nature; I’ll say nothing about extent.]

    [Not that as to practical politics, Europeans wouldn’t as one man, with maybe some mental reservations from my own part, follow the social program of Pres. Obama. However, an open attack on the existence of political parties? ]

  48. Centristian says:

    Political thoughts aside, I (mildly) object to the forum that the President used to present his ideas. Presidents address joint sessions of Congress (joint meetings, actually) annually, on the occasion of the State of the Union. Extraordinarily, a president will ask to be invited to address Congress over something monumental, such as the outset or conclusion of war (I think, for example, of FDR after the bombing of Pearl Harbor or of George W. Bush after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11). “Here is my new jobs plan,” I think, falls short of the monumentality typically associated with such an address by the President. The need for it was a little less convincing, in fact, than his “Here is my new health care plan” address that he insisted Congress be summoned to hear in 2009.

    No, this President is not the first president to use this solemn forum to showcase politics. That doesn’t pardon his decision, however. This sort of thing cheapens the forum, and cheapens the presidency. It also makes it look, to me at any rate, as though the incumbent is playing president rather than being president.

    About something as mundane as “jobs” the President is not content to give a televised address from his desk in the Oval Office, or a press conference in the East Room. No. It has to be delivered with great fanfare and a big, dramatic entrance on the floor of the House of Representatives in the Capitol, Old Glory suspended behind the Speaker’s chair, and all of the President’s partisans standing and applauding him wildly every five minutes. The President’s first term is far from over at this point and this is already the second time he has done this.

    I am not an Obama-basher at all, but I do find this almost childish need of his to “play” president discouraging.

  49. Papabile says:

    Jack:

    The United States already are tied for first place in the world with Switzerland on how much we spend per student for school…. approximately $11000 per student in 2005 dollars when the OECD last assessed this.

    If one were to eliminate the Department of Education, one would save a minimum of $1 trillion over ten years.

    Current FY12 President’s Budget requested $48.797 billion in Non-Pell Grant Discretionary Budget Authority.

    If you can’t eliminate it, simply block granting those dollars to each state on the basis of population would be the most efficient means of disposing of the money and would allow for the elimination of a whole bureaucracy.

    If you eliminated Pell Grants, you would add another 36 billion annually to that number. and taking the FY11 number over ten years, you would save approximately $1 trillion dollars.

    If you went even further and reformed the mandatory outlays under Mandatory Budget Authority, you could collect/scope out another $70 billion on an annualized basis.

    Additionally, if you put student loans back into the private sector, as they were up until two years ago, you could probably save another $42 billion on an annualized basis.

    Public school (the inverse of British public schools) enrollment totals approximately 50 million students. If you simply block granted lets say $100 billion a year on a student population basis directly to the schools (not the states), there would be $2000 more spent per child.

    With that said, I don’t believe money delivers results in education at all. Over the past ten years we have more than doubled funding for it, and what are the results? They are still pathetic. Educational attainment and results are directly related to family structure, not per pupil expenditures.

  50. irishgirl says:

    As Sword40 said, I also respect the office of the President, but I do not respect the current holder of the office.
    I did not watch the speech, since I have no TV at home. My only media at home is the radio, which I listen to overnight while in bed. Whenever I hear Obama’s voice on a news report, I immediately turn the volume down–I can’t stand him. Why were Americans-and especially Catholic Americans-so stupid as to vote for this guy in the first place!
    AnAmericanMother@8:27 09/08: You go, girl! You tell ‘em!
    iowapapist: thanks for giving the final score of the football game!

  51. amenamen says:

    Speeches by politicians are a curious thing, in general. It would be interesting to study them as a “genre” of human communication.

    Campaign speeches are odd things, but I am almost always baffled by the phenomenon of a Presidential Address to Congress. What exactly is the purpose of such a thing? Entertainment, drama, patriotic “liturgy”, crowd control, self-promotion, salesmanship, persuasion, education, inspiration, edification, grand-standing …? It is hard to categorize as one thing in particular. The public policies and ideology of the politician are already known by everyone in Congress, and by most of the citizens. If you already agree or disagree with those policies, you are unlikely to be persuaded or changed by one more speech. If you do not already have an opinion, where have you been?

    Our politicians are rarely if ever seen as real “leaders,” much less as “teachers.” They are in positions of power because they have learned to compromise, and because they have raised a lot of money from powerful supporters. Who looks to a politician for wisdom? Who listens to a speech given by a politician, actually looking for a new idea?

    There is a certain “entertainment” value in them. It is fun to watch the ritualized and scripted behavior. Congressmen stand up – on cue – and applaud for minutes on end, or they sit on their hands. They smile, or they frown. Once in a while, a new phrase will enter the English language, or a “gaffe” will become fodder for jokes.

    If I listen to such a speech, or, more likely, read the text later on, it is usually to find out “what is he up to now?”

  52. teomatteo says:

    The Made in America thing gave me a quick uncomfortable recollection. Last year I went into a local cycling shop to purchase an expensive road bike. Carbon/Fiber, with very nice components, etc. An investment that i would use thru my retirement. High tech, advanced metals, etc. Made in China. Then I walked accross the parking lot to a big box home store and bought a rat trap for some pesky varmints. You quessed it. Proudly made in the USA. As I drove away with my purchases I couldn’t help but think that our Country is in trouble if China is going to sell us high tech stuff and we are left with $1.97 ‘rat traps’. I quess i took this post down a… no… i wont.

  53. Martial Artist says:

    I must confess that my wife and I took even stronger anti-emetics, which worked to perfection. Last night being one of the first three Thursdays of the month, rather than watching the speech, we attended our scheduled Latin class at our parish, preceded on account of time constraints by a modest dinner out at a nearby public house, my wife having picked me up from work for that purpose. Thus, neither of us had to strain to hold back any rising gorge which might have been occasioned by watching (or even listening to) the referenced speech. As I stated above, it worked to perfection. And, not only that, it advanced our (still somewhat limited) skills in reading Latin.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  54. mrose says:

    A lot of energy and rhetoric in the combox toward defending a bad idea, and seeking to fix something inherently broken.

    This country was founded by freemason deists who promoted religious indifferentism; by people who wanted the opposite of what served Europe well for a good long time: Catholic monarchy; by people who trumpted freedom above all, and at that a “freedom” which means I can do whatever I want, everyone else be damned. That would be the same sort of “freedom” routinely condemned by our present Holy Father.

    Yes, POTUS is a man promoting much evil. Yes, he is much worse than many of his predecessors. Yes, this country is worse off than it has been in the past.

    But you can’t fix something that is inherently flawed.

  55. JohnE says:

    ‘Are products stamped “Made in America” or “Made in the USA”? I’m asking. Really.’

    Neither. I’ve looked at several items in my house. Products appear to always be stamped “Made in China”.

  56. Imrahil says:

    Dear @ Centristian,

    well, jobs are not mundane but the second – during a war, the third – most important thing a politician has to do. (The first is restrain oneself from counteracting natural law and the constitution.)
    (European perspective.)

  57. JohnE says:

    My mistake. Some products are stamped “Product of China” as well.

  58. JohnE says:

    @Imrahil, @Centristian,
    Speaking of mundane jobs: http://www.savagechickens.com/2011/09/the-mundane-spider-man.html

  59. Martial Artist says:

    @Mike,

    You wrote:

    I think the President is a highly capable man (he gets the credit for getting bin Laden).

    I fear I must dissent. He may get (and may even deserve) the credit for approving the mission to take bin Laden, but the people who deserve, and ought to get, the credit for actually “getting bin Laden” are in the Intel community and the Special Warfare community. I rather doubt that any President faced with the option of attempting to capture bin Laden (or kill him if he were to resist capture) would have declined authorizing the attempt, even given the risk of upsetting relations with Pakistan.

    Credit where credit is due, please.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  60. Gail F says:

    amenamen: Presidential addresses to Congress originated in the days when Presidents actually had something to say to Congress that they needed to hear all at once. In his speech, President Obama said he wanted to talk to the American people! So Congress had nothing to do with it, and I hope that Congress (Democrats as well as Republicans) are getting sick of being ordered around by a President who doesn’t seem to realize that he is CO-EQUAL with each branch.

    As a member of said American people I dutifully gave him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, I thought, he really DID have something to say. And when he started the speech — so different from his usual style — I was willing to look past the rhetoric and see if he did, actually, MEAN that everyone should work together to fix the jobs crisis. I was willing to go along with that. But no. “This bill” he referred to 17 times is not even written yet! He has had almost three years to come up with a plan, and he doesn’t even have one on the day of the big speech! He lost me when he said his jobs bill would pay teachers. Teachers are paid by the states, out of money they collect in taxes — money that isn’t there. So that means more federal money spent on government workers. Then he said he would “pay” for it by adding the $450 billion to the cuts (over the next ten years) that have not been found yet! Excuse me, Mr. President, “You figure out a way to pay for it” is not what “paid for” means. Then he went on and on about all the things he wouldn’t do to fix it. So… his version of “all of us need to set aside politics and work together” means “anyone who doesn’t agree with me needs to set aside politics and do what I say.”

  61. tealady24 says:

    This so-called president is NO orator! That is the first lie about him put out there by the media!
    He is out to get re-elected at any cost. He is a secular humanist, who loves marxism, and who preaches black liberation theology to assuage his reparation bent!
    Just listen to him, (if you can stand it, and I never can), and he sounds like a wannabe black preacher. And he would know about them, as he sat for TWENTY years plus in the prescence of one “preacher” who spouted nothing but hate towards America!
    In the coming days, we acknowledge the 10-yr anniversary of 9/11. Let’s think on things worth meditating on.

  62. Imrahil says:

    Dear @mrose:

    not regarding that no country is inherently flawed – or what would you say about Rome in the year 310? – : no, your country was not inherently flawed. Your country was founded “with Catholic aid”, as Pope Leo XIII remarks, by the protection of the King of the Fille Ainée de l’Église, brother-in-law to the Emperor-elect of Rome and ally to the exiled legitimate (and Catholic) heir to the British throne, in accordance with the will of its people. No, your country is not inherently flawed.

    It is problematic enough that Europeans seem to count equality more than liberty. After all, at least in theory the alternative to liberty is statolatry.

  63. Centristian says:

    @Imrahil:

    “well, jobs are not mundane…”

    Mine is. ;^)

    At any rate, a speech on the subject of a president’s “jobs program” doesn’t rise, in my opinion, to the level of an address to a joint meeting of the Congress of the United States. The subject hasn’t sufficient gravitas, if you ask me.

    @GailF:

    “Presidential addresses to Congress originated in the days when Presidents actually had something to say to Congress that they needed to hear all at once.”

    They originate with the Constitution of the United States, actually, which mandates that the president from time to time inform the Congress concerning the state of the Union. This was quickly interpreted to mean an annual report, and it was delivered by the president in person until Thomas Jefferson became president.

    President Jefferson was of the mind that the whole excercise smacked too much of monarchy, resembling, as he felt it did, the State Opening of Parliament at Westminster. Jefferson abandoned the practice, therefore, and sent his annual, hand-written message to Congress by way of a messenger. It was then read by the clerk on the floor of the House. This practice was followed until President Woodrow Wilson revived the antique, pre-Jeffersonian tradition of delivering the State of the Union address in person.

    “In his speech, President Obama said he wanted to talk to the American people! So Congress had nothing to do with it, and I hope that Congress (Democrats as well as Republicans) are getting sick of being ordered around by a President who doesn’t seem to realize that he is CO-EQUAL with each branch.”

    Well, his branch is co-equal with the other two, but individual Congressmen, Senators, and judges are not co-equal with the President of the United States, of course. The President is not merely the head of the executive branch, he is the head of government and, beyond that, our Head of State. He is also, of course, Commander-in-Chief of the uniformed services of the United States.

    I agree with your first point, however: he should not have asked to be invited to address Congress in order to give a speech to the nation on this subject. He could well have done this in the format of a prime time press conference. I applaud the Republicans for not even bothering to offer a televised rebuttal.

  64. DisturbedMary says:

    At least he didn’t use his class warfare hammer to incite the mob. Increasingly our Government reminds me of Hotel Rwanda. I’m waiting for the S.E.I.U, the unions, the Congressional Black Caucus, the state media to call Republicans cockroaches and the Tea Party Tutsis.

  65. Mdepie says:

    It is no suprise that the readers of this blog, myself included, would not be fans of President Obama. (His vigorous pro-abortion support basically is all you need to know, this alone makes him unacceptable, the fact that he is obviously doing relentless harm to the country by decimating the economy is just yet another reason to vote him out.)

    I find it suprising that anyone needs to watch his speech’s about the economy . We know what he will say . Mr. Obama is a leftist. As such he believes the government elite being intrinsically superior to the rest of the country should control things, distribute the wealth and so forth. He Governs this way. Obviously then in his view, the way to deal with the economy is to tax the “wealthy”, and borrow/ print the money needed to fund programs, initiatives he deems “worthy”. His speech predictably again advocated this fundamental approach , which he has taken since the day he was elected. Yawn…… Oh yes the stock market dropped again today, sorry about that pension Grandpa or that college fund junior….. lots of 401K s and 529s taking a hit today.

    First it should be obvious , this kind of approach does not work, simple reason is that any stimulous money spent by the governement must first be extracted from the private sector. This process is inherently less efficient then the private sector directly spending it, so dollar for dollar the government must borrow/tax more than it can then reinject into the economy and because of the limited knowledge of those doing the injecting compared to the much greater knowledge of the hundreds of millions of people who make up the free market this process ends up being a net loss. There is ample empirical evidence to demonstrate this. The idea that this kind of approach can work is obviously wrong otherwise every poor country around the world could borrow/ tax themselves into wealth. There would be no third world debt crisis or looming Greek bankruptcy. Of course some of the earlier posts say sort of the same thing, I have a slightly different point.

    Too often these economic issues are debated at the level of the philosophical, we should help the poor… etc rather than the empirical. Even when those of us with a conservative bent respond to a liberal we often argue on a philosophical level about limied government, or from a Catholic viewpoint the merits of subsidiarity and so forth .. Valid as all this is I would suggest a differnet tactic. I agree we should help the poor, improve education etc etc.. If large government programs did this.. well then philosophical arguments aside Most people would support them. In reality however, the burden of proof should be on the left to show that some government run program is actually not only achieving this goal but doing it better than the private sector would. Is this not a commonsense approach?
    Ok lefties… Its like this.. In God we trust, all others and you in particular must show data…..

    I think as part of this initiative we should help out our Brothers and Sisters on the left who struggle with how to choose between the Republicans who “agree with them on social issues versus the Democrat, who is more with them and supposedly the Church on the “social justice issues”. (ie they advocate economic policies that ostensibly favor the “poor”.,) It seems some of the Bishops struggle with this issue as well. Usually we try to address this issue on the level of philosophy, by noting something like the fact that abortion, being murder deprives someone of a basic right and economic issues come later. Well true enough, but this approach seems to not being terribly effective, otherwise Obama would not capture about 50% of the Catholic vote. Nexxt time I would simply point out that if you really care about the poor, education etc… you might want to look at the actual effects of the policies, and see if after them the poor are better off. Obama has been in place for 3 years and had a totally veto proof congressional majority for the first 2 years… So are there a lot fewer poor people? What policy did Obama enact that objetively helped poor people? . Think hard… I do not mean that can be described in terms of trying to help poor people, I am not talking the intentions of the policy… but rather the objective measureable effects.

    See.. It is easy to demonstrate that the programs the left likes are at best worthless and may be harmful. Just try this factoid on for size. Since the great society was enacted around 1965, the poverty rate has remained flat, and in fact the rate of decline is poverty that was occuring prior to 1965 was slowed dramatically. Given this fact our Brothers and Sisters deeply concerned about “social justice” can vote in favor of the most conservative candidate available with a clear conscience. This will not just help afford some protection to the unborn but maybe will help stop harming the poor. It seems the Democrats want to kill the fomer and further impoverish and crush the latter. Maybe we can hlep both by stop placing the left in places of power.

    Memo to the USCCB, maybe you folks might want to look at some of the major Cites run by Liberals for any number of decades, places like Boston, and Philadelphia, and Chicago and check out if Liberalism has made any of the inner cities in these places better. I think the answer is clear.

    No more Obama speechs for me, I know how toxic the Democrats are and prefer to avoid needing the antiemetics, but I will be fighting to have Mr Obama lose his reelection in 2012. We have had all the change the country can survive.

  66. rakesvines says:

    re: passing pieces of his proposal, a GOP senator said something similar this am at WTOP.
    re: the threat, you betcha like a school bully.
    re: the campaign, without a doubt. He’s running out of time and the DNC might be considering plan B – HRC. Have you noticed him kiss Sebellius but diss Hilary after the speech?
    re: overall, it is indicative that he’s lost it and Biden might have to relieve him of his duties. Come on, passing a bill that has not been written without any justification that it will have a different effect from an identical earlier fiasco and with no source of funding? I call it as I see it i.e. “nuts”.

  67. PaterAugustinus says:

    @Jack Hughes:

    Mr. Hughes, you asked:
    “How pray are you going to make sure that American kids are educated if you eliminate the Department of Education ?”

    In the USA, public schools are funded and operated almost entirely on the local level. The Dep. of Ed. exists mostly as a bureau of agitprop and selective benevolence, apportioning massive grants (often as a political stratagem) and pushing ideological fads in education from the federal level. Eliminating the department would do nothing to harm education, but would only help it. The Public Schools will stay open, with local support and accountability.

    You went on to say: “Also your argument assumes that all of those people employed by the department of education are parasitic, lazy beauracrats… [but] these people pay taxes and spent their money on homes, fast moving consumer goods etc etc, what will happen if you cut all thier jobs and take all of that money out of the economy?”

    First off, these are public workers, and so their wages are payed by taxpayers. Thus, if their jobs are cut, the amount of money in the economy is not lessened. The money that would have been spent on their jobs remains with the taxpayers, in the economy. What’s more, having government jobs is worse than having no jobs, since private sector jobs generate revenue, and public sector jobs simply consume revenue. Thus, if those DofE employees lost their jobs as part of a pattern of massive cuts in government, it wouldn’t be long before they would have better, real, wage-producing jobs waiting for them, as the taxpayers and economy would retain all the money that had been available for their salaries, but now going towards wage-creating new jobs.

    “You must accept on principle that as the fedeal and state governments pass any laws including good ones…they will have to employ people to regulate and enforce those laws…”

    Yes and no. First off, we don’t need to hire people to write regulations; I don’t like it when quangos enact regulations with the force of law, that don’t come up for direct debate in the legislative bodies. Second, while some additional personnel may need to be hired to enforce new laws, two qualifications mitigate this: a) most new laws can and should be enforced by the law enforcement personnel already extant; b) to the extent that some additional personnel may be necessary to avoid stretching police, etc., too thinly, it would be better to work within existing systems, rather than create massive beaurocracies with nothing better to do than harrass the citizenry out of pettiness or boredom. I’d much rather the police coordinate with a very limited federal task force on a special kind of enforcement, than create an EPA stuffed full of moonbats on a crusade. I recently read a very interesting article about bats in UK churches, for example…

    “As Mark Shea has pointed out on his blog numerous times the reason that (according to your figures) the top 20% of earners pay 70%-%80 of federal income tax is because they earn obscene amounts of money.”

    That’s fine; but they should pay the same percentage as other people. That’s the beauty of a percentage – the rich do indeed pay “more,” but we aren’t unjustly hounding them like Marxists.

    “I just don’t get what makes Mickael Vick worth £16 million a year… but I do not see morally how you can justify paying a man $16 million a year for running up and down a field for a couple of hours, once or twice a week.”

    Well, luckily enough, Michael Vick and his salary is none of my business, and none of yours. If he wants to be charitable or take a pay cut, good for him; but it’s not our business, and it’s certainly not the State’s. The only thing that could conceivably be our business, is whether the other workers at the stadium are not being paid a wage commensurate with their work. If a CEO makes millions on the back of his struggling workers, that it a legitimate cause for us to fight. If his workers are paid a fair wage and his business just happens to be very profitable, good for him if he makes a good salary.

    I personally would like to see CEOs, football players, etc., spread the profits of their institutions more generously throughout the worker pool. I think it’s shameful that CEOs now make 200 times what their lowest workers do, whereas they used to make 20 times their lowest workers’ wages. I would even support some legislation that encouraged companies to more equitably apportion their profits, internally… perhaps by introducing a salary-ratio cap (not a salary cap itself) or giving more generous tax rates to companies that give workers a fairer share of profits. This kind of legislation doesn’t punish a business for being successful, and it doesn’t decide how much money is “too much” for a person to make. It only punishes businesses for being grossly unfair to their own workers. CEOs are still encouraged to make their business very successful and to increase their own salaries, so long as all their employees’ ships rise with the tide. But we mustn’t support legislation that decides how rich is “too rich,” and then tax these people at unfair rates so as to give their money to ‘more deserving’ people through the wasteful and abusive (and equally corrupt) federal beaurocracies. That is class warfare. It de-incentivizes productivity and risk, and incentivizes laziness and poverty. It turns rich and poor against each other, rather than showing them their inter-dependence.

    But, then again, we all know that the highest guides of the Progressive movement, don’t actually care a whit for anybody. They *want* class warfare to erupt into actual unrest, because this sets the stage for their perennial goal: the seizing of power.

  68. Imrahil says:

    Dear @mdepie,

    I agree with you in principle [i. e. that the empirical facts are worth studying, and I generally think the same as you about the probable results of the study], but, sorry to say, not as to effectiveness of this way of approach.

    Tainted by the Fall, man does things which are intrinsically (i. e. roundabout, philosophically) wrong (which is the definition of a sin).

    But I wonder whether there isn’t an inclination man has even more than one to sin. And that is to prefer action to inaction – yes, even ineffective action to effective inaction – if facing an evil.

    Preachers (and policemen) may, step by step (or brick by brick as the saying is around here), succeed in convincing men against doing philosophically wrong things they rather would do. I do have doubts whether any will ever succeed in convincing men against doing ineffective thinks they rather would do. (Highschool students may, as a mere excuse, tell their history teacher they want to learn useful things. They don’t mean what they say. Teach them useful things and they’ll be much more bored.)

  69. Imrahil says:

    A short correction: “If facing an evil” was meant: “that really is felt an evil”. Of course there is also a heavy inclination, which maybe does not always deserve harsh theological terms, of preferring one’s own comfort against an insecurity of things to do.

    This, coming to think of it, might be the reason why leftists ask so much for compassion with the poor, and the like.

    However, as this is a fight, the “liberal in the European sense of the term” (“conservative in the US sense of the term”) does not sin if counting on the votes of the comforted. Or so I think.