A Personal Reflection on the 2012 State of the Union Address
It is very revealing to know that Republican candidate Mitt Romney only closed his off-shore account in Switzerland in 2008. Was this out of a gesture to the Federal Government initiative to make Americans pay their due taxes? Was this out of loyalty or an underlying urge to set a background for his run for the Office of the Presidency in 2012? Candidate Newt Gingrich demanded that Candidate Mitt Romney release his tax papers about two weeks ago. Mitt Romney initially bulked; however, the pressure of the primary results in South Carolina probably forced him to do the right thing. The questions that continue to arise in our minds are: How many Americans are out there dodging or attempting to dodge American Taxes, or take advantage of the loop holes in the US Tax Codes by opening up foreign accounts? How much revenue is being lost by US Treasury from this practice? Do these rich Americans consider this practice a wrongdoing?
In a world, where the Security and Exchange Commission, wiped the slate clean for life-time criminal corporations with repeated infractions, what is wrong in the President advancing that members of congress do not continue to take advantage of insider information in amassing wealth at the expense of the nation and treasury. In a time when the Security and Exchange Commission treats Wall Street criminals, who have nearly brought the whole world's economy to a grinding halt, as bosom friends, what is wrong in advancing the notion that there is deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street? What exactly should we expect when watch dog agency like the Security Exchange Commission is suspected of systematically destroying records of preliminary investigations of bad conduct on Wall Street that continue to destroy America's Economy while enriching the few one-per-centers? How do we ensure that everyone is paying their fair share of taxes when staffers of watchdog agencies are being directed by their bosses to dispose of documents that can show how fraud was committed during the mortgage debacle that nearly brought America's economy into complete destruction. There just need to be a place for accountability if we are to dig ourselves out of this rot we have found ourselves because so many people, institutions, state and federal regulatory agencies, have continued to look away while atrocities are being committed by rich investors and Wall Street gurus. Do we have to wait longer until these greedy investors cart the whole house away?
The President made a case for a smarter and efficient government. This is hardly new. However, the unique tying of this proposal to government spending on infrastructure gets to the core of stimulus spending. Was the federal stimulus spending of the past three years effective and efficient? Did it create jobs and save the nation money? Did it create avenue for the government to get Americans back to work and hence, paying taxes once again? Can we have smarter and efficient government by spending our way out of a recession? These are important questions and ones to be asked in the debate of the upcoming general elections? For now, for whatever reason, not-enough-stimulus investment, misdirected stimulus spending, or inefficient management of stimulus funds releases, there are causes to suspect that we have not been able to truly capitalize on federal stimulus investment to create enough jobs for many Americans out of work.
Was the President pushing the boundaries of political jujitsu and general anticipation of debate questions over his management of the economy in the past few years? You know, the President may be attempting to leverage the chances of questions regarding the under performance or sluggish economy in the upcoming general debate? Thus, for some, he is actually setting a stage for his reelection campaign with this speech and proposal. Many Neoclassical economists probably side with the President that during recession, government spending ultimately has to replace lost private consumption or spending to stimulate economic recovery; however, Monetarists will argue otherwise. What is probably iffy though is this: we can hardly achieve efficiency in stimulus spending when the economy is in a slump or tail spin and the government is hardly attempting to effectively monitor fully, if the size of spending is adding to the nation's deficit, disproportionately.
The Sharks in the Republican Party are probably circling around the speech, attempting to pin holes in some of the touted achievements of the Obama Presidency. However, can they really pin a hole in the fact that Obama got Osama, while Republicans were unable, after nearly spending the nation to penury? This is not a made up fact, Obama has the best foreign policy successes of our time; some to be envied by many past Republican Administrations. Imagine, clearing out the 'big kahunas' of the Al Qeida group; taking out or replacing some dictators in the Middle East; and ending the Iraq war! Just about the time he was giving this speech, his Navy seals were rescuing another American and Danish hostage from pirate marauders in Somali. Obama is King at keeping the fire under the feet of the enemies of progress no matter where they are across the globe.
According to Republicans, the monster in the President's speech is the tone that the Federal Government can and will do everything for everyone; noting that the President is seeking to finance this huge aspiration by taxing those rich Americans currently paying less than 15% taxation on their investment earnings. This include the aspirant Mitt Romney and many who are now called the one-per-center by the Occupy Wall Street Group. In the middle of the speech, the President classifies himself as part of those that need to be taxed to provide for those lacking and mostly in the middle-income group! Democrats insist also that this proposal is not a class war, rather, it is an attempt to make America's Tax Regime fairer and balanced. The populist case or theology of taxation advanced by President Obama are long overdue. Some taxpayers claim to have subsidized the wealth of many in the one-per-center group; and thus, it is time for this group to support the nation in a time of financial stress. A theology that many Democrats are saying: AMEN!
President Obama's State of the Union speech calls for funding of education and training for many more Americans; a proposal that has been christened as a home-run by education advocates. To some great extent this is very true. Many states have seen decline in educational funding and high school graduation rate. For example, in my home state of Washington, the governor is proposing to cut higher education funding by 50% this budget year. This is very disheartening and the the President's proposal is heartening, as it sorts to demonstrate how important increased educational investment is essential to manpower development and economic growth. We need to put people back to work, we need to train workers of the future; but more importantly, we need at least a workforce with a minimum of high school diploma. We need better educational and training opportunities for many of our citizens. This is why this proposal is the jewel of this speech. President Obama makes a case for a well educated work force that can stand the huge competition from advancing and developing nations of Asia!
It goes without saying that an advancement calling that we give tax breaks to manufacturers making products within our shores or those willing to relocate to economically depressed areas within the states, is in order in the dynamics of the economy. In fact, tax reforms that could make a change in manufacturers' and corporations' behaviors are long overdue. Lawmakers and political campaign expediencies make this proposal imperative. Some Democrats and Republicans have indicated that faulting this proposal will be tantamount to being unpatriotic. For a host of reasons, it is about time the administration start rewarding those businesses that create jobs in America, considering what we have been through recently in this nation. So, the proposal to give a tax break to committed corporations to our economy and jobs creation, must be applauded.