Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My State of the Union Address

President Obama has a State of the Union Address tonight. Although it's Constitutionally mandated that the President deliver a status report on the country, the past few years it's become less and less of a report and more and more of a PR statement from the chief executive. Seriously, what President in his right mind is going to come out on national television and say, "The country's in the crapper and I can't fix it"? Yet, at some point, we do need to be honest about where we are as a country. Since neither major party will do it, I'll do it.

My fellow Americans, we face difficult times economically. This is a direct result of a failure of leadership, Democrat and Republican. We have mortgaged our future as an economic superpower and the time for payment is coming due.

Much of our problem stems from one of our so-called allies, China. Right now, China owns a lot of our debt and holds something else that has a bearing on our financial future: a desire to see us fail. Of course, there are plenty of people who scoff at this notion, suggesting that China would hurt itself if it allowed us to fail. That is true for now, but there will come a point at which China will no longer need us because they will be able to subsist without us. When that point comes, nothing on Earth will stop China from calling in our debt and ruining us.

For the better part of two decades, we have taken the wrong approach with China. From George H. W. Bush to Barack Obama, China has been allowed to gain more and more economic power on the world stage because we have turned a blind eye to their atrocious human rights record. For years, we held their human rights record above their heads as a carrot to try to bring them forward. Since we've abandoned that approach, China has had no incentive to improve. Now, they rival the US in sheer economic strength, and they are not afraid to flex it.

There is a solution, though, one that will help our economy on so many levels and bring back pride in America. We need to start manufacturing again. For decades, we were the country that made stuff, but that changed. Once we moved into a service-based economy, we pretty much stopped making stuff and started making noise about stuff. But that didn't last long, either. Today, we're not even really a service-based economy because we've given up on even basic service. Let someone in India take that customer service job because we don't want it!

That has to change, and it must start today. We cannot sustain our current consumer-based economy and expect to remain an economically viable country. We need to get back to basics and rebuild our manufacturing base. When John F. Kennedy introduced the Space Race to America, we responded with great enthusiasm and put our minds to work. We have the same spirit, but it's been dormant for too long. I say it's time we unleash the power of American intellectual might.

We start by giving businesses a reason to locate in America. That will require massive tax breaks for said companies willing to take a chance on America again. With even the start up of a single manufacturing plant, there will be jobs to be had. To ensure the economic strength is restored, those jobs will need to be good paying jobs, jobs where hard work is rewarded instead of scorned. Furthermore, there will be strict enforcement of immigration laws. Any company who benefits from my proposal in any way must hire legal workers or all benefits will be stripped from them and any benefits they received will be repaid in full, plus applicable legal fees.

To meet the demands of the future requires a greater emphasis on education, particularly in the areas of math and science. We must commit to holding our students and teachers to higher standards, but we must also commit to ensuring schools have the resources they need and the incentive to excel. Therefore, we will do an assessment of the public school system from top to bottom and fix our weaknesses. That will require a level of honesty we haven't seen in years, but the end result will be worth it.

Our choice is clear: continue down the path we are on and face economic extinction, or change our path, blaze a new trail, and reform our economy. I say we roll up our sleeves and change the game. That way China can eat our dust for a change.

Thank you, and may God bless America.

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