There’s no denying that President Obama is one of the most eloquent politicians to come along in a long time. That was on display last night in his address to the joint session of Congress. The President put forth ideas that certainly show a shift in direction from the previous administration. It was nice to see energy and the environment move up the ladder of national priorities. The president also did a nice job in using his popularity with young people to tell them that he expects that they not only graduate high school, but further their education beyond high school, and he framed it well in terms of being a responsibility of citizenship.
What didn’t add up about the President’s speech was the math. President Obama laid out a number of ambitious goals one of which was cutting the national deficit in half by the year 2013. However, instituting programs such as national health care, making college accessible to all citizens, and instituting a cap and trade initiative on carbon emission is beyond ambitious when also trying to cut the deficit. With a huge stimulus package that just passed, a large appropriations bill about to come up for debate, and the possibly of more money needed for bailout plans, it seems highly unlikely that the national debt will do anything other than balloon even further. This isn’t just an issue of a theoretical debt that will some day have to be paid by the tax payer. This is a basic math problem that could negatively impact the economy for years to come. Government services take on an added appeal if the price tag is ignored, and a better explanation needs to be given of the cost to taxpayers before these programs are rubber stamped.
President Obama’s Address