Introductory Note: In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama gave a response to the State of the Union Address of then-President George W. Bush prior to President Bush’s address to the joint session of Congress. I believe that turnabout is only fair play so I will give my response to President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address before he delivers it.
Good evening. My name is Alan Peel and I am a private citizen and small business owner in Leawood, Kansas.
Before I begin, I would like to extend my thoughts and prayers to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her family as well as the other victims and the victims’ families in the recent shooting in Tucson, Arizona. We wish a speedy recovery for those who were injured and solace for those who lost loved ones in this senseless act.
We Americans are confronted with several issues and problems either with us currently or on the horizon that could imperil our country as we go deeper into the 21st Century. Applying many of the same solutions that have been implemented in the last century will not solve our debt problems, lack of spending restraint, everyday issues affecting businesses and households and challenges abroad.
We all agree that America has a debt problem. Borrowing $14 trillion without any ideas as to how to reduce our debt to countries that may or may not have our best interests at heart is not a good thing for our country. However, the way in which we get to complete debt elimination is where we the American people disagree vehemently with President Obama.
The American public has come to the conclusion that America has a spending problem and not a revenue problem. We already have some of the highest tax rates in the world even when state and local tax rates are excluded. Instead of hoping for an economic recovery to reduce our deficit or raising taxes in the middle of a fragile economic period, we should consider cutting spending significantly. I am personally looking forward to the House Republican’s unveiling of their plan to cut spending and reduce the debt by over $2 trillion by the end of the decade. I also invite President Obama to outline a budget that will significantly reduce the deficit and lead us to a balanced budget within the next three years.
One quick way for the president to reduce the debt in the future would be to support the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare. When proposed, there were only six years of benefits, ten years of new taxes, kickbacks and pork-barrel spending and several accounting gimmicks that would make Bernie Madoff blush. This was used by President Obama to sell his own party on passage of his disastrous health care plan and ultimately led to the a midterm election last November that even he called a "shellacking". Even as millions of jobs hang in the balance thanks to ObamaCare’s existence, we look forward to having ideas presented to the president as to how we can expand coverage for all Americans and to reduce health care costs without onerous levels of government regulations and bureaucratic interference.
Another understanding that has been reached by the American public is the idea that government spending as a means to create jobs and create prosperity is nothing more than an overhyped myth that leaves government deeper in debt and Americans jobless. Instead, we should be looking to permanently extend all of the Bush tax cuts before the end of the year and extend the payroll tax cuts for another three to five years while looking for ideas as to how we can improve the revenue streams for Social Security while looking for ways to reduce the tax burden for everyday Americans and by not cutting benefits for those who have paid into the system.
The American people are wide awake and realize that the plans of bailouts and stimulus do not work. In fact, the recent actions taken by the Federal Reserve to inject more printed money into circulation will actually lead us to further chaos with massive inflation coming this year that risks ending any hopes of a strong economic rebound and puts us on the road to a lost decade similar to that of Japan's lost decade of the 1990's where stimulus and central planning hurt that nation's economy.
Furthermore, Washington needs to learn lessons from what families are doing during hard times. Most families have been getting their family budgets under control and have made great sacrifices to ensure their own financial security. In learning from everyday Americans, fiscal restraint is our only option at this time and we should solve our nation’s fiscal nightmare of trillion-dollar deficits by drastically reducing spending and getting government within its means.
The surest way to create jobs is to empower entrepreneurs. Keeping tax rates low and eliminating onerous regulations are essential for job growth and job creation. Millions of jobs can be created by unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of our country. We have the most resourceful, talented, and knowledgeable workforce in the world. The only way that we can take advantage of our workforce is to motivate and empower them to produce for themselves so that they can take the necessary risks of hiring employees and improving America’s jobs picture.
Also, the American people are disheartened that we are getting more of the same from President Obama on energy policy. The drilling moratorium because of last year’s disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has begun the rise in fuel and energy prices. Sharing and depending on already scarce resources is not the way to ensure low energy prices. Instead, we need an all-at-once approach to cultivate and develop new resources and to allow the free markets to determine America’s energy future, not environmentalists using junk science and empty promises to manipulate us to pursue unproven energy technologies that are still a good 15 to 20 years away from being ready for the over 300 million people who require energy to for all of our everyday uses. Instead, we need to develop short-term resources such as domestic oil drilling and coal mining, develop more mid-range resources including nuclear energy, and longer-term resources that will ensure that we no longer import another drop of energy from OPEC.
Finally, America is best when she is at her strongest abroad. It hurts to see President Obama deferring to the United Nations and other countries when America’s leadership is essential and necessary. We also believe that it is not constructive for our president to conduct constant apology tours or for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner to host a state dinner for the leader of a regime that currently has the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize recipient in prison whose only crime was speaking out for freedom.
Furthermore, a country without borders is not a nation. Posting signs telling Americans on American soil that going beyond a certain point is not a sound border protection plan. Instead, we need to empower border patrol agents to do their jobs and to stop this act of human trafficing, drug trafficing and rampant crime on our southern border. Instead of pursuing politically-motivated amnesty for people here in this country illegally, we should be looking to enforce the law and to work with state and local law enforcement agencies to deal with the crime-related issues of illegal immigration. Suing states like Arizona who have lost their patience with the federal government's refusal to enforce the law is not constructive and should be abandoned immediately.
Make no mistake: we care about the people in other countries and we especially love to have visitors and people who want to become Americans. We just ask that we enforce the laws and regulations and expect everyone who comes to our country to become a part of America the right way. Permitting those to come across our borders in violation of our laws is not the way it should be done. Instead, we need to change our system so that more legal immigrants can enter our country and not be turned away. Those who can provide skills to our already outstanding job force or those who want to pursue better educational opportunities for themselves and their children are always welcomed and our policies should be a reflection of that and not that of quotas or limits as to who can and cannot come to America.
We also have questions about whether or not America will win in Afghanistan before we draw down from our current troop levels. If we are to fight this war the right way, we should either be fighting to win in Afghanistan or we should immediately withdraw all our troops from Afghanistan. Instead of fighting to appease special interest anti-war groups, we should be fighting to ensure that our troops come home victorious and to do soon. We also don’t want to see future generations of Americans dying in our streets in acts of terrorism or have to fight wars in the future because we didn’t fight to win the ones we are currently fighting.
With these approaches and an embracing of American exceptionalism, America will be an even greater and stronger nation in the future. Thank you for your time. Good night and may God continue to bless this great nation of ours that we all love.