The President of the United States was involved in two major events over the last week.  Most recently, he was the guest of honor at the 9/11 remembrance in New York City.  The president along with all of the other dignitaries and special guests did a phenomenal job of participation without ostentation, but with dignity and reverence.  The right wing fears of exclusion of first responders and prayer were just simply wrong.  The memories of those who lost their lives on that September morning 10 years ago, and those who have lost their lives in the defense of our nation since then, were honored.  The poems, letters and scriptures read, the musical performances, the reading of the names, and the personal testimonies, all added to the somber yet hopeful atmosphere of the entire day.

The second event, was a speech before a joint session of congress, advertised as the solution for the joblessness being experienced in the United States.  This event was not nearly as mature, dignified, or effective as the 9/11 anniversary.  This speech, which was supposed to be a new message, was in fact a restatement of some fifty previous speeches that he president has given.  The immaturity of the event was exposed in the political squabbling that went on before the actual speech accrued.  First, the president asked for the joint session on the same night that a previously scheduled debate of the Republican presidential candidates.  The speaker of the house, a republican, refused.  His refusal was not well taken by the White House, both sides acting like children.  The President eventually asked for the joint session on the following night.

The content of this speech in no way required a joint session of congress.  The speech promised a proposed piece of legislation that he insisted must be passed quickly.  He had already promised to have legislation ready when they returned from their summer vacations.  There was no legislation, that is the prevue of the congress anyway, there was just another promise to get it to them.  Now there were some ideas presented that are good, but not new.  Training for the long term unemployed is a great idea, a democratic congress with Ronald Reagan had a program for the same purpose back in the 1980’s.  Preferential employment of veterans is another good idea, but it has been in place for federal employment, post office and contractors to the government since World War II.

The most frightening part of the speech was not the repetitiveness of the ideas for jobs, but the repetitiveness of the exorbitant cost and methods of payment. Yet again the suggestion is hundreds of billions of dollars spent.  Once again there is a call for taxing the “more fortunate” members of society, as if earning is a gift that is not fair.  And again, we here of a rich man who does not think it is fair that he pays less in income tax than his secretary (Mr. Buffet, you do not have to claim all of your deductions if you think you should pay more).  Although there are plenty of things wrong with the tax code (the complexity alone is mind boggling), increasing taxes is not the solution.

The only way to get the economy going again is to have actual work for people to do.  Not shifting of payment of projects from states to the federal government, not addressing an unreported surplus of unemployed teachers, and definitely not another hand out to some bankrupt entity be it an car company, a bank or a union.  This country needs to spend within its budget and reduce the burden of taxes and regulation on everyone.  It worked for Kennedy and Reagan.  When we spend beyond our means and broaden the scope of government, the economy goes into the tank, as happened under Johnson and prolonged by the “price freezes” of Nixon and Carter and is now happening from the spending frenzy of Bush and Obama.  In each case, we identify the president, but the blame is equally if not more the responsibility of the congress at the time.

The last issue with the speech was the return to blaming the previous president for the problems being faced today.  There is always a lingering effect of the previous administration, but up until now, the president has remained above the blame game.  It is one thing if a partisan group blames Clinton for 9/11, it would have been quite another if the Bush had gotten on front of congress and blamed him.  Yet again, President Obama is blaming Bush.  Since he took office, the deficit has gotten bigger, unemployment has gotten worse, and up until eight months ago, he had gotten everything he wanted.  Eventually, the president and especially congress will have to start acting like adults.  We cannot expect the partisans or the press to mature, but we should expect it from our elected officials.  It will not be possible to create jobs until at least one thing happens – Congress must do its job and actually pass a budget.  Nothing that the president suggests or sends to congress to consider will have any meaning until a budget is in place.

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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