world

At Obama's midpoint, an altered State of the Union

46 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

46 Comments
Login to comment

While Obama's main goal is to foster policies that create jobs, I think his primary responsibility is to prevent America defaulting on its debt and becoming a 3rd-world police state. Some forecasters are putting America's debt servicing costs at $1 trillion/year within 10 years. That would mean having to cut back on everything - services, social security, policing, infrastructure. It would then be a fairly rapid run to ruin.

But now we have a resurgent GOP - essentially the same bunch of crooks who gave the world a global recession - pledging to shave $100 billion of the budget. How? Strangely, GOP speaker John Boehner failed to offer any specefics only a few days ago. Every spending area has its proponent. But now the TP are claiming defense needs to be on the cutting block, in fact one of their members said that the idea that any spending priorities should be consiedered 'off the table' needs to be taken off the table. Some extremely painful cuts are coming and Americans only have themselves to blame.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The divisive nature of American politics today has rendered the country incapable of achieving anything meaningful for the people. There are two juvenile parties sparring like two testosterone infused jocks fighting to see which has the larger unmentionables.

Until this us/them nonsense is replaced with rational thinking people who wish to help and benefit the working class people of America, nothing will change and the endless swing from right and left of center will continue.

As a famous comedian put it, our two party system is like a bowl of crap looking at itself in a mirror.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

By the month its looking increasingly likely that terrorism won't bring the American empire to its knees - it will be debt servicing costs that - unless they are brought under control - will crush the life out of every other spending area. And unfortunately or maybe not, much of those debt servicing costs will go straight into the coffers of the Chinese government. Who is to blame? IMO, largely the GOP, a party that has proven again and again an unparallelled ability to create debt and shackle future generations - even their own grandchildren - to debt. It's false reality to blame Obama for the bailouts. The fiscal wreckage bequeathed him by the GOP left him little choice. Now, with the GOP back in - albeit partial - power, America's future is once again in peril.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Obama should focus on the things he's accomplished while making it known that job creation is his #1 priority. I think he underestimated the financial situation and went ahead with his other campaign promises. There's nothing wrong with a politician following through on his promises, he just happened to come into office at a very unique time in history. Or maybe he knew the financial situation was hopeless and just pushed through his agenda before the numbers sank in.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“The administration’s accomplishment in preventing economic disaster has been underestimated and is likely to look better in historical hindsight than it has up to now,” Galston says. “The real challenge that he has going forward is to move the patient from stability to recovery. That’s the Step Two.”

I could not be prouder and more confident in President Obama to help lead the nation to Step Two. Sustainable job creation and growth could not have been built upon a banking system on the brink of collapse. Even though it cost him politically, the president was right to focus his efforts on that first.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Announce of the debt limit rising, QE3 by Timmeh and Bernanke, buy GBP.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Raising the debt ceiling is going to pit the TP not only against the GOP but against the brutal reality of America's fiscal nightmare. Wonder who's going to win? Even Gingrich is talking of introducing a bill to allow states to go bankrupt. Funny thing is, he's not even a politician.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The divisive nature of American politics today has rendered the country incapable of achieving anything meaningful for the people. There are two juvenile parties sparring like two testosterone infused jocks fighting to see which has the larger unmentionables.

Very true. Might there be a legitimate 3rd party to shatter the two party system in the next decade? Personally, I think a party that is financially conservative and socially liberal might resonate with many Americans...but what do I know.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But wait! Despite its mammoth debt and crushing military superiority, America 'needs' to spend more on defense and must keep social security, homeland security and VA untouched. Ahem, do that and America will default sooner rather than later. OBL must be laughing - he said years ago that his goal was to bankrupt America. No need to worry - the GOP and its conservative supporters have ridden to OBL's rescue and accomplished his goal for him. It doesn't get more ironic than that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry guys, but all that is going on here is just a lot more kicking the can down the road, and trying to extend and pretend. Lots of talk about symptoms like government debt and jobs, no talk about the disease. If you expect either party to deal with the disease, you are going to have a long, long wait, because their job is to not deal with it. As Obama is doing very skillfully right now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If they don't take dealing with the debt seriously, America will likely go the way of Argentina and default.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Until America realizes th Republicans have destroyed their country it will continue to circle the drain. Taxes have to go up. That's how bills are paid.

Eventually the light will go off when China and Europe will stop pumping the USA full of loans realizing they could just keep their own money, prop up their own economies and let the deadbeats earn it for once

0 ( +0 / -0 )

essentially the same bunch of crooks who gave the world a global recession" Everything for me was moving forward until 2006 and Pelosi showed up...

Even Gingrich is talking of introducing a bill to allow states to go bankrupt. Funny thing is, he's not even a politician." I believe he once was... but still, if he's not why does he get to introduce a bill?

America 'needs' to spend more on defense" We wouldn't if they didn't keep purchasing from union led companies. We sell devices that are sold to the military for in some cases 10 times the cost they could get it from us.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan has to be worried about this. Asia is concerned for a re-armed Japan, but under a fallen America Japan needs to assert its territory in the face of China and Russia. If a South Korea/Japan/Taiwan security alliance were formed instead, that might help alleviate the power brinksmanship that the end of the American Empire would inevitably create. It exists now under an American banner. When that standard goes down they should continue it more openly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

and be prepared to do so

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't think Republicans have destroyed the country, but I do think they're on the wrong track. Lowering taxes has a psychological appeal to all while expanding government services is easily stained as being the characteristic of the spendthrift. The hue and cry about excessive taxation is clever, but it isn't the right solution.

Top tax rates were lowered from 90% to 70% under the Great Society President Johnson. Under Reagan they were lowered to 50% and then to 28%. During the Clinton years it rose to about 40% and in 2010 it was 35%. Of course, different times necessitate different measures but the point is that the nation has managed to prosper under various high levels of taxation.

Real wages, however, are lower today than they were in the early 70s. The number of Americans slipping under the somewhat arbitrary but nonetheless real poverty line is increasing. Social disparity is also increasing and while illegal immigration is a boon to employers it drives down wages and increases the social disparity. Ludicrous solutions such as denying education to children of illegals only serves to increase class distinctions.

That we can put people back to work if only we will decrease the "onerous" taxes is a fiction--albeit a fiction that resonates with the mythology of the American revolution. The problems of America are much more systemic than taxation. Taxes, particularly taxes on top earners and corporations should be raised, not lowered.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Top tax rates were lowered from 90% to 70% under the Great Society President Johnson. Under Reagan they were lowered to 50% and then to 28%. During the Clinton years it rose to about 40% and in 2010 it was 35%. Of course, different times necessitate different measures but the point is that the nation has managed to prosper under various high levels of taxation." True, but we pay the second highest corporate taxes in the world.... If you have a decent size corp, and somehow can't pay the taxes, you are closes. I'm sure we're the only country that does that.

Taxes, particularly taxes on top earners and corporations should be raised, not lowered." And every time you do, you just closed someone out of a job. Oh and what about those top earners in the government? Or even those GS types making 200+k a year? How about cutting redundant services and personnel in said gov jobs?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cutting redundant services and personnel is good. However, that does not mitigate the need to raise taxes. Corporate profitability has increased, the Dow has flourished, and those who have enough money to be investors are relatively happy while real wages fall.

Business closes people out of jobs solely for the reason of increasing profitability for investors. Government's function is to make sure that there is a tenable balance in society. Lower taxes are not the road to a tenable society.

Americans should have vastly decreased expectations. Consumerism is eating our lunch. Henning Mankell's policeman Kurt Wallander speculated that the reason that Swedish society fell victim to social upheaval was that "people don't darn their socks anymore". I wouldn't compare America to Sweden in many other ways but, generally speaking, it's a good thing not to buy another pair of socks unless your really need them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Corporate profitability has increased, the Dow has flourished, and those who have enough money to be investors are relatively happy while real wages fall." And what happens when it doesn't increase and the Dow goes way down?

"Business closes people out of jobs solely for the reason of increasing profitability for investors." That's to assume we are only talking about public corporations....

Lower taxes are not the road to a tenable society." depends on which taxes we are talking about. I'm sure you heard about businesses leaving Cali and now possibly Illinois... Increasing taxes have also caused corps to leave the US entirely

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Two years into his first term and we still don't know what Obama really believes in, other than spending as much of others people money as is possible and nationalizing as much of the economy as he can.

No nation has ever spent its way out of a major economic depression.

It aint rocket science.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually, spending out of a depression is exactly how the world got out of the great depression..,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

SolidariTea - "No nation has ever spent its way out of a major economic depression."

Errggh...pretty much every developed nation on the face of the planet spent their way out of the last major economic recession.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Actually, spending out of a depression is exactly how the world got out of the great depression..,"

I have heard this but never the explanation. Just the assurance that it can be taken on faith. "Besides, FDR was a great man."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm on an iPhone so no long posts. Go check basics employment versus size of the military. Size of govt spending vs the economy. Real basic stuff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry, I'm only interested in facts. Whatever keynes intent was is debatable. The fact is we spent our way out of the last depression.

Moderator: All readers back on topic please. No more talk of Keynes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The state of the Union's been altered all right - it's been made much worse since George W. Bush handed over power to Barack Obama. This is a fact.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think it is highly debatable what causes American corporations to leave America. You could say it is because taxes are too high. However, you could also say that it is because investors demand higher profits and executives demand higher performance bonuses in exchange for those profits--in other words, greed.

The US has a real problem in that it has lost its manufacturing base. Manufacturing, construction and agriculture are real. Almost everything else is derivative. The manufacturing base is not coming back. Manufacturers have no incentive to employ people. They have every incentive to terminate them, good times or bad.

Lower taxes, even if they were to lead to an uptick in employment, will much more likely lead to continued and increasing income disparity, gated communities and increasing crime. Wealth does not trickle down. The thing about wealth is that the wealthy do not leave money on the table.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think it is highly debatable what causes American corporations to leave America. You could say it is because taxes are too high. However, you could also say that it is because investors demand higher profits and executives demand higher performance bonuses in exchange for those profits--in other words, greed.

Sez, you'd want to look at where the corporations are leaving for. It tends to be countries with lower taxes and much lower labor costs. In some cases it's countries with low-cost workers doing unskilled jobs (taxtiles), less frequently it's countries with lower-cost workers doing semi-skilled jobs (manufacturing) or skilled jobs (software engineering).

Executive salaries make a negligible contribution. It's not greed, it's business common sense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nessie, I agree that it's business common sense. That doesn't exclude greed.

I also agree that corporations are moving to countries with lower taxes and lower labor costs. (I've actually looked at that, you know.) However, lowering the taxes in the US will not lower the labor costs in the US. If anything it will produce an upward pressure on them.

I also agree that executive salaries make a negligible contribution as a line item in the corporate balance sheet. However they make a substantial contribution to the executives who make decisions to sustain quarterly profit projections.

Slicing $100B from the budget is negligible. Attempting to do this, like attempting to repeal the health care legislation, is a show pony that pulls no weight. The main problem is not corporate flight. It is that we have wide and growing income disparity and that we don't darn our socks. They're made too cheaply elsewhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's a sweet spot for taxes but it's not lower and lower. The thing is taxes are generally on revenue, so if you want more revenue and are taxed high then you put that revenue back into the business to grow the pie bigger since it would be lost anyway. Keeps jobs local, keeps investment local, and improves the situation which drives innovation not subsidies.

Money isn't a thing, it's a means. If all corps want is money then it has lost the reason to exist as a community citizen and is only a pariah instead. Let the corp weasels go. They're not American companies anymore.

Re-build the local industries. Ironically by having higher taxes it maintains a local company base interested in doing things, where money and profitability are a side effect, not the objective alone.

Nordic countries are doing fine. Even some European countries in spite of the recession and prospects are more likely to not suffer because people came first, not corporations.

Interesting parallel to Russia. The kleptocracy is maligned because it's well known. But in the USA people are utterly blind, and want to be so

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When keeping the printing presses going is the plan, you know the party's over.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I stand corrected, it's not just the Republicans. According to a website; prior to Reagan, both Democrats and Republicans both paid down the debt relative to income 25 out of 37 years. During and after Reagan debt has increased 20 out of 20 years.

when the hero of American corporations was the worst thing that happened, there's not a whole lot of anything left to do but start over either by hook or be default

0 ( +0 / -0 )

by

0 ( +0 / -0 )

2 more years of the Obama shell game, pretending to create jobs but really focusing on redistributing wealth and hollowing out the economy.Good thing Republicans won 65 seats last November. Question is,can Obama move to the center,like Clinton was forced to?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Obama has a harder road ahead since the Replicans in the House will block any type of progress unless it pleases corporations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Obama has a harder road ahead since the Replicans in the House will block any type of progress unless it pleases corporations"

But strangely ppl who type comments like that one never actually name any of these corporations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

we're observing your country's demise, so whatever corps support the erosion of what was a powerful nation are happy to sell it out for personal gain. Frankly some wealth deserves to be redistributed. 100 times, 200 or making more than 300 times the salary than the lowest employee in the same company. That's nuts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

when 2% control more than 25% of the economy, that's nothing to celebrate. That's a recipe for revolution

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@SolidriTea: Are you serious?

It is obvious that Republicans really only look after the wealthy (tax cuts despite the fact that the Bush era tax cuts do not work with out struggling economy) and cuts on health and social benefits (where two people in Arizona died because of lack of funding for heart transplants because Republicans cut back on medicare) and it is obvious that they have the big rich corporations in mind (it does not have to have a name because they will look after their wealth, regardless).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"our" struggling economy, I mean.

And I meant to say "medicaid" in Arizona.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When they claim to be "pro-business" they mean to let corporations run with little or no regulations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"when 2% control more than 25% of the economy, that's nothing to celebrate. That's a recipe for revolution"

No it isn't. You hope for revolution in America, so you fall for fun with statistics that your favorite American leftist sites put up for their gullible viewers.

What most Americans experience is a country where, until very recently, upward mobility was always possible, with hard work and dedication. Obama and his crowd are intent on eradicating that America.

Remember, you can't have it both ways. America gets accused of consuming way more than the rest of the world, on a per capita basis, but then posters like sfK2 try and also tell us 98 percent of America has next to nothing, and "revolution" will be the result.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You do realize that the economy was about to crash thanks to the bank crisis near the end of Bush's era, right?

I swear....you cannot say that Republicans are much different either.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The economy hardly grew even during Bush's era.....Not to mention the bank crisis.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What most Americans experience is a country where, until very recently, upward mobility was always possible, with hard work and dedication

you're joking obviously

0 ( +0 / -0 )

all of Obama's support are playing defense. They have been playing defense for well over a year. There is no one left to blame. There is no one left to demonize. Hope and Change did nothing, except with some help from former Speaker Nancy Pelosi add 5 trillion to the deficit.

SOTU fell flat. The magic is gone. Obama fooled some of the people, but not the rest of us.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites