Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The State Of The Union Speech

Certainly one of President Bush's best speeches. He was very assertive, very clear and concise. I thought he did a fantastic job of setting the agenda for the next four years.

The first half of the speech was domestic issues, including Social Security reform. He clearly laid out his reason for promoting reform. It was a shame to hear some of the Libs groaning and muttering while he spelled out the future being predicted for Social Security. The system is in trouble, and of this there can be no denial.

Thirteen years from now, in 2018, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in. And every year afterward will bring a new shortfall, bigger than the year before.

For example, in the year 2027, the government will somehow have to come up with an extra $200 billion to keep the system afloat, and by 2033, the annual shortfall would be more than $300 billion. By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt. If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be drastically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs.

The Dems would argue that President Bush is exaggerating the situation in 2042 by calling the program "bankrupt." They would tell you that there would still be 70 cents in the pot for every dollar promised to retirees. If you only had 70 percent of the money you needed to pay your bills, you couldn't get very far before you had to declare bankruptcy. I think the term fits.

An impressive maneuver on the President's part was naming off several prominent Democrats and proposals they had made to reform Social Security.

Private retirement savings accounts are such a great deal for younger Americans. They would earn better returns than Social Security, plus the government would be unable to touch them. Also, the money could be passed on to one's heirs.

Other fine points: working to make the tax code fair, easy to understand, and pro-growth; implementation of new immigration policy; and support for faith-based community groups and initiatives.

The second half of the speech covered international matters and the war on terror. He said we're going to stay in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East until we finish the job. He promised support for those who stand up for freedom in the Middle East. Moreover, he all but called out Iraq...

Today, Iran remains the world's primary state sponsor of terror, pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve. We are working with European allies to make clear to the Iranian regime that it must give up its uranium enrichment program and any plutonium reprocessing, and end its support for terror. And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you.
Republicans across the House chamber held up fingers with blue ink on them, in symbolic support of the eight million Iraqis who voted in that nation's election last Sunday. The most touching moment, and one that brought a tear to so many eyes, was the introduction of the parents of a soldier killed in Fallujah.

The President pledged to continue encouraging the spread of freedom around the globe.

As Franklin Roosevelt once reminded Americans, "Each age is a dream that is dying, or one that is coming to birth." And we live in the country where the biggest dreams are born.

The abolition of slavery was only a dream until it was fulfilled. The liberation of Europe from fascism was only a dream until it was achieved. The fall of imperial communism was only a dream until, one day, it was accomplished.

Our generation has dreams of its own, and we also go forward with confidence. The road of providence is uneven and unpredictable, yet we know where it leads: It leads to freedom.

If you missed the speech, or would like to read what was said, here's a complete transcript of the speech...