Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My State of the Union

Good morning!

It's really quite simple, my fellow Americans. The state of our Union isn't quite as good as it could be; dare I say as it SHOULD be.

The bi-partisan politics in Washington DC has created a toxic environment where good ideas on how to fix our country die on party lines, regardless of the feelings and desires of the MAJORITY of we the people...the electorate.

The lack of term limits in Congress has led to reelection bids and holding onto power being far more important to members of Congress than doing the job they were sent to Washington DC to do - govern according to the will of the MAJORITY of their respective legislative districts.

Corporate money, special interest groups money, and lobbyist money has become the decision making fodder for members of Congress & the President, and the voice of the people has faded into the background, barely audible over the din of party line politics, flashy campaign slogans, and hallow promises never intended to be kept.

The government has gotten so big, so cumbersome, that it works against itself; departments within agencies work against each other, grossly overlap responsibilities, or make far reaching decisions only to justify their existence and reason to collect a paycheck - a paycheck provided by tax payer dollars. Corporations throughout our country have had to make cuts...they've been forced to work lean and give more responsibilities to the employees they have. Washington DC should be held to the same standards. Congress member staffs must be trimmed. Agencies need to be "right-sized"; some eliminated.

The welfare system must be overhauled; as the President said, rather than unemployment benefits, the goal must be re-employment. No one should have an opportunity to take advantage of the system; and it does happen.

Social Security must be overhauled to ensure its continuation. People have money taken out of every paycheck for their Social Security benefits; it must be available when the retire and need it. I think the most prudent course of action is to invest the money, similar to 401(k) accounts, in regulated, steady growth funds.

We must work to become less dependent on foreign energy sources, and work to be the pioneer for clean, efficient, and affordable energy.

We must solve the immigration problem. Illegals should face consequences, not be rewarded. Upstanding, working illegals should be given the opportunity to earn their citizenship. Our country, despite it's current challenges, is still a beacon of hope - we should integrate those that want to be here, legally.

Our education system needs to be improved so we can compete with other countries in terms of math and information technology skills. And to quote the President, stop teaching for the test; teach skills and knowledge that will translate into preparing students to go to college, enter the workforce, and compete on the world stage for the jobs of tomorrow. And speaking of college, it must be affordable; loan interest rates can't be at levels that will cripple new graduates with huge bills that will chew up their starting salaries; after all, these young adults go to college to better themselves, and begin their paths to professional excellence.

Companies need to be encouraged and rewarded to keep jobs in America; companies that outsource shouldn't. It's pretty a simple solution to add jobs. Provide incentives to companies that keep jobs here, that provide necessary training and re-training of skilled workers, and keep communities alive.

And lastly, we the people must shoulder some of the blame for the current state if the union. For too long have we focused on greed, immediate satisfaction, entitlement rather than empowerment, and not wanting to sacrifice anything for the greater good, as previous generations have done to allow us to have all that we do. Hard decisions have to be made; some painful. We can not continue to spend more than we take in. We can not continue to borrow money from other countries. Taxes must be raised. The rich must pay their fair share. Loopholes in tax law need to be closed. A billionaire paying less of a tax rate than his secretary is ridiculous. It can't happen. We all need to shoulder the burden and, to fix our country, pay more - for a leaner, more efficient government. We need to stop expecting handouts. We need to stop trying to keep up with the Jones'. We new to rethink the American Dream, and make some sacrifices in the short term to ensure future generations - our children and grandchildren - have the chance to see that American Dream.

It won't be easy. It will be a complete 180 degree turn on current policies and track of thought. But if we as a nation agree to get back to basics, work smarter, and pay our share, the Union will persevere. The Union will heal. The Union will grow again. The Union will be all that we want it to be. The Union will be all that it SHOULD be. For all if us. For we the people can, and we the people will!

May God Bless you all, and may God Bless the United States if America.

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