Let’s take a look at some of the issues raised by Bush during the first half of his state of the union address, (i.e. the Mr. Nice Guy part).
Bush wants to put a stop to what he called “double taxation” on corporate dividends. Here’s how I see it, the US government is taxing income. The companies get taxed on their income as do the shareholders on the income they receive from dividends. The stock market is already one of the leading causes of the large skew in the distribution of wealth in the US. The rich get richer, or so the saying goes, and removing the taxation on corporate dividends will only widen the gap.
From the Democrats' SUA response, “Under the president's proposal to eliminate taxes on stock dividends, the top 1 percent -- that's people who earn over $300,000 -- would get more tax relief than the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers combined.”
Federal income tax cuts were also a hot item but there was no mention of the over 1 million unemployed Americans who have already exhausted their benefits and cannot find jobs.
Again from the Democrats' SUA response, “After gaining 22 million jobs in eight years, we've now lost two million jobs in the last two years since President Bush took office – 100,000 lost last month alone. Two years ago, the federal budget was in surplus. Now, this administration's policies will produce massive deficits of over a trillion dollars over the next decade.”
Bush also spoke of the environment, energy independence and the $1.2 billion in research funding for hydrogen-powered cars. I’m all for research on alternative energy sources but about solutions that already exist, like public transportation, car pooling, bike riding, etc. The US also has an abundance of sun and wind energy which it could harness and yet hydrogen power, which is yet to be proven safe and reliable is receiving the largest share of the research funding. And what exactly is the continued push for oil drilling in Alaska doing to promote oil-independence and a healthy environment?
$200 million for drug rehab sounds like a good start, but you have to wonder why more money can’t be put into rehab and drug education when the US war on drugs is already costing over $30 billion a year.
Bush’s attempt to make the US look like a major humanitarian force came in the form of AIDS relief for Africa. Now don’t get me wrong, $15 billion over the next five years for AIDS relief in the form of drugs and humane care is a very positive thing. It also serves to line the already fat pockets of Bush’s friends in the pharmaceutical research and drug industry. Why is none of this money going to AIDS awareness, sexual education and the promotion of condom use. (Maybe it is and it just wasn’t mentioned… I hope so.)
Finally, the scariest comment made by Bush jr. was this:
“All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. And many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: They are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.“
What exactly does that mean? Are innocent people who are suspected of being terrorists being killed by the US army? I’m not surprised… but I am wondering what ever happened to the idea that one was innocent until proven guilty.
The Transcript of President Bush's second State of the Union address.
The Transcript of the Democrats' response to President Bush's State of the Union address.
Another take on the address.