State of the Union

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The Reaper
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State of the Union

Postby The Reaper » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:38 pm UTC

Transcript for those who missed it:
http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2010/01 ... _unio.html
Spoiler:
THE PRESIDENT: Madam Speaker, Vice President Biden, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the President shall give to Congress information about the state of our union. For 220 years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty. They've done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility. And they've done so in the midst of war and depression; at moments of great strife and great struggle.

It's tempting to look back on these moments and assume that our progress was inevitable -- that America was always destined to succeed. But when the Union was turned back at Bull Run, and the Allies first landed at Omaha Beach, victory was very much in doubt. When the market crashed on Black Tuesday, and civil rights marchers were beaten on Bloody Sunday, the future was anything but certain. These were the times that tested the courage of our convictions, and the strength of our union. And despite all our divisions and disagreements, our hesitations and our fears, America prevailed because we chose to move forward as one nation, as one people.

Again, we are tested. And again, we must answer history's call.

One year ago, I took office amid two wars, an economy rocked by a severe recession, a financial system on the verge of collapse, and a government deeply in debt. Experts from across the political spectrum warned that if we did not act, we might face a second depression. So we acted -- immediately and aggressively. And one year later, the worst of the storm has passed.

But the devastation remains. One in 10 Americans still cannot find work. Many businesses have shuttered. Home values have declined. Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard. And for those who'd already known poverty, life has become that much harder.

This recession has also compounded the burdens that America's families have been dealing with for decades -- the burden of working harder and longer for less; of being unable to save enough to retire or help kids with college.

So I know the anxieties that are out there right now. They're not new. These struggles are the reason I ran for President. These struggles are what I've witnessed for years in places like Elkhart, Indiana; Galesburg, Illinois. I hear about them in the letters that I read each night. The toughest to read are those written by children -- asking why they have to move from their home, asking when their mom or dad will be able to go back to work.

For these Americans and so many others, change has not come fast enough. Some are frustrated; some are angry. They don't understand why it seems like bad behavior on Wall Street is rewarded, but hard work on Main Street isn't; or why Washington has been unable or unwilling to solve any of our problems. They're tired of the partisanship and the shouting and the pettiness. They know we can't afford it. Not now.

So we face big and difficult challenges. And what the American people hope -- what they deserve -- is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences; to overcome the numbing weight of our politics. For while the people who sent us here have different backgrounds, different stories, different beliefs, the anxieties they face are the same. The aspirations they hold are shared: a job that pays the bills; a chance to get ahead; most of all, the ability to give their children a better life.

You know what else they share? They share a stubborn resilience in the face of adversity. After one of the most difficult years in our history, they remain busy building cars and teaching kids, starting businesses and going back to school. They're coaching Little League and helping their neighbors. One woman wrote to me and said, "We are strained but hopeful, struggling but encouraged."

It's because of this spirit -- this great decency and great strength -- that I have never been more hopeful about America's future than I am tonight. (Applause.) Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We do not allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it's time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength. (Applause.)
And tonight, tonight I'd like to talk about how together we can deliver on that promise.

It begins with our economy.
Spoiler:
Our most urgent task upon taking office was to shore up the same banks that helped cause this crisis. It was not easy to do. And if there's one thing that has unified Democrats and Republicans, and everybody in between, it's that we all hated the bank bailout. I hated it -- (applause.) I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal. (Laughter.)

But when I ran for President, I promised I wouldn't just do what was popular -- I would do what was necessary. And if we had allowed the meltdown of the financial system, unemployment might be double what it is today. More businesses would certainly have closed. More homes would have surely been lost.

So I supported the last administration's efforts to create the financial rescue program. And when we took that program over, we made it more transparent and more accountable. And as a result, the markets are now stabilized, and we've recovered most of the money we spent on the banks. (Applause.) Most but not all.

To recover the rest, I've proposed a fee on the biggest banks. (Applause.) Now, I know Wall Street isn't keen on this idea. But if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need. (Applause.)

Now, as we stabilized the financial system, we also took steps to get our economy growing again, save as many jobs as possible, and help Americans who had become unemployed.

That's why we extended or increased unemployment benefits for more than 18 million Americans; made health insurance 65 percent cheaper for families who get their coverage through COBRA; and passed 25 different tax cuts.

Now, let me repeat: We cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. (Applause.) We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. (Applause.)

I thought I'd get some applause on that one. (Laughter and applause.)

As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas and food and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers. And we haven't raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime. (Applause.)

Because of the steps we took, there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed. (Applause.) Two hundred thousand work in construction and clean energy; 300,000 are teachers and other education workers. Tens of thousands are cops, firefighters, correctional officers, first responders. (Applause.) And we're on track to add another one and a half million jobs to this total by the end of the year.

The plan that has made all of this possible, from the tax cuts to the jobs, is the Recovery Act. (Applause.) That's right -- the Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus bill. (Applause.) Economists on the left and the right say this bill has helped save jobs and avert disaster. But you don't have to take their word for it. Talk to the small business in Phoenix that will triple its workforce because of the Recovery Act. Talk to the window manufacturer in Philadelphia who said he used to be skeptical about the Recovery Act, until he had to add two more work shifts just because of the business it created. Talk to the single teacher raising two kids who was told by her principal in the last week of school that because of the Recovery Act, she wouldn't be laid off after all.

There are stories like this all across America. And after two years of recession, the economy is growing again. Retirement funds have started to gain back some of their value. Businesses are beginning to invest again, and slowly some are starting to hire again.

But I realize that for every success story, there are other stories, of men and women who wake up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from; who send out resumes week after week and hear nothing in response. That is why jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010, and that's why I'm calling for a new jobs bill tonight. (Applause.)

Now, the true engine of job creation in this country will always be America's businesses. (Applause.) But government can create the conditions necessary for businesses to expand and hire more workers.

We should start where most new jobs do -- in small businesses, companies that begin when -- (applause) -- companies that begin when an entrepreneur -- when an entrepreneur takes a chance on a dream, or a worker decides it's time she became her own boss. Through sheer grit and determination, these companies have weathered the recession and they're ready to grow. But when you talk to small businessowners in places like Allentown, Pennsylvania, or Elyria, Ohio, you find out that even though banks on Wall Street are lending again, they're mostly lending to bigger companies. Financing remains difficult for small businessowners across the country, even those that are making a profit.

So tonight, I'm proposing that we take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat. (Applause.) I'm also proposing a new small business tax credit
-- one that will go to over one million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages. (Applause.) While we're at it, let's also eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment, and provide a tax incentive for all large businesses and all small businesses to invest in new plants and equipment. (Applause.)

Next, we can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. (Applause.) From the first railroads to the Interstate Highway System, our nation has always been built to compete. There's no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products.

Tomorrow, I'll visit Tampa, Florida, where workers will soon break ground on a new high-speed railroad funded by the Recovery Act. (Applause.) There are projects like that all across this country that will create jobs and help move our nation's goods, services, and information. (Applause.)

We should put more Americans to work building clean energy facilities -- (applause) -- and give rebates to Americans who make their homes more energy-efficient, which supports clean energy jobs. (Applause.) And to encourage these and other businesses to stay within our borders, it is time to finally slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and give those tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)

Now, the House has passed a jobs bill that includes some of these steps. (Applause.) As the first order of business this year, I urge the Senate to do the same, and I know they will. (Applause.) They will. (Applause.) People are out of work. They're hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay. (Applause.)

But the truth is, these steps won't make up for the seven million jobs that we've lost over the last two years. The only way to move to full employment is to lay a new foundation for long-term economic growth, and finally address the problems that America's families have confronted for years.

We can't afford another so-called economic "expansion" like the one from the last decade -- what some call the "lost decade" -- where jobs grew more slowly than during any prior expansion; where the income of the average American household declined while the cost of health care and tuition reached record highs; where prosperity was built on a housing bubble and financial speculation.

From the day I took office, I've been told that addressing our larger challenges is too ambitious; such an effort would be too contentious. I've been told that our political system is too gridlocked, and that we should just put things on hold for a while.

For those who make these claims, I have one simple question: How long should we wait? How long should America put its future on hold? (Applause.)

You see, Washington has been telling us to wait for decades, even as the problems have grown worse. Meanwhile, China is not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany is not waiting. India is not waiting. These nations -- they're not standing still. These nations aren't playing for second place. They're putting more emphasis on math and science. They're rebuilding their infrastructure. They're making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs. Well, I do not accept second place for the United States of America. (Applause.)

As hard as it may be, as uncomfortable and contentious as the debates may become, it's time to get serious about fixing the problems that are hampering our growth.

Now, one place to start is serious financial reform. Look, I am not interested in punishing banks. I'm interested in protecting our economy. A strong, healthy financial market makes it possible for businesses to access credit and create new jobs. It channels the savings of families into investments that raise incomes. But that can only happen if we guard against the same recklessness that nearly brought down our entire economy.

We need to make sure consumers and middle-class families have the information they need to make financial decisions. (Applause.) We can't allow financial institutions, including those that take your deposits, to take risks that threaten the whole economy.

Now, the House has already passed financial reform with many of these changes. (Applause.) And the lobbyists are trying to kill it. But we cannot let them win this fight. (Applause.) And if the bill that ends up on my desk does not meet the test of real reform, I will send it back until we get it right. We've got to get it right. (Applause.)

Next, we need to encourage American innovation. Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history -- (applause) -- an investment that could lead to the world's cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched. And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy. You can see the results of last year's investments in clean energy -- in the North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries; or in the California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels.

But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. (Applause.) It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. (Applause.) It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. (Applause.) And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America. (Applause.)

I am grateful to the House for passing such a bill last year. (Applause.) And this year I'm eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate. (Applause.)

I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy. I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But here's the thing -- even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future -- because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation. (Applause.)

Third, we need to export more of our goods. (Applause.) Because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America. (Applause.) So tonight, we set a new goal: We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million jobs in America. (Applause.) To help meet this goal, we're launching a National Export Initiative that will help farmers and small businesses increase their exports, and reform export controls consistent with national security. (Applause.)

We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are. If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores. (Applause.) But realizing those benefits also means enforcing those agreements so our trading partners play by the rules. (Applause.) And that's why we'll continue to shape a Doha trade agreement that opens global markets, and why we will strengthen our trade relations in Asia and with key partners like South Korea and Panama and Colombia. (Applause.)
Spoiler:
Fourth, we need to invest in the skills and education of our people. (Applause.)

Now, this year, we've broken through the stalemate between left and right by launching a national competition to improve our schools. And the idea here is simple: Instead of rewarding failure, we only reward success. Instead of funding the status quo, we only invest in reform -- reform that raises student achievement; inspires students to excel in math and science; and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young Americans, from rural communities to the inner city. In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education. (Applause.) And in this country, the success of our children cannot depend more on where they live than on their potential.

When we renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we will work with Congress to expand these reforms to all 50 states. Still, in this economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job. That's why I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families. (Applause.)

To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that go to banks for student loans. (Applause.) Instead, let's take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants. (Applause.) And let's tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years -- and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college. (Applause.)

And by the way, it's time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs -- (applause) -- because they, too, have a responsibility to help solve this problem.

Now, the price of college tuition is just one of the burdens facing the middle class. That's why last year I asked Vice President Biden to chair a task force on middle-class families. That's why we're nearly doubling the child care tax credit, and making it easier to save for retirement by giving access to every worker a retirement account and expanding the tax credit for those who start a nest egg. That's why we're working to lift the value of a family's single largest investment -- their home. The steps we took last year to shore up the housing market have allowed millions of Americans to take out new loans and save an average of $1,500 on mortgage payments.

This year, we will step up refinancing so that homeowners can move into more affordable mortgages. (Applause.) And it is precisely to relieve the burden on middle-class families that we still need health insurance reform. (Applause.) Yes, we do. (Applause.)

Now, let's clear a few things up. (Laughter.) I didn't choose to tackle this issue to get some legislative victory under my belt. And by now it should be fairly obvious that I didn't take on health care because it was good politics. (Laughter.) I took on health care because of the stories I've heard from Americans with preexisting conditions whose lives depend on getting coverage; patients who've been denied coverage; families -- even those with insurance -- who are just one illness away from financial ruin.

After nearly a century of trying -- Democratic administrations, Republican administrations -- we are closer than ever to bringing more security to the lives of so many Americans. The approach we've taken would protect every American from the worst practices of the insurance industry. It would give small businesses and uninsured Americans a chance to choose an affordable health care plan in a competitive market. It would require every insurance plan to cover preventive care.

And by the way, I want to acknowledge our First Lady, Michelle Obama, who this year is creating a national movement to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity and make kids healthier. (Applause.) Thank you. She gets embarrassed. (Laughter.)

Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan. It would reduce costs and premiums for millions of families and businesses. And according to the Congressional Budget Office -- the independent organization that both parties have cited as the official scorekeeper for Congress -- our approach would bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades. (Applause.)

Still, this is a complex issue, and the longer it was debated, the more skeptical people became. I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people. And I know that with all the lobbying and horse-trading, the process left most Americans wondering, "What's in it for me?"

But I also know this problem is not going away. By the time I'm finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance. Millions will lose it this year. Our deficit will grow. Premiums will go up. Patients will be denied the care they need. Small business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether. I will not walk away from these Americans, and neither should the people in this chamber. (Applause.)

So, as temperatures cool, I want everyone to take another look at the plan we've proposed. There's a reason why many doctors, nurses, and health care experts who know our system best consider this approach a vast improvement over the status quo. But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know. (Applause.) Let me know. Let me know. (Applause.) I'm eager to see it.

Here's what I ask Congress, though: Don't walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people. (Applause.) Let's get it done. Let's get it done. (Applause.)

Now, even as health care reform would reduce our deficit, it's not enough to dig us out of a massive fiscal hole in which we find ourselves. It's a challenge that makes all others that much harder to solve, and one that's been subject to a lot of political posturing. So let me start the discussion of government spending by setting the record straight.

At the beginning of the last decade, the year 2000, America had a budget surplus of over $200 billion. (Applause.) By the time I took office, we had a one-year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. All this was before I walked in the door. (Laughter and applause.)

Now -- just stating the facts. Now, if we had taken office in ordinary times, I would have liked nothing more than to start bringing down the deficit. But we took office amid a crisis. And our efforts to prevent a second depression have added another $1 trillion to our national debt. That, too, is a fact.

I'm absolutely convinced that was the right thing to do. But families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same. (Applause.) So tonight, I'm proposing specific steps to pay for the trillion dollars that it took to rescue the economy last year.

Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. (Applause.) Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will. (Applause.)

We will continue to go through the budget, line by line, page by page, to eliminate programs that we can't afford and don't work. We've already identified $20 billion in savings for next year. To help working families, we'll extend our middle-class tax cuts. But at a time of record deficits, we will not continue tax cuts for oil companies, for investment fund managers, and for those making over $250,000 a year. We just can't afford it. (Applause.)

Now, even after paying for what we spent on my watch, we'll still face the massive deficit we had when I took office. More importantly, the cost of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will continue to skyrocket. That's why I've called for a bipartisan fiscal commission, modeled on a proposal by Republican Judd Gregg and Democrat Kent Conrad. (Applause.) This can't be one of those Washington gimmicks that lets us pretend we solved a problem. The commission will have to provide a specific set of solutions by a certain deadline.

Now, yesterday, the Senate blocked a bill that would have created this commission. So I'll issue an executive order that will allow us to go forward, because I refuse to pass this problem on to another generation of Americans. (Applause.) And when the vote comes tomorrow, the Senate should restore the pay-as-you-go law that was a big reason for why we had record surpluses in the 1990s. (Applause.)

Now, I know that some in my own party will argue that we can't address the deficit or freeze government spending when so many are still hurting. And I agree -- which is why this freeze won't take effect until next year -- (laughter) -- when the economy is stronger. That's how budgeting works. (Laughter and applause.) But understand -- understand if we don't take meaningful steps to rein in our debt, it could damage our markets, increase the cost of borrowing, and jeopardize our recovery -- all of which would have an even worse effect on our job growth and family incomes.

From some on the right, I expect we'll hear a different argument -- that if we just make fewer investments in our people, extend tax cuts including those for the wealthier Americans, eliminate more regulations, maintain the status quo on health care, our deficits will go away. The problem is that's what we did for eight years. (Applause.) That's what helped us into this crisis. It's what helped lead to these deficits. We can't do it again.

Rather than fight the same tired battles that have dominated Washington for decades, it's time to try something new. Let's invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt. Let's meet our responsibility to the citizens who sent us here. Let's try common sense. (Laughter.) A novel concept.

To do that, we have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now. We face a deficit of trust -- deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap we have to take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue -- to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; to give our people the government they deserve. (Applause.)

That's what I came to Washington to do. That's why -- for the first time in history -- my administration posts on our White House visitors online. That's why we've excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs, or seats on federal boards and commissions.

But we can't stop there. It's time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my administration or with Congress. It's time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office.

With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign corporations -- to spend without limit in our elections. (Applause.) I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. (Applause.) They should be decided by the American people. And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems.

I'm also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform. Applause.) Democrats and Republicans. (Applause.) Democrats and Republicans. You've trimmed some of this spending, you've embraced some meaningful change. But restoring the public trust demands more. For example, some members of Congress post some earmark requests online. (Applause.) Tonight, I'm calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single Web site before there's a vote, so that the American people can see how their money is being spent. (Applause.)

Of course, none of these reforms will even happen if we don't also reform how we work with one another. Now, I'm not naïve. I never thought that the mere fact of my election would usher in peace and harmony -- (laughter) -- and some post-partisan era. I knew that both parties have fed divisions that are deeply entrenched. And on some issues, there are simply philosophical differences that will always cause us to part ways. These disagreements, about the role of government in our lives, about our national priorities and our national security, they've been taking place for over 200 years. They're the very essence of our democracy.

But what frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is Election Day. We can't wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about the other side -- a belief that if you lose, I win. Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can. The confirmation of -- (applause) -- I'm speaking to both parties now. The confirmation of well-qualified public servants shouldn't be held hostage to the pet projects or grudges of a few individual senators. (Applause.)

Washington may think that saying anything about the other side, no matter how false, no matter how malicious, is just part of the game. But it's precisely such politics that has stopped either party from helping the American people. Worse yet, it's sowing further division among our citizens, further distrust in our government.

So, no, I will not give up on trying to change the tone of our politics. I know it's an election year. And after last week, it's clear that campaign fever has come even earlier than usual. But we still need to govern.

To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades, and the people expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills. (Applause.) And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that 60 votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town -- a supermajority -- then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. (Applause.) Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions. (Applause.) So let's show the American people that we can do it together. (Applause.)
Spoiler:
This week, I'll be addressing a meeting of the House Republicans. I'd like to begin monthly meetings with both Democratic and Republican leadership. I know you can't wait. (Laughter.)

Throughout our history, no issue has united this country more than our security. Sadly, some of the unity we felt after 9/11 has dissipated. We can argue all we want about who's to blame for this, but I'm not interested in re-litigating the past. I know that all of us love this country. All of us are committed to its defense. So let's put aside the schoolyard taunts about who's tough. Let's reject the false choice between protecting our people and upholding our values. Let's leave behind the fear and division, and do what it takes to defend our nation and forge a more hopeful future -- for America and for the world. (Applause.)

That's the work we began last year. Since the day I took office, we've renewed our focus on the terrorists who threaten our nation. We've made substantial investments in our homeland security and disrupted plots that threatened to take American lives. We are filling unacceptable gaps revealed by the failed Christmas attack, with better airline security and swifter action on our intelligence. We've prohibited torture and strengthened partnerships from the Pacific to South Asia to the Arabian Peninsula. And in the last year, hundreds of al Qaeda's fighters and affiliates, including many senior leaders, have been captured or killed -- far more than in 2008.

And in Afghanistan, we're increasing our troops and training Afghan security forces so they can begin to take the lead in July of 2011, and our troops can begin to come home. (Applause.) We will reward good governance, work to reduce corruption, and support the rights of all Afghans -- men and women alike. (Applause.) We're joined by allies and partners who have increased their own commitments, and who will come together tomorrow in London to reaffirm our common purpose. There will be difficult days ahead. But I am absolutely confident we will succeed.

As we take the fight to al Qaeda, we are responsibly leaving Iraq to its people. As a candidate, I promised that I would end this war, and that is what I am doing as President. We will have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August. (Applause.) We will support the Iraqi government -- we will support the Iraqi government as they hold elections, and we will continue to partner with the Iraqi people to promote regional peace and prosperity. But make no mistake: This war is ending, and all of our troops are coming home. (Applause.)

Tonight, all of our men and women in uniform -- in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and around the world -- they have to know that we -- that they have our respect, our gratitude, our full support. And just as they must have the resources they need in war, we all have a responsibility to support them when they come home. (Applause.) That's why we made the largest increase in investments for veterans in decades -- last year. (Applause.) That's why we're building a 21st century VA. And that's why Michelle has joined with Jill Biden to forge a national commitment to support military families. (Applause.)

Now, even as we prosecute two wars, we're also confronting perhaps the greatest danger to the American people -- the threat of nuclear weapons. I've embraced the vision of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan through a strategy that reverses the spread of these weapons and seeks a world without them. To reduce our stockpiles and launchers, while ensuring our deterrent, the United States and Russia are completing negotiations on the farthest-reaching arms control treaty in nearly two decades. (Applause.) And at April's Nuclear Security Summit, we will bring 44 nations together here in Washington, D.C. behind a clear goal: securing all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years, so that they never fall into the hands of terrorists. (Applause.)

Now, these diplomatic efforts have also strengthened our hand in dealing with those nations that insist on violating international agreements in pursuit of nuclear weapons. That's why North Korea now faces increased isolation, and stronger sanctions -- sanctions that are being vigorously enforced. That's why the international community is more united, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated. And as Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt: They, too, will face growing consequences. That is a promise. (Applause.)

That's the leadership that we are providing -- engagement that advances the common security and prosperity of all people. We're working through the G20 to sustain a lasting global recovery. We're working with Muslim communities around the world to promote science and education and innovation. We have gone from a bystander to a leader in the fight against climate change. We're helping developing countries to feed themselves, and continuing the fight against HIV/AIDS. And we are launching a new initiative that will give us the capacity to respond faster and more effectively to bioterrorism or an infectious disease -- a plan that will counter threats at home and strengthen public health abroad.

As we have for over 60 years, America takes these actions because our destiny is connected to those beyond our shores. But we also do it because it is right. That's why, as we meet here tonight, over 10,000 Americans are working with many nations to help the people of Haiti recover and rebuild. (Applause.) That's why we stand with the girl who yearns to go to school in Afghanistan; why we support the human rights of the women marching through the streets of Iran; why we advocate for the young man denied a job by corruption in Guinea. For America must always stand on the side of freedom and human dignity. (Applause.) Always. (Applause.)

Abroad, America's greatest source of strength has always been our ideals. The same is true at home. We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we're all created equal; that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it; if you adhere to our common values you should be treated no different than anyone else.

We must continually renew this promise. My administration has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil rights violations and employment discrimination. (Applause.) We finally strengthened our laws to protect against crimes driven by hate. (Applause.) This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. (Applause.) It's the right thing to do. (Applause.)

We're going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws -- so that women get equal pay for an equal day's work. (Applause.) And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system -- to secure our borders and enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation. (Applause.)

In the end, it's our ideals, our values that built America -- values that allowed us to forge a nation made up of immigrants from every corner of the globe; values that drive our citizens still. Every day, Americans meet their responsibilities to their families and their employers. Time and again, they lend a hand to their neighbors and give back to their country. They take pride in their labor, and are generous in spirit. These aren't Republican values or Democratic values that they're living by; business values or labor values. They're American values.

Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have lost faith that our biggest institutions -- our corporations, our media, and, yes, our government -- still reflect these same values. Each of these institutions are full of honorable men and women doing important work that helps our country prosper. But each time a CEO rewards himself for failure, or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for his own selfish gain, people's doubts grow. Each time lobbyists game the system or politicians tear each other down instead of lifting this country up, we lose faith. The more that TV pundits reduce serious debates to silly arguments, big issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away.

No wonder there's so much cynicism out there. No wonder there's so much disappointment.

I campaigned on the promise of change -- change we can believe in, the slogan went. And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren't sure if they still believe we can change -- or that I can deliver it.

But remember this -- I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I could do it alone. Democracy in a nation of 300 million people can be noisy and messy and complicated. And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy. That's just how it is.

Those of us in public office can respond to this reality by playing it safe and avoid telling hard truths and pointing fingers. We can do what's necessary to keep our poll numbers high, and get through the next election instead of doing what's best for the next generation.

But I also know this: If people had made that decision 50 years ago, or 100 years ago, or 200 years ago, we wouldn't be here tonight. The only reason we are here is because generations of Americans were unafraid to do what was hard; to do what was needed even when success was uncertain; to do what it took to keep the dream of this nation alive for their children and their grandchildren.

Our administration has had some political setbacks this year, and some of them were deserved. But I wake up every day knowing that they are nothing compared to the setbacks that families all across this country have faced this year. And what keeps me going -- what keeps me fighting -- is that despite all these setbacks, that spirit of determination and optimism, that fundamental decency that has always been at the core of the American people, that lives on.

It lives on in the struggling small business owner who wrote to me of his company, "None of us," he said, "...are willing to consider, even slightly, that we might fail."

It lives on in the woman who said that even though she and her neighbors have felt the pain of recession, "We are strong. We are resilient. We are American."

It lives on in the 8-year-old boy in Louisiana, who just sent me his allowance and asked if I would give it to the people of Haiti.

And it lives on in all the Americans who've dropped everything to go someplace they've never been and pull people they've never known from the rubble, prompting chants of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A!" when another life was saved.

The spirit that has sustained this nation for more than two centuries lives on in you, its people. We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don't quit. I don't quit. (Applause.) Let's seize this moment -- to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more. (Applause.)

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
I broke it up for slightly easier reading. Also: The Republican Response. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/ ... 8483.shtml
Spoiler:
Good evening. I'm Bob McDonnell. Eleven days ago I was honored to be sworn in as the 71st governor of Virginia.

I'm standing in the historic House Chamber of Virginia's Capitol, a building designed by Virginia's second governor, Thomas Jefferson.

It’s not easy to follow the President of the United States. And my twin 18-year old boys have added to the pressure, by giving me exactly ten minutes to finish before they leave to go watch SportsCenter.

I'm joined by fellow Virginians to share a Republican perspective on how to best address the challenges facing our nation today.

We were encouraged to hear President Obama speak this evening about the need to create jobs.

All Americans should have the opportunity to find and keep meaningful work, and the dignity that comes with it.

Many of us here, and many of you watching, have family or friends who have lost their jobs.

1 in 10 American workers is unemployed. That is unacceptable.

Here in Virginia we have faced our highest unemployment rate in more than 25 years, and bringing new jobs and more opportunities to our citizens is the top priority of my administration.

Good government policy should spur economic growth, and strengthen the private sector’s ability to create new jobs.

We must enact policies that promote entrepreneurship and innovation, so America can better compete with the world.

What government should not do is pile on more taxation, regulation, and litigation that kill jobs and hurt the middle class.

It was Thomas Jefferson who called for "A wise and frugal Government which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry ….and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned…" He was right.

Today, the federal government is simply trying to do too much.

Last year, we were told that massive new federal spending would create more jobs 'immediately' and hold unemployment below 8%.

In the past year, over three million Americans have lost their jobs, yet the Democratic Congress continues deficit spending, adding to the bureaucracy, and increasing the national debt on our children and grandchildren.

The amount of this debt is on pace to double in five years, and triple in ten. The federal debt is already over $100,000 per household.

This is simply unsustainable. The President's partial freeze on discretionary spending is a laudable step, but a small one.

The circumstances of our time demand that we reconsider and restore the proper, limited role of government at every level.

Without reform, the excessive growth of government threatens our very liberty and prosperity.

In recent months, the American people have made clear that they want government leaders to listen and act on the issues most important to them.

We want results, not rhetoric. We want cooperation, not partisanship.

There is much common ground.

All Americans agree, we need a health care system that is affordable, accessible, and high quality.

But most Americans do not want to turn over the best medical care system in the world to the federal government.

Republicans in Congress have offered legislation to reform healthcare, without shifting Medicaid costs to the states, without cutting Medicare, and without raising your taxes.

We will do that by implementing common sense reforms, like letting families and businesses buy health insurance policies across state lines, and ending frivolous lawsuits against doctors and hospitals that drive up the cost of your healthcare.

And our solutions aren't thousand-page bills that no one has fully read, after being crafted behind closed doors with special interests.

In fact, many of our proposals are available online at solutions.gop.gov, and we welcome your ideas on Facebook and Twitter.

All Americans agree, this nation must become more energy independent and secure.

We are blessed here in America with vast natural resources, and we must use them all.

Advances in technology can unleash more natural gas, nuclear, wind, coal, and alternative energy to lower your utility bills.

Here in Virginia, we have the opportunity to be the first state on the East Coast to explore for and produce oil and natural gas offshore.

But this Administration’s policies are delaying offshore production, hindering nuclear energy expansion, and seeking to impose job-killing cap and trade energy taxes.

Now is the time to adopt innovative energy policies that create jobs and lower energy prices.

All Americans agree, that a young person needs a world-class education to compete in the global economy. As a kid my dad told me, "Son, to get a good job, you need a good education." That’s even more true today.

The President and I agree on expanding the number of high-quality charter schools, and rewarding teachers for excellent performance. More school choices for parents and students mean more accountability and greater achievement.

A child's educational opportunity should be determined by her intellect and work ethic, not by her zip code.

All Americans agree, we must maintain a strong national defense. The courage and success of our Armed Forces is allowing us to draw down troop levels in Iraq as that government is increasingly able to step up. My oldest daughter, Jeanine, was an Army platoon leader in Iraq, so I'm personally grateful for the service and the sacrifice of all of our men and women in uniform, and a grateful nation thanks them.

We applaud President Obama's decision to deploy 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. We agree that victory there is a national security imperative. But we have serious concerns over recent steps the Administration has taken regarding suspected terrorists.

Americans were shocked on Christmas Day to learn of the attempted bombing of a flight to Detroit. This foreign terror suspect was given the same legal rights as a U.S. citizen, and immediately stopped providing critical intelligence.

As Senator-elect Scott Brown says, we should be spending taxpayer dollars to defeat terrorists, not to protect them.

Here at home government must help foster a society in which all our people can use their God-given talents in liberty to pursue the American Dream. Republicans know that government cannot guarantee individual outcomes, but we strongly believe that it must guarantee equality of opportunity for all.

That opportunity exists best in a democracy which promotes free enterprise, economic growth, strong families, and individual achievement.

Many Americans are concerned about this Administration's efforts to exert greater control over car companies, banks, energy and health care.

Over-regulating employers won’t create more employment; overtaxing investors won’t foster more investment.

Top-down one-size fits all decision making should not replace the personal choices of free people in a free market, nor undermine the proper role of state and local governments in our system of federalism. As our Founders clearly stated, and we Governors understand, government closest to the people governs best.

And no government program can replace the actions of caring Americans freely choosing to help one another. The Scriptures say "To whom much is given, much will be required." As the most generous and prosperous nation on Earth, it is heartwarming to see Americans giving much time and money to the people of Haiti. Thank you for your ongoing compassion.

Some people are afraid that America is no longer the great land of promise that she has always been. They should not be.

America will always blaze the trail of opportunity and prosperity.

America must always be a land where liberty and property are valued and respected, and innocent human life is protected.

Government should have this clear goal: Where opportunity is absent, we must create it. Where opportunity is limited, we must expand it. Where opportunity is unequal, we must make it open to everyone.

Our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to create this nation.

Now, we should pledge as Democrats, Republicans and Independents--Americans all---to work together to leave this nation a better place than we found it.

God Bless you, and God Bless our great nation.
That being said, now for my comments. Obama needs to quit whining about the previous administration.

And I would have liked the republican response a bit more had they not mentioned scripture.

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Re: State of the Union

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:46 pm UTC

Some thoughts on the speech.

1) Obama is either dumb or unwilling to compromise his beliefs. The safe bet was 'run to the middle' and he choose not to do that. The fact he mentioned and backed Cap and Trade was surprising, particularly when you factor in that it seems to be dead.

2) I don't know how I feel about him using this forum to scold the SCOTUS. I feel it was probably inappropriate -- and since he didn't explain it in detail for the American people, probably going to be lost on them anyway.

3) I enjoyed how he tricked the Republicans into standing for energy reform by including "America will be #1". He did this a few times and essentially forced Republicans to stand and applaud for things they don't believe in.

4) My gut tells me that while he said "I want this and that", in reality he has lowered his expectations and we won't see a large push from the WH for several of his policy agenda items.

5) I think he should have spent more time reminding people he lowered taxes, and peppered it throughout the speech. Rather than in just one forgettable punch.

6) I don't think the speech will change his poll numbers. His and Dems future is going to ride on the economy and jobs growth and I think they realize this.



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Re: State of the Union

Postby tzvibish » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:10 pm UTC

:x I especially loved the little sarcastic smirk he had when referring to the previous administration, and their follies.

Also, he basically called out the people doubting the "science" behind climate change as dumb and naive, cracking a joke - "I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change." (Btw, you forgot the (laughter) after this one. Actually, just a pause and a snicker). Way to bash a large group of people for thinking on their own and doubting a "scientific claim" that will make people a whole lot of cash. If you want to discuss the science, discuss. Don't just wave away all nay-sayers with a cynical smirk. Bad play, Mr. President.

Otherwise, pretty generic, I thought. Nothing surprising or groundbreaking.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:26 pm UTC

Is Congress going to go along with this budget freeze thing? Because it's their ball game. They control the cash flow, and unless they're totally sold on this idea, they'll start nickel and diming Obama's favorite bills until this budget freeze becomes a joke.

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Re: State of the Union

Postby Indon » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:28 pm UTC

I don't think he spent remotely enough time touching upon what is clearly the most vital issue to his administration - corporate campaign cash. Corporations have worked tirelessly to try to hamstring Obama's administration so far, and they've only been empowered since, and all he can spare is a "Well, that sucks, and let's work on fixing that"?

Dude should be rabble-rousing right now. With an opportunity like the State of the Union, and a year of corporations clearly demonstrating themselves to be The Bad Guys Who Hate Change (And Puppies), he could have frothing mobs pushing for a constitutional amendment to fix this shit right now.

tzvibish wrote:Also, he basically called out the people doubting the "science" behind climate change as dumb and naive, cracking a joke - "I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change." (Btw, you forgot the (laughter) after this one. Actually, just a pause and a snicker). Way to bash a large group of people for thinking on their own and doubting a "scientific claim" that will make people a whole lot of cash. If you want to discuss the science, discuss. Don't just wave away all nay-sayers with a cynical smirk. Bad play, Mr. President.


It's a bad political play, but factually, it's comparable to snickering at young earth creationists. Maybe a bit worse because it's not quite as obviously wrong as YECism is, and it's primarily political rather than religious in nature.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:09 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Is Congress going to go along with this budget freeze thing? Because it's their ball game. They control the cash flow, and unless they're totally sold on this idea, they'll start nickel and diming Obama's favorite bills until this budget freeze becomes a joke.


Pelosi indicated yesterday (day of the speech) that she had problems with the freeze. She went so far as to say that if they are going to 'freeze' any spending, it should apply to all spending... er specificially on defense. "we all need to make sacrificies".

It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Something that was also evident in the speech, that I finally woke up and noticed is just how pissed off the House is for making all the tough votes why the Senate sat back in utter safety by doing nothing --- and now congressman are going to have to deal with those votes in the election this year and the Senate won't.

The thunderous applause and emphasis when Obama praised them for their votes, and their posture too the Senate was in full display.


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Re: State of the Union

Postby The Reaper » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:13 pm UTC

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20100128/D9DGKDT00.html
Spoiler:
FACT CHECK: Obama and a toothless commission
by Calvin Woodward

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama told Americans the bipartisan deficit commission he will appoint won't just be "one of those Washington gimmicks." Left unspoken in that assurance was the fact that the commission won't have any teeth.

Obama confronted some tough realities in his State of the Union speech Wednesday night, chief among them that Americans are continuing to lose their health insurance as Congress struggles to pass an overhaul.

Yet some of his ideas for moving ahead skirted the complex political circumstances standing in his way.

A look at some of Obama's claims and how they compare with the facts:

---

OBAMA: "Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't."

THE FACTS: The anticipated savings from this proposal would amount to less than 1 percent of the deficit - and that's if the president can persuade Congress to go along.

Obama is a convert to the cause of broad spending freezes. In the presidential campaign, he criticized Republican opponent John McCain for suggesting one. "The problem with a spending freeze is you're using a hatchet where you need a scalpel," he said a month before the election. Now, Obama wants domestic spending held steady in most areas where the government can control year-to-year costs. The proposal is similar to McCain's.

---

OBAMA: "I've called for a bipartisan fiscal commission, modeled on a proposal by Republican Judd Gregg and Democrat Kent Conrad. This can't be one of those Washington gimmicks that lets us pretend we solved a problem. The commission will have to provide a specific set of solutions by a certain deadline. Yesterday, the Senate blocked a bill that would have created this commission. So I will issue an executive order that will allow us to go forward, because I refuse to pass this problem on to another generation of Americans."

THE FACTS: Any commission that Obama creates would be a weak substitute for what he really wanted - a commission created by Congress that could force lawmakers to consider unpopular remedies to reduce the debt, including curbing politically sensitive entitlements like Social Security and Medicare. That idea crashed in the Senate this week, defeated by equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. Any commission set up by Obama alone would lack authority to force its recommendations before Congress, and would stand almost no chance of success.

---

OBAMA: Discussing his health care initiative, he said, "Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan."

THE FACTS: The Democratic legislation now hanging in limbo on Capitol Hill aims to keep people with employer-sponsored coverage - the majority of Americans under age 65 - in the plans they already have. But Obama can't guarantee people won't see higher rates or fewer benefits in their existing plans. Because of elements such as new taxes on insurance companies, insurers could change what they offer or how much it costs. Moreover, Democrats have proposed a series of changes to the Medicare program for people 65 and older that would certainly pinch benefits enjoyed by some seniors. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted cuts for those enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans.

---

OBAMA: The president issued a populist broadside against lobbyists, saying they have "outsized influence" over the government. He said his administration has "excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs." He also said it's time to "require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my administration or Congress" and "to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office."

THE FACTS: Obama has limited the hiring of lobbyists for administration jobs, but the ban isn't absolute; seven waivers from the ban have been granted to White House officials alone. Getting lobbyists to report every contact they make with the federal government would be difficult at best; Congress would have to change the law, and that's unlikely to happen. And lobbyists already are subject to strict limits on political giving. Just like every other American, they're limited to giving $2,400 per election to federal candidates, with an overall ceiling of $115,500 every two years.

---

OBAMA: "Because of the steps we took, there are about 2 million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed. ... And we are on track to add another one and a half million jobs to this total by the end of the year."

THE FACTS: The success of the Obama-pushed economic stimulus that Congress approved early last year has been an ongoing point of contention. In December, the administration reported that recipients of direct assistance from the government created or saved about 650,000 jobs. The number was based on self-reporting by recipients and some of the calculations were shown to be in error.

The Congressional Budget Office has been much more guarded than Obama in characterizing the success of the stimulus plan. In November, it reported that the stimulus increased the number of people employed by between 600,000 and 1.6 million "compared with what those values would have been otherwise." It said the ranges "reflect the uncertainty of such estimates." And it added, "It is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package."

---

OBAMA: He called for action by the White House and Congress "to do our work openly, and to give our people the government they deserve."

THE FACTS: Obama skipped past a broken promise from his campaign - to have the negotiations for health care legislation broadcast on C-SPAN "so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies." Instead, Democrats in the White House and Congress have conducted the usual private negotiations, making multibillion-dollar deals with hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders behind closed doors. Nor has Obama lived up consistently to his pledge to ensure that legislation is posted online for five days before it's acted upon.

---

OBAMA: "The United States and Russia are completing negotiations on the farthest-reaching arms control treaty in nearly two decades."

THE FACTS: Despite insisting early last year that they would complete the negotiations in time to avoid expiration of the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in early December, the U.S. and Russia failed to do so. And while officials say they think a deal on a new treaty is within reach, there has been no breakthrough. A new round of talks is set to start Monday. One important sticking point: disagreement over including missile defense issues in a new accord. If completed, the new deal may arguably be the farthest-reaching arms control treaty since the original 1991 agreement. An interim deal reached in 2002 did not include its own rules on verifying nuclear reductions.

---

OBAMA: Drawing on classified information, he claimed more success than his predecessor at killing terrorists: "And in the last year, hundreds of al-Qaida's fighters and affiliates, including many senior leaders, have been captured or killed - far more than in 2008."

THE FACTS: It is an impossible claim to verify. Neither the Bush nor the Obama administration has published enemy body counts, particularly those targeted by armed drones in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. The pace of drone attacks has increased dramatically in the last 18 months, according to congressional officials briefed on the secret program.

---

Associated Press writers Jim Kuhnhenn, Jim Drinkard, Erica Werner, Robert Burns and Pamela Hess contributed to this report.

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Re: State of the Union

Postby Sourire » Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:52 pm UTC

I think, surprisingly enough, on some level I preferred the Republican response to the actual State of the Union. Now that's not to say I agree with their ideology more, but I like their delivery better. Simply put, Obama seemed to be making excuses (possibly necessary), and the idea of action was almost an afterthought. For example, he claimed that the 1T in deficit was caused by necessity, and to ameliorate it, we should make changes. Deficit, surplus, or all other possible conditions notwithstanding, when is the ability to "save" 1T not a good thing? If someone shows up at my door with a check, I hardly need to know their motivation for why they'd like for me to have it-particularly on the order of trillions of dollars.

That said, when attempting to actually parse the words of each platform with the ideology they represent, I think Republicans surprisingly came out as the party giving mouth service to equality. However, I certainly do wonder how much of the rhetoric of equal opportunity they mean to uphold.

And in response to the OP-I agree the Bush-blaming is getting somewhat old. But it's absolutely necessary here. It's how Obama actually gained his seat, and we've swung to damn near the opposite side, ad a society. People are making the mental association between Democrats and recession, because we are in the latter while the former holds office. In this case, correlation does not imply causation, and I think that's the root of his point-and it's a point that needs to be made to salvage some Congressional seats.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Mallich » Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:28 pm UTC

Am I the only one who burst into laughter at this line? [quote=Republican Response]But most Americans do not want to turn over the best medical care system in the world to the federal government.[/quote]The appeals to authority aren't particularly good, either.

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Re: State of the Union

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:31 pm UTC

Sourire wrote:For example, he claimed that the 1T in deficit was caused by necessity, and to ameliorate it, we should make changes.


Its called Keynesian economics which the vast majority of the worlds economists subscribe too.

Sourire wrote:Deficit, surplus, or all other possible conditions notwithstanding, when is the ability to "save" 1T not a good thing?


During a recession when Demand is depressed.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:32 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:Its called Keynesian economics which the vast majority of the worlds economists subscribe too.

Not necessarily because it's right, but because that's where all the money is.

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Re: State of the Union

Postby Indon » Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:02 pm UTC

Sourire wrote:And in response to the OP-I agree the Bush-blaming is getting somewhat old. But it's absolutely necessary here. It's how Obama actually gained his seat, and we've swung to damn near the opposite side, ad a society. People are making the mental association between Democrats and recession, because we are in the latter while the former holds office. In this case, correlation does not imply causation, and I think that's the root of his point-and it's a point that needs to be made to salvage some Congressional seats.


Well, that's true, but clearly, being on the political defensive isn't going to accomplish much, the country as a whole doesn't seem to be getting it.

The country's much more ready to hear a solution to the problem right now, even if they have difficulty remembering what the problem actually is.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Vaniver » Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:02 pm UTC

Watched part of it. Not particularly impressed. Obama's a good speaker, and Biden is amusing to watch (particularly when he does things like almost jump the gun on clapping), but the speech's content was... uninspiring.

Obama's populism and anger at the banks rings false, and doesn't do anyone any good. As much as I disagree with Indon on the role of corporations in society, he's right that this was Obama's moment to touch into actual populist feelings- but he didn't.

Obama's stories almost always made me think of the opposite stories. When he talked about small businesses who weren't getting loans from banks, I thought about small businesses paralyzed by their uncertainty about government action. When he talked about children wondering when they would be able to move back home, or when their parents would get back to work, I thought about children who will someday have to face the burden of entitlements and debt that are being accrued, or who will have to face the next bust.

When he said that Americans weren't interested in partisanship, I almost wanted to laugh. Is that why Independents appear to be favoring the Republicans in droves for the coming elections? If that's anything, it's confirmation that he's consciously trying to move to the middle, rather than continue pushing the liberal line on reform. But reform from the middle is often a confused muddle.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:06 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Ixtellor wrote:Its called Keynesian economics which the vast majority of the worlds economists subscribe too.

Not necessarily because it's right, but because that's where all the money is.


I don't think you know many economists. They are geeky wonks who love science, not money grubby liberals bent on a strict adherance to ideology. (except Krugman - but he is still brilliant and more importantly - right)

When competing economic theories start making predictions as accurate as Keynesians, they will take over the field.

Its not research dollars and salaries -- its predictive power that determines who wins and loses. (Except Real Business Cycle subscribers who get massive props while lacking predictive powers - odd)

Hey Monatarists... WTF is the hyper inflation you have been yelling about?



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Re: State of the Union

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:26 pm UTC

ITT: Ixtellor knows SO MANY ECONOMISTS.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Admiral Valdemar » Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:06 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:ITT: Ixtellor knows SO MANY ECONOMISTS.


Trufact. Economics is a totally legit science, especially when the core tenet of modern capitalism is growth 4EVA, which probably clashes with the laws of physics somewhere. I'd sack the science teachers behind these guys.

Obama's SOTU was, I have to agree with Vaniver, yet more rhetoric from a frontman to one of the most spineless parties to grace this planet. I can give Obama some slack here, since he does seem to have some good ideas, but given his slimeball party is completely castrated, he may as well address a brick wall.

I also cringe intensely when they applaud every fucking sentence that sounds reasonable to a human being with a functioning brain. "We must work together" *applause* "We must think of the children" *applause* "Fat cats are bad, mmkay?" *applause*

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Re: State of the Union

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:03 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:ITT: Ixtellor knows SO MANY ECONOMISTS.


I guess that was supposed to be some kind of insult, but its true. I do know a shitton of economists.
Just like people in science, know a lot of scientists or people like you who know a lot of McDonalds workers.
(Yes that was a caddy insult that appeals to the lowest base - but you earned it)

Admiral Valdemar wrote:Trufact. Economics is a totally legit science, especially when the core tenet of modern capitalism is growth 4EVA, which probably clashes with the laws of physics somewhere. I'd sack the science teachers behind these guys.


Economics is a blend of science and psychology, with a near infinite number of variables.
The best of the best are just guessing at what 6 billion people will do, and if you consistantly get within 5% accuracy your a MEGA-GOD in the field.


But its still annoying to hear morons say things like "economists bend their results to make Bush look bad".

Your effectively a conspiracy theorist who thinks economists are government hitmen who make shit up to support an agenda. When the reality is they are mostly pocket protector wearing nerds who married the first girl that glanced their way, make too many star trek references, and couldn't 'give a fuck' about political agendas.

Its like saying all climatologists are blaming man for warming, because its fashionable and want a paycheck from hippe environmentalists groups -- science be damned.

I didn't want to scare the liberals here but one of these economists I know, Carlos Zarazaga, strongly hinted his belief that the reason the stimulus and fed recovery efforts have not had the full impact, the data suggests should have happened, is due to the Healthcare legislation. And that once the reform effort goes away, the jobs will come. http://www.dallasfed.org/research/bios/zarazaga.html
(He was responsible for formulating the report that was presented to Obama in December.)

Point being, for some dipshit to suggest Zarazaga is subverting his research to preserve his job is conspiratorial at best. At worst... nevermind.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Indon » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:11 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:(Except Real Business Cycle subscribers who get massive props while lacking predictive powers - odd)

This is what they call the "austrian school", right (being the CAPITALISM 4 EVA guys)?

They give the field a bad name, especially considering a large amount of US politicians ascribe to those views unthinkingly, presumably because it gives them excuses to jack things up for profits.

Ixtellor wrote:I didn't want to scare the liberals here but one of these economists I know, Carlos Zarazaga, strongly hinted his belief that the reason the stimulus and fed recovery efforts have not had the full impact, the data suggests should have happened, is due to the Healthcare legislation. And that once the reform effort goes away, the jobs will come. http://www.dallasfed.org/research/bios/zarazaga.html
(He was responsible for formulating the report that was presented to Obama in December.)


I suspect such a phenomenon would be more the result of widespread corporate-induced panic as a result of opposition to healthcare than because of anything actually in healthcare reform.

Panic is going to slow down economic growth, no matter how it's generated.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:50 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:Economics is a blend of science and psychology, with a near infinite number of variables.
The best of the best are just guessing at what 6 billion people will do, and if you consistantly get within 5% accuracy your a MEGA-GOD in the field.

Statistically, if enough people make vague predictions, some of them will be right. Picking stocks is another field where you could be considered a MEGA-GOD when you're really just a bit lucky. I'm not saying economics is bullshit, but the economy is so spaghetti-coded that it's hard to prove causation and differentiate between lucky and good.
Ixtellor wrote:Point being, for some dipshit to suggest Zarazaga is subverting his research to preserve his job...

I didn't say that at all. Keynesian economics is more exciting, more action-oriented, and therefore more attractive not only to politicians, but to the general populace as well. If a Keynesian and an Austrian both write books, the first will sell, because it'll include stuff like "We need to land a man on Mars in order to get out of this Recession!" while the Austrian book will say "Well, it'll probably be fine in a few years." Not only is it less profitable, and less exciting, there's just not much to do from the Austrian perspective.

I was just saying that the Keynesian school's popularity does not make it correct. Of course Keynes is popular, it's the Tigger to the Von Mises Eeyore.

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Re: State of the Union

Postby Ixtellor » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:59 pm UTC

Indon wrote:This is what[Real Business Cycle] they call the "austrian school", right (being the CAPITALISM 4 EVA guys)?


No they are mortal enemies.
Austrians theory is very cool and I spent 6 months honing up on their theories in order to debate them, but at the end of the day when they do make predicitions, they suck.
(One of my finest academic achievments was PWNING a published Austrian economist and his predicitions about California energy deregulation.

I don't want to explain the whole school of though, but look up praxeology. Er here you go:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praxeology

They have a totally different approach than other economists that Heisenberg hinted at.

Real Business Cycle is different from Keynesians in several ways but a key difference is that they don't believe people make irrational decisions and that Keynesians look at too many variables as a result.
They also believe the only 'real' variable worth looking at is productivity.
They have two other key beliefs:
1) Fitting is Cheating - which means they calibrate all data to fit long-run growth features.
2) They subscribe to Kant's "Data without concepts are blind".

They have some very elegant models that due to my total lack of mathmatical and scientific symols use through LaTeX I can't reproduce here.

An example, I can only describe: W = [consumption to the Theta (1-Leisure)to the (1-Theta)] to the blah blah, over blah blah.

And lots more. Wiki has it all I am sure.

Indon wrote:I suspect such a phenomenon would be more the result of widespread corporate-induced panic as a result of opposition to healthcare than because of anything actually in healthcare reform.


Nearly correct. Its not panic, its the not knowing. The business community don't want to hire people without knowing the end costs, which are unknown due to a variety of healthcare proposals.
Or, they don't want to be in a position where they hire 100 workers and find out the new healthcare regulations dictated they could only have afforded to hire 80 at maximum profit.

I think a large segment just want a decision to be made regardless of that decision, so that they can make good economic decisions and not act before that and get stuck or trapped into expensive coverage or penelties.


Heisenberg wrote:I was just saying that the Keynesian school's popularity does not make it correct.


Again, its the predictive power.

The CBO and Bluechip Publications the #1 and #2 (not always in that order) consistantly out perform all competing theories in 5 year inflation/gdp predictions. (Yes some people get lucky from time to time, but don't have a consistant body of work)

If Chicago, or supply siders, or monatarists, or austrians, or Real Business Cycle, or New Keynesians made better predicitions the worlds chief economists would probably switch over. Just like the debate over the solid state universe. When that side was proven wrong, the worlds physists went with the evidence.

I think your publishing analogy is not evident in the real world. I do know of economists (hello Rice University) who are beholden to their theories, but most I know will follow the evidence. I am watching with great anticipation to see if the new Real Business cycle proponants predictions on the current recession come true. (They don't really make predicitions because they... er can't because it requires guessing... but, er... they did)((I am led to believe Obama's Council of Economic Advisors gave him an outlook based on New Business Cycle data))


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Re: State of the Union

Postby Indon » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:05 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:No they are mortal enemies.
Austrians theory is very cool and I spent 6 months honing up on their theories in order to debate them, but at the end of the day when they do make predicitions, they suck.
(One of my finest academic achievments was PWNING a published Austrian economist and his predicitions about California energy deregulation.

I don't want to explain the whole school of though, but look up praxeology. Er here you go:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praxeology

I know a good amount of the austrian school, as I've picked up bits and pieces occasionally when debating an anarchocapitalist or libertarian on the internet (and I've done that a bunch).

It was the RBC folks I wasn't really aware of. I mean, doesn't established work in game theory imply that such an RBC approach makes silly assumptions right off the bat?

Or... I guess you could reconcile that with a kind of 'hidden variable' approach where you give irrational motivations weight as if they were rational motivations, and then you just treat the whole thing like a rational behavior system. That might work, and could produce novel predictions.

Ixtellor wrote:Nearly correct. Its not panic, its the not knowing. The business community don't want to hire people without knowing the end costs, which are unknown due to a variety of healthcare proposals.
Or, they don't want to be in a position where they hire 100 workers and find out the new healthcare regulations dictated they could only have afforded to hire 80 at maximum profit.

I think a large segment just want a decision to be made regardless of that decision, so that they can make good economic decisions and not act before that and get stuck or trapped into expensive coverage or penelties.

Ah, that makes a lot of sense.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Philwelch » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:27 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:
Sourire wrote:For example, he claimed that the 1T in deficit was caused by necessity, and to ameliorate it, we should make changes.


Its called Keynesian economics which the vast majority of the worlds economists subscribe too.


That's not especially true. Keynes has been rather integrated into the neoclassical consensus, but the stagflation in the 70's rather discredited pure Keynesianism. So, Keynes was definitely influential but it's not quite true that contemporary economists are Keynesians.

Austrian economics was fairly influential in the early 20th century, but it's mostly dead now, except among a few libertarian nutjobs.

Oh yeah...a vast number of the more intellectually honest economists say that macroeconomics is bullshit in general. I assume that means they aren't Keynesians.

(Krugman, by the way, is a dishonest partisan hack who uses his economic credentials to support whatever the Democratic policy is at the time. My economist friends back in the day fucking hated that guy.)
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:10 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:Hey Monatarists... WTF is the hyper inflation you have been yelling about?

By the way,
Image
But who knows, maybe Obama will start slashing costs before things get too bad. Because I can't comprehend people who think that borrowing a significant percentage of our GDP and thrusting it into the economy won't affect the dollar.

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Re: State of the Union

Postby Crius » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:32 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Ixtellor wrote:Hey Monatarists... WTF is the hyper inflation you have been yelling about?

By the way,
Image
But who knows, maybe Obama will start slashing costs before things get too bad. Because I can't comprehend people who think that borrowing a significant percentage of our GDP and thrusting it into the economy won't affect the dollar.


I think most of the worry has been about this:

EXCRESNS_Max_630_378.png


Banks are currently holding about a trillion dollars in excess reserves that they aren't lending right now. If they start lending, it's very likely to cause a lot of inflation.

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Re: State of the Union

Postby nowfocus » Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:14 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Ixtellor wrote:Hey Monatarists... WTF is the hyper inflation you have been yelling about?

By the way,
Image
But who knows, maybe Obama will start slashing costs before things get too bad. Because I can't comprehend people who think that borrowing a significant percentage of our GDP and thrusting it into the economy won't affect the dollar.


The inflation rate in the past decade has never topped 5%. That is not hyperinflation.

@Ixtellor: If your not supposed to fit the models, how are you to test the theory? And shouldn't we test theories before we apply them to broader society?
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Ixtellor » Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:02 pm UTC

Indon wrote: when debating an anarchocapitalist or libertarian on the internet (and I've done that a bunch).


I am banned from all their sites now. Ironically, hardcore libertarians are not really fans of free speech.

Indon wrote:doesn't established work in game theory imply that such an RBC approach makes silly assumptions right off the bat?


You referring to rationality?
1) I like game theory on the micro level, not a fan on the macro.(this probably means I don't know enough though)
2) If you think humans are going to pick a dominate strategy, then that would agree with RBC because then no one acts irrationally.

Indon wrote:Or... I guess you could reconcile that with a kind of 'hidden variable' approach where you give irrational motivations weight as if they were rational motivations, and then you just treat the whole thing like a rational behavior system. That might work, and could produce novel predictions.


My understanding is that rational decisions are assumed, because its just a reflection of people choosing leisure over productivity. I would say more, but I would have to refer to texts since I am no expert on RBC and can't really speak intelligently about it off the top of my head.

Philwelch wrote:Krugman, by the way, is a dishonest partisan hack


Well he isn't a hack, and dishonest is pure conjecture on your part. But he is partisan. Go read his textbooks, then tell me he's a hack.

Heisenberg wrote:By the way,


You just showed supply and demand of a single product. It would be like me showing a chart of Twilight merchandise over the same period and expecting you to accept it as some sort of proof of any thing other than bad/young taste.

The CPI was something like 2.7% in December.

Philwelch wrote: but the stagflation in the 70's rather discredited pure Keynesianism


I am not going to argue that Keynes had it perfect, but...

Stagflation in the 70's:
What about OPEC?
What about the Soviet agriculture crisis?
What about Nixonian price controls?
What about increases in worker productivity in that decade or lack thereof

Philwelch wrote:Oh yeah...a vast number of the more intellectually honest economists say that macroeconomics is bullshit in general


I hear this much more often about microeconomics.
I agree its not a pure science due to the large number of variables and um... humans, but guessing trends in GDP 5 years out, fairly consistantly, isn't lucky bullshit.

Why do you think every major firm and nation on earth use economists... because they are like witchdoctors staring at chicken bones... or is there something more to it?
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Heisenberg » Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:58 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:I am banned from all their sites now. Ironically, hardcore libertarians are not really fans of free speech.
Hahaha, nice.
Ixtellor wrote:You just showed supply and demand of a single product.
Unfortunately the economy of the entire world has been affected. Right after the stimulus, the dollar was weakening against other currencies. But then, it stopped. This could be because pumping trillions into the economy has no effect on the value of the dollar, but the more likely explanation is that everyone else's currency started tanking too, as recession+stimulus became a worldwide fad.

This is one of the many problems in economics. It's impossible to make objective measurements because everything's related and everything's varying wildly.

Edit:
Ixtellor wrote:Why do you think every major firm and nation on earth use economists... because they are like witchdoctors staring at chicken bones... or is there something more to it?

Why do you think every major TV station employs a Weatherman?
Oh wait, statistically, Weathermen are full of shit, and you'd be more accurate if you forecasted "no rain" every day.

Of course people employ weathermen and economists. We like to think that we can predict what's going to happen to us. Keynes made it so we could think we were actually affecting the economic forecast as well, like controlling the weather. Hells yes we're going to hire that guy, and pay him money, and ask him when disaster will strike. We're human, we want to know these things, regardless of their accuracy.

Appeal to the masses fail.

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Re: State of the Union

Postby Owijad » Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:28 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:When he said that Americans weren't interested in partisanship, I almost wanted to laugh. Is that why Independents appear to be favoring the Republicans in droves for the coming elections?


I know we've moved on, but I wanted to mention that Independents are favoring Republican candidates because the current Independent party is effectively the "Conservatives who didn't like Bush or Tea Parties" party. They're not on the fence about which main party's philosophy they favor, they just don't want their views associated with crazy people.

It's not like Obama could have ever won them over while remaining even slightly true to his base.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby mmmcannibalism » Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:52 pm UTC

Owijad wrote:
Vaniver wrote:When he said that Americans weren't interested in partisanship, I almost wanted to laugh. Is that why Independents appear to be favoring the Republicans in droves for the coming elections?


I know we've moved on, but I wanted to mention that Independents are favoring Republican candidates because the current Independent party is effectively the "Conservatives who didn't like Bush or Tea Parties" party. They're not on the fence about which main party's philosophy they favor, they just don't want their views associated with crazy people.

It's not like Obama could have ever won them over while remaining even slightly true to his base.


The independants in America are slightly more complex then one sentence. Depending on various things, there are states rights type voters, actual libertarians(you know then ones who socially liberal and economically conservative not the fake fundamentalist ones), and of course lots of people that hate the current parties. I would also imagine there are various far left and far right groups that register independant(like some of the tea party groups and communists).

That being said, the reason americans are interested in partisanship is that everyone likes their nice clean we are good they are evil dichotomies. After all, you don't have to think if you can just say D/R good R/D bad.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby folkhero » Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:04 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Edit:
Ixtellor wrote:Why do you think every major firm and nation on earth use economists... because they are like witchdoctors staring at chicken bones... or is there something more to it?

Why do you think every major TV station employs a Weatherman?
Oh wait, statistically, Weathermen are full of shit, and you'd be more accurate if you forecasted "no rain" every day.

Of course people employ weathermen and economists. We like to think that we can predict what's going to happen to us. Keynes made it so we could think we were actually affecting the economic forecast as well, like controlling the weather. Hells yes we're going to hire that guy, and pay him money, and ask him when disaster will strike. We're human, we want to know these things, regardless of their accuracy.

Appeal to the masses fail.

At least the weatherman can usually get the big stuff right. A few weeks ago the weatherman said "get ready for a shitton of snow," and we ended up getting our third biggest snowstorm ever recorded. Did any macroeconomist predict the housing bubble to pop and that snowballing into a credit crunch and recession? Have macroeconomists successfully predicted any major crashes? When everything goes acording to plan, the best macroeconomists have somewhat better predictions than wild guessing, but that just reminds me of 'physics' who brag about how many of their vague predictions come true while every single one of them missed 9/11, the Indian Ocean tsunami and the Haitian earthquake. Color me unimpressed
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Re: State of the Union

Postby nowfocus » Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:17 pm UTC

folkhero wrote:At least the weatherman can usually get the big stuff right. A few weeks ago the weatherman said "get ready for a shitton of snow," and we ended up getting our third biggest snowstorm ever recorded. Did any macroeconomist predict the housing bubble to pop and that snowballing into a credit crunch and recession? Have macroeconomists successfully predicted any major crashes? When everything goes acording to plan, the best macroeconomists have somewhat better predictions than wild guessing, but that just reminds me of 'physics' who brag about how many of their vague predictions come true while every single one of them missed 9/11, the Indian Ocean tsunami and the Haitian earthquake. Color me unimpressed


I've recently begun studying economics at the Phd level, and I think the issue here is a marketing problem. There are two vastly different areas of economics, one that makes unrealistic assumptions to show that certain effects exist, and one that collects real world data to empirically and clearly answer tough questions. The types of things that your asking for (such as when will a market crash) are very difficult to study empirically, and so people have to rely on models. There is some success, which is were not in a great depression, but it certainly isn't can't be a science.

If you want to see some of the empirical stuff, maybe read freakonomics or one or two papers from my pile. I'm happy to PM you some if you want.

As for physics: Physics makes a lot of very difficult predictions with uncanny accuracy. I'm not sure what you mean by 'vague' predictions, physics often makes exact prediction. The issue with earth quakes is that its hard to get the data necessary to predict them. People are trying to predict these phenomena, but for some reason its difficult to see whats happening hundreds of miles below the surface.

Oh, and blaming physics for not predicting 9/11 makes you an uneducated moron, plain and simple. I normally don't do personal attacks, but thats one of the stupidest things I've read on these forums.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Texas_Ben » Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:32 pm UTC

nowfocus wrote:Oh, and blaming physics for not predicting 9/11 makes you an uneducated moron, plain and simple. I normally don't do personal attacks, but thats one of the stupidest things I've read on these forums.

Chill man, I think he meant "psychics", not physics. Just a typo.

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Re: State of the Union

Postby folkhero » Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:22 pm UTC

Texas_Ben wrote:
nowfocus wrote:Oh, and blaming physics for not predicting 9/11 makes you an uneducated moron, plain and simple. I normally don't do personal attacks, but thats one of the stupidest things I've read on these forums.

Chill man, I think he meant "psychics", not physics. Just a typo.

This, sadly spellcheck can't check for stupid.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby Vaniver » Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:39 am UTC

Owijad wrote:I know we've moved on, but I wanted to mention that Independents are favoring Republican candidates because the current Independent party is effectively the "Conservatives who didn't like Bush or Tea Parties" party. They're not on the fence about which main party's philosophy they favor, they just don't want their views associated with crazy people.

It's not like Obama could have ever won them over while remaining even slightly true to his base.
Possibly? These are the independents who preferred Obama by a wide margin a year ago. My guess is that they tend to dislike 'successful' partisanship- that is, they prefer Clinton years where a president and Congress work at cross purposes and so are only able to inflict some harm upon the public, and dislike the promise of the first Obama year where radical changes were possible, and thus incredible harm can be inflicted upon the public. The strategy of "always vote against the person who holds office now" is not a particularly bad strategy.

folkhero wrote:Did any macroeconomist predict the housing bubble to pop and that snowballing into a credit crunch and recession? Have macroeconomists successfully predicted any major crashes?
Yes? I know there's a group that predicted the recession about a year before it was officially declared, and I know a number of people called the housing bubble. A lot of other called that there was an unrealistic assumption that housing prices were a safe bet to always rise, which was demonstrated to be an incredibly false view.
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Re: State of the Union

Postby folkhero » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:24 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
folkhero wrote:Did any macroeconomist predict the housing bubble to pop and that snowballing into a credit crunch and recession? Have macroeconomists successfully predicted any major crashes?
Yes? I know there's a group that predicted the recession about a year before it was officially declared, and I know a number of people called the housing bubble. A lot of other called that there was an unrealistic assumption that housing prices were a safe bet to always rise, which was demonstrated to be an incredibly false view.

I know there were a lot of people saying that the housing market was a bubble, but did any of them predict how the bursting of the bubble would drag the whole economy down so drastically?

Who are the people that predicted the recession? I'm not an expert, so I may well be wrong, but I was under the impression that the big macroecon firms like Blue Chip all missed it.
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MrGee
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Re: State of the Union

Postby MrGee » Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:35 am UTC

Ixtellor wrote:Why do you think every major firm and nation on earth use economists... because they are like witchdoctors staring at chicken bones... or is there something more to it?


Every nation on earth also has priests, and their predictive power is pretty terrible.

My experience of economics and game theory so far has been 50% bullshit and 50% useless. It's really more like philosophy with numbers. The main problem is that it's so hard to study--it takes years and years to collect data, and setting up a controlled experiment is almost impossible. Plus the human element makes the whole thing extremely variable.

One of my favorites is the near universal agreement that WWII brought us out of the Depression, in contrast to the universal belief among historians that costly wars are a major factor in the ruin of nations. Secretly I'm hoping someone will explain away all the inconsistencies for me, but until then I'm not putting any faith in economic predictions.

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Re: State of the Union

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:18 am UTC

Texas_Ben wrote:
nowfocus wrote:Oh, and blaming physics for not predicting 9/11 makes you an uneducated moron, plain and simple. I normally don't do personal attacks, but thats one of the stupidest things I've read on these forums.

Chill man, I think he meant "psychics", not physics. Just a typo.

Did you really just chastise someone for responding to what someone actually said? It's worth pointing out and clarifying, but your phrasing makes it look like the MORE literate person is at fault for the miscommunication...
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MrGee
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Re: State of the Union

Postby MrGee » Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:32 am UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:
Texas_Ben wrote:
nowfocus wrote:Oh, and blaming physics for not predicting 9/11 makes you an uneducated moron, plain and simple. I normally don't do personal attacks, but thats one of the stupidest things I've read on these forums.

Chill man, I think he meant "psychics", not physics. Just a typo.

Did you really just chastise someone for responding to what someone actually said? It's worth pointing out and clarifying, but your phrasing makes it look like the MORE literate person is at fault for the miscommunication...


If by "more literate" you mean "reads like a computer". I've seen people misspell "psychics" before. I've never seen anyone use a phrase like "every single one of them missed 9/11" to describe physics.

Yes, every last one of you physics has fucked up! Relativity, especially you!

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Re: State of the Union

Postby Marquee Moon » Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:41 am UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:
Texas_Ben wrote:
nowfocus wrote:Oh, and blaming physics for not predicting 9/11 makes you an uneducated moron, plain and simple. I normally don't do personal attacks, but thats one of the stupidest things I've read on these forums.

Chill man, I think he meant "psychics", not physics. Just a typo.

Did you really just chastise someone for responding to what someone actually said? It's worth pointing out and clarifying, but your phrasing makes it look like the MORE literate person is at fault for the miscommunication...

nowfocus wasn't responsible for the miscommunication, but by his/her own admission, she/he was throwing a personal attack at someone who, as it later turned out, didn't deserve it (though, I suppose no one deserves a personal attack). I think a couple of mgs of Chillin'TM is just what the doctor ordered.

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folkhero
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Re: State of the Union

Postby folkhero » Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:42 am UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:
Texas_Ben wrote:
nowfocus wrote:Oh, and blaming physics for not predicting 9/11 makes you an uneducated moron, plain and simple. I normally don't do personal attacks, but thats one of the stupidest things I've read on these forums.

Chill man, I think he meant "psychics", not physics. Just a typo.

Did you really just chastise someone for responding to what someone actually said? It's worth pointing out and clarifying, but your phrasing makes it look like the MORE literate person is at fault for the miscommunication...

Well, thanks for judging my literacy based on one typo :roll:
While I do admit that the failure in communication is mostly my fault, part of being an attentive audience is the understanding that people sometimes misspeak, commit typos and communicate metaphorically.

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