The State of the Union, and the State of Freedom

“My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” – 1 Kings 12:11

With those words, the newly elevated King Rehoboam split the kingdom of Israel in two. One wonders if he knew at the time  that he was driving away half of his kingdom, telling them that they had no place or right to be free, to have their burdens lifted, to enjoy their own lives and their own labors. One wonders if Rehoboam had any concept that the people who he saw as his play things were his equals before God.

Last night president Obama delivered his final State of the Union address before the election. The text of the speech can be found here. To be honest, one wonders if he knew what he was saying.

Consider a few exerpts:

  • He wants to build “An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.”
  • “We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”
  • “The state of our union is getting stronger. And we’ve come too far to turn back now. As long as I’m president, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.”

OK, I really have to stop – the list could go on and on and on.

Mr. president, are you listening? Mr. president, do you hear yourself? An economy “where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded” – does that sound like the economy you have promoted? Where money is transferred from hard workers to non-workers by government, and transferred from hard workers to high-rollers by the central bank? Is that an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded? Is that an economy built to last?

Maybe he is defining terms differently. Maybe by “hard work” he means working hard to establish political connection – because cronyism is what “pays off” here. Maybe by “responsibility” he means the general responsibility to pay homage to the political machine – because that is “rewarded” here.

I love the last bit too – “I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought us this economic crisis in the first place” – please, Mr. president, tell me what failed policies of the Bush administration you have actually opposed? Did you oppose the Wall Street bailout? Did you oppose bubble-blowing rates at the Fed? Did you oppose wealth transfer from responsible to irresponsible via government backing of mortgage debt at Fannie Mae & Freedie Mac? The answer to all of these is “no” – and worse yet, you have doubled down on these policies.

While we’re on the subject, please tell me what Bush policies, if any, that you actually oppose. Yes, we pulled out of Iraq, but we went full steam ahead to topple the Libyan regime, and the pot is starting to boil over in Iran. (Iran is where “crippling sanctions” – also supported by the Bush administration – were supposed to bring the regime to heel over its nuclear ambitions. Another Bush/Obama policy continuance.) Continual wars, bailouts for political cronies, bailouts for the rich and powerful, and a public backstop for risky lending by banks. This is the Obama legacy. He has fully embraced the failures of the previous administration and made them his own.

One wonders if he even understands the terms he’s using. Is this all just political theater, or does he really believe what he is saying? (Side note, for a consideration of the changing definition of “freedom” check out Misdefining Liberty by James Bovard.)

“Let’s never forget: Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that do the same. It’s time to apply the same rules from top to bottom: No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts.” Ron Paul? No, Barrack Obama. Too bad his actions have contradicted every single point. It’s like a philandering husband declaring his incessant commitment to marital fidelity. The Obama legacy is one of more bailouts, more handouts, more copouts, and a government and financial system that do not play by the rules.

Do you hear yourself, Mr. president? It’s getting embarrassing.

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One Response to The State of the Union, and the State of Freedom

  1. Javier says:

    Typical rightwing extremist reaction. Oh, yeah, and new economic report says the economy is accelerating under Obama, with unemployment plunging and job creation soaring. And as a Christian, I support a president whose economic policies looks out for the “least of these” amongst us, instead of “not worrying” about the poor. Way to go, President Obama!

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