By Alan Caruba
“He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient…Article II, Section 3, U.S. Constitution.
I don’t know when I concluded that the annual State of the Union speech was some kind of sad, bad political theater, but it was a very long time ago. When George W. Bush delivers his last such speech Monday evening, I will watch with the same interest I have for a documentary on venomous reptiles. Something he says might jump up to bite me.
This speech has, over the years, devolved into a laundry list of things any President says he wants Congress to do which, in practice, never get done. We have been witness, since the Democrats took control of Congress in 2004, to a legislative body that was incapable of agreeing on anything other than the insertion of “earmarks” in various bills designed to keep the wheels of government from falling off.
Its major accomplishment has been a so-called “Energy Bill” that, among other very bad ideas, intends to ban the incandescent light bulb starting in 2012. It is a disaster of inaction regarding the nation’s vast untapped potential oil and natural gas reserves. It mandates ethanol use otherwise known as "moonshine" and the burning of perfectly good corn for no good reason.
Only a financial crisis such as the current one affecting the value of the dollar has managed to galvanize both Congress and the White House to action and that action was to borrow still more money in order to give it away in such small amounts as to be laughable.
The idea behind this largess was to “stimulate the economy”, but it is merely the political equivalent of a psychological boost. It is a “feel good” effort designed to hide the mess brought upon themselves by the greedy mental midgets who passed as financial geniuses trading mortgage debt.
It is highly unlikely that George W. Bush is going to tell us anything other than his view that the economy is essentially sound. It is not. The nation owes so much money that even a thirteen trillion dollar economy is not sufficient. The government borrows millions every day just to function.
The many “entitlement” programs conjured up since the days of FDR are finally coming due and there isn’t enough money to cover their promissory notes. Even with Social Security a few years from bankruptcy, President Bush still managed to sign legislation that added billions to the Medicare entitlement in the form of prescription benefits. Before that, he never saw a spending bill he would not sign.
Fiscal prudence arrived at the White House after 2006 when the Democrats gained control of Congress, but they are the ones who came up with all these entitlement programs in the first place and they are the ones trying to foist still more such programs on us in an effort to take over the nation’s health system.
Failing to deal with the flood of illegal immigrants into the nation is costing us billions and, by “us”, I mean the taxpayers who must cover the costs of their children’s education, their unpaid medical costs when they show up for free care at our hospitals, and the cost of the judicial system that must catch, process, and incarcerate them when they commit crimes. We don’t even deport them when they complete their sentence. Then there are the billions they siphon out of the economy and send home. Without it, the Mexican economy would collapse.
I would not even hazard to guess how much the endless regulation of every aspect of life and business in America costs, but it’s a fair guess to suggest that any reductions in this area of governmental activity would be a major savings.
I predict that George W. Bush will examine the State of the Union and find a very rosy scenario. If he points to any problems they will be ones with “Democrat” stamped on them, but the truth is that a lot of Republicans are just sick over the way he and others have laid waste to the principles of fiscal prudence and a strong defense that, among others, define the conservative approach to governance.
Americans are looking for one important and essential factor in whoever gets elected their next President, competence. Bush and those he appointed to offices of power and responsibility have, more often than not, proven to be astonishingly incompetent.
The United States of America is at peril of being “nibbled to death by little duckies” if it can’t face up to the real State of the Union. Lord knows, we have enough real enemies.