During President Obama's address to the joint session of congress, he let us know that in addition to addressing the economy, his administration will be focusing on three themes for his first term as President: Energy, Education and Health Care.
And he makes good arguments as to why he picked these three
The only way this century will be another American century is if we confront at last the price of our dependence on oil and the high cost of health care; the schools that aren’t preparing our children and the mountain of debt they stand to inherit. That is our responsibility.
I can get behind these goals. I agree that these are issues we need to be focusing on.
Now clearly I have my own requirements for these things and I can not tell from his address what precisely he intends to do.
For Health Care, the problem to me is not how we pay but what we pay. I am not so interested in shifting the cost of health care from me to government as much as I am interested is stemming the cost of health care. We must find ways of making health care affordable for people. It will do not good if Government takes over health care but the cost to me continues to increase.
And for me, there are other better reasons to keep health care out of the hands of Government, but again, to me, the underlying issue is the cost and we should be focusing on what we can do to reduce that cost.
And it seems the President and I agree on this
This is a cost that now causes a bankruptcy in America every thirty seconds. By the end of the year, it could cause 1.5 million Americans to lose their homes. In the last eight years, premiums have grown four times faster than wages. And in each of these years, one million more Americans have lost their health insurance. It is one of the major reasons why small businesses close their doors and corporations ship jobs overseas. And it’s one of the largest and fastest-growing parts of our budget.
Given these facts, we can no longer afford to put health care reform on hold.
With regards to Education the President addressed the problem
In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity – it is a pre-requisite.
Right now, three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations require more than a high school diploma. And yet, just over half of our citizens have that level of education. We have one of the highest high school dropout rates of any industrialized nation. And half of the students who begin college never finish.
All of this is true. And I agree with this
I noticed that this last did not get a lot of applause from the Democratic side.
I also liked his challenge to the American people
This is every bit as bold and idealistic as President's Bush drive to bring Democracy to the world.
And I like it.
But one of the problems right now is that like Health Care, the cost of a college education is way out of control. More, it is way more cost than benefit at least with regards to an individuals earning power vs the debt they incur. So to my mind this needs to be worked on.
And again, like health care, we don't necessarily need to have government pay for this as the President implied
That is why we will provide the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new goal: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
So how to do that? How do we pay for that on top of the spending we have already incurred? Again, it's not how we pay for an education it how much we pay. It will do no good if Government takes over paying because the cost of education will just go up if other cost reforms are not put in place.
But again I agree with the President when he said
And on Energy. I am in full agreement that Energy is a national security issue among other things. And I am all for using "stimulus" funds to enhance our energy delivery systems.
We will soon lay down thousands of miles of power lines that can carry new energy to cities and towns across this country. And we will put Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient so that we can save billions of dollars on our energy bills.
And I further agree that we have to do more than just make renewables available; we also have to make them cost effective.
To me, though, since we have no idea how long that will take, we need to develop domestic sources of energy in the form of exploiting American oil and oil shale as well as investing in nuclear power.
It just makes sense. Europe is reinvigorating their nuclear industry, we should as well.
Finally I was glad to hear that he has not neglected our armed forces
And I also think it is good and right that we put the cost of the wars in the budget, not off-budget as President Bush did. I understand why he did, but I think this is better.
President Obama gave a optimistic and hopeful speech that did not dismiss our current problems. And I think he is addressing serious issues that have been neglected for far too long.
He has promised entitlement reform both with respect to welfare and Social Security and Medicare. These are also needed.
But I suspect he will have as much trouble with his own party in enacting his agenda as he will with the Republicans.
I wish him luck in general but I also reserve the right to criticize the implementation....