Marco Rubio, Republican Senator from Florida was chosen to give the Republican rebuttal to the Presidents Speech. The son of Cuban immigrants, the Republicans hope that he will run for the Presidency in 2016.
Given their disgraceful performance among Hispanics, blacks, women, gays and any number of other minority groups, Republicans need to connect with those groups if they ever want to aspire to the presidency. This is something they love to do, trot out a token African-American, or woman, or in this case, Hispanic to claim that they are representative of those groups.
In the event, Rubio spent his time complaining about how the President picks on the rich and tries to expand government programs, to take money from the extremely wealthy job creators. I wonder sometimes why they insist on presenting this archaic, anachronistic philosophy, and get people to vote for them.
Returning to the speech that really mattered yesterday, the President was in fine mettle, presenting a litany of programs calculated not just to uplift the Middle Class, but to annoy every Republican in the chamber.
Obama acknowledged the long-term unsustainable growth in medical expenses that ultimately will cause the nation to bankrupt itself. We can all agree that reforms to medicare are necessary to keep costs contained.
The Conservative solution is to give people vouchers to buy private medical care, which is a really bad idea. With medical costs rising at a double digit rate, vouchers would not remotely cover the costs incurred by seniors.
Few insurance companies would cover the diseases that are inevitable with old age, and seniors would be left destitute after running through their savings to cover the added costs of medical.
The only realistic solution to rising medical costs is to introduce a government-run and administered program for all citizens, the so-called public option. Everyone would pay into the system, and everyone would get out of the program. No more insurance companies to get in the way. This works in Europe, and there is no reason that it cannot work here.
Let government negotiate prices for procedures and prescriptions, which would lower costs and prevent greedy corporations from taking advantage of ailing seniors. Of course, Marco Rubio does not believe that government can do anything good and would rather leave seniors at the mercy of insurance companies, despite the fact that his mother is on Medicare.
For those of us below a certain age, Medicare would no longer be there in our old age, placing enormous burdens on the elderly, and causing untold misery for them and their families. The Republicans insist on forcing the poor and the Middle Class to shoulder the enormous burdens of society, rather than forcing those that benefit from the system far more than the lower classes, namely, the wealthy.
The President also pointed out that we cannot grow our economy by pushing ever greater costs onto the Middle Class, asking them to pay even more for an education and health care. These burdens will slowly cripple the Middle Class, while the wealthy live sumptuous lives in multi million dollar yachts, and a half-dozen mansions dotted around the country, or the globe.
The enforced austerity that has crippled many European economies, implemented here have already seen communities lay off thousands of police officers, fire fighters, construction workers and teachers, that then become a burden on the community, draining their savings and strangling their local economies.
Instead of making the wealthy pay for the privileges that they take for granted, conservatives want to make the lives of the poor even more desperate, and drive many in the Middle Class into poverty.
As the president said, we cannot cut our way to prosperity. Just as with any business, you can cut away some expenses, force your staff to work more for less, but there comes a point at which the company has to invest in new technology, new workers, new factories, or purchase new inventory.
A country is just the same. Equipment (roads and bridges) wears out and needs to be repaired or replaced, workers with skills need to be hired, research and development needs to happen to stay competitive in the global market place.
All the conservatives are capable of seeing is that government spends too much and we have to cut back. The basic necessities of running a modern economy need to be attended to, or the country will fail. This is what is happening, conservatives are setting this country up for failure.
To further reduce the deficit, the president took a leaf from the Romney playbook, saying that he agreed that cutting tax loopholes is precisely what should be done. The difference between his approach and that of Romney, is that Romney wanted to cut tax breaks for the very poor, getting rid of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
With the president, the loopholes that he wants cut all benefit the wealthy, like the carried interest tax deduction that allows certain income to be treated as a dividend, which is taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income. People like Romney are able to pay a tax rate of 13%, lower than a secretary. These loopholes should be plugged.
Obama also pointed out that companies that move factories and jobs overseas are often given an incentive to move. So the insult to workers here that lose their jobs is not enough, we then have to give these Benedict Arnold companies a reward on top of the lower costs of doing business overseas.
The president reiterated his concentration on the Middle Class repetitively over the course of his speech. he said that we need a tax code that encourages job creation and brings down the deficit. The means to meet this goal are very different for conservatives and liberals.
Conservatives believe that the wealthy should not have to pay taxes, and they will create jobs. This has been shown not to be the case. over the last four years, companies have made massive profits, CEO pay has grown in rapidly, around twenty-five percent per year. Job growth has been anemic.
This shows categorically that allowing the wealthy to pay lower taxes does not result in job growth. What we clearly need is higher taxes on wealth and more job creation by government.
Truly small businesses, those with ten or twenty employees should be helped with subsidies and lower taxes, but large corporations really should be penalised for hoarding profits, lobbying for tax breaks and keeping their wealth offshore.
The wealthy should pay more tax, that is clear, and not in small increments. There are those that say that if that happened the wealthy would move their wealth out of the country.
My take on that is, let them go, and good riddance. it is not the wealthy that create wealth, they are only there to take it from hard-working people. If they leave, they cannot take advantage of the poorer classes, open businesses, or occupy land.
Others will fill their place, inevitably, and the country will grow wealthier. The United States is one of the greatest wealth creators in history. If a few wealthy slackers choose to leave, arrivederci, au revoir, hasta la vista, sayonara to them.
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