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The real State of the UnionPosted Tuesday, January 29, 2008, at 8:33 AM
You may have watched President Bush's State of the Union address last night.
Here's another look at the State of the Union, not the somewhat-rosy picture painted for us by a leader who wants to build on what he thinks is his legacy.
*We're still in Iraq. Some say we should get out, others say we should stay indefinitely. Sadly, the final decision may end up being based on the beliefs of a polticial party instead of what's best for America and our troops. And don't forget the other factor: Trying to bring together two warring factions unlikely to ever agree.
*Americans continue to lose their homes. The economy sputters. Too many Americans overspend and get into homes they can't really afford or loans they have no realistic hope of paying off. Business-focused Bush thinks the answer is to hand out dollars for yet another spending spree.
*We can't trust an administration which thinks secrecy in government activities which should be transparent is the code word for success. Meanwhile, more safeguards should be in place to ensure eavesdropping activities snare only those truly involved in terrorism and not innocent Americans. Those programs have way too much potential for abuse.
*Illegal immigrants are tolerated -- even encouraged -- by many industries at the same time the goverment claims efforts will be made to cut off the flow.
*Social Security may not exist 50 years from now the way things are going. Most of us can think of wasteful programs from which money could be reallocated.
*Forget cutting health care care costs and get realistic. As long as pharmaceutical and insurance companies are involved -- and they always will be -- costs will keep rising.
*As long as prices keep rising at the same time industries lay off employees or reduce others' salaries, the lower-upper income split will continue to widen. Will there no longer be a "middle class" at some point?
*Much of the world hates us. Yes, we should have the strongest military possible and the clout to demand respect from countries which threaten us. But there's a big difference between strength and arrogance. Arrogance belongs to the weak. We aren't weak. Bush doesn't understand, which may expose an insecurity under his bluster.
And I wonder if Bush's successor, no matter which party, can make any real difference as long as Washington power brokers are out for themselves and their big-money supporters' causes instead of what best builds the nation.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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