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John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

C-SPAN: Video: President Obama's First Speech to Congress: Challenges and Opportunities Lay Ahead


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This post was originally posted at FRS FreeStates on Blogger

When I look at America today I still see a country that I love, the greatest country in the World. There is no other country where I would rather live, even though my family, like most other American families, are originally from elsewhere. But I also see a country that is facing the most difficult challenges in a generation, or since the 1930s and its Great Depression.

On the bright side, I also see a country that has the most opportunities to advance in its great history even though America today has the worst economy at since the late 1970s or early 1980's, if not since the Great Depression.  At the same time it has an opportunity to once again rebuild its economy and make it the strongest economy in world history by putting Americans back to work rebuilding its physical infrastructure and giving overtaxed Americans and businesses tax relief.  The theory behind this is that if we put people to work and let them keep more of their money, then they will spend more, creating more jobs by growing the private sector economy.

America also faces the worst housing crisis since the 1930s.  People now owe more on their houses than their houses are worth, but we have an opportunity to fix the problem by helping people refinance so they can afford to pay off their mortgages. America can't fix its economic crisis without fixing its housing crisis, which is probably its biggest current economic problem.

America also faces an over $1 trillion budget deficit, which represents about 10 percent of our economy, and a $13 trillion national debt, which represents 90 percent of our economy.  Long term, this could put a drag on our economy if we don't get it under control, because the Federal Government will be competing with the private sector for limited funds to pay for the interest on the debt.  But at the same time, we have an opportunity to pay down our debt by ending the supply side borrow and spend fiscal policy of the Bush Administration and paying for things again with PAYGO, which means pay as you go and come up with the funds for any new spending. 

America also has issues with its health care system, which needs reforming, because long term it will be unaffordable if we don't get it under control. Roughly 50 million Americans do not have health insurance and most of them cannot afford health insurance. We also face an obesity problem, because one-half of all Americans are obese, as well as a diabetes problem, which is the fastest growing disease in America. And obesity leads to diabetes.  However, we have an opportunity to provide health insurance to every person in the country by fixing what doesn't work in health care and building on what does. 

America also faces a banking and business issue, where American businesses and banks are now failing because of the bad economy and mismanagement. But we have an opportunity to fix these problems by giving businesses, such as the auto industry, short-term loans and forcing them to restructure so they become competitive in the 21st century.  This would go a long way toward fixing our economy and putting Americans back to work. 

So there are plenty of issues facing America right now and plenty of work to do. And President Obama can look at his presidency in the early years as either the worst time to be President or an opportunity to shine and win reelection by turning America around and leading us back to prosperity.