I watched President Obama’s speech the other evening (last Tuesday to be exact) as many of you did. I was curious to see what changes were going to be made to the budget and I was interested in his targets for getting the economy going.
I’m not sure if you had this issue, but I always have a tough time watching speeches similar to this because it’s so obvious that all of the other politicians are there to brown nose.
Here are some of the items that I took away from the speech:
– 95% of all Americans will see tax cuts on April 1st in their paychecks.
– There is a website where you can see what is being done to put the US economy on the road to recovery, Recovery.gov. I took a quick look at this website and there’s not a whole lot of information posted yet. I hope that changes in the future. By looking at the website, it looks like it was perhaps rolled out to be available prior to his speech to Congress.
– 3.5 million jobs created through infrastructure improvements: roads, bridges, broadband, mass transit, etc.
He gave three examples of how he is going to kick start the economy:
1. New Lending Fund – Flow of credit is the lifeline of America and he aims to get that credit going through a new lending fund that will be able to loan to people for cars, college, and small businesses.
2. Housing Plan – This plan will help responsible lenders and mortgagees to lower interest rates and help keep people in their homes. I thought something like this had already been implemented. From what I’ve read of past plans, they have been ineffective. I wonder what they will do differently.
3. Bank Accountability – Put pressure on banks to lend to people. Also, there was a real emphasis on keeping the banks accountable for the money they receive from the taxpayers.
Obama said this a few times:
It’s not about helping banks, it’s about helping people.
Obama also seemed to hit on three major points – healthcare, energy, and education. In mentioning each of the three pursuits, Obama discussed items he’d like to target within each. The most notable pursuits being seeking a cure for cancer during our lifetime and by 2020, have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
All of this being said, what does all of this mean to you?
If you don’t live in the US or if you don’t care for the US, the speech probably didn’t do much for you. This blog never will be about politics so let’s put that aside. Regardless of your political affiliation, this speech was significant to you for a variety of reasons.
For one, if you are a taxpayer, this speech gave us an indication of what is being done with OUR money to help straighten out the economy. As I mentioned earlier, Recovery.org is to be the government’s vehicle for transparency to the taxpayers. It’s great that spending will be transparent, but we also need to begin looking at a way to begin paying down the debt. Currently, the U.S deficit is at close to $11 TRILLION, according to brillig.com. That comes to just over $35,600 for every man, woman, and child. That number is frightening once you start looking at the number of people in your family. For my wife and I, we would need to pay back ~$71,000. I’m not into scare tactics, but these are the facts and we need to live with it and figure out how to reverse this trend quickly.
The second reason why this speech was significant to you is that if you earn under $250,000 as a household, your taxes will not go up.
The third reason is that it appears there will be a renewed emphasis on education. It’s easy to make a claim that education is important. Let’s see if there is some follow through.
Perhaps the most significant moment for me was the story of Leonard Abess. Mr. Abess sold a stake he had in a bank last November. He took $60 million of the proceeds from that sale and gave it to the bank’s present and 72 former employees. Some of the long time employees received as much as $100,000.
Did you watch the speech? What did you think? What did it mean for you?
Photo by: Tony The Misfit
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