Wednesday, May 04, 2005

President's speech

I have the fortunate opportunity to listen to the president's speech while I was driving to Tulsa Thursday night. It was very interesting. I think it represented what the administration has tried to do. Solve problems. The speech covered two main proposals the president is trying to push: an energy proposal and the well known, oft criticized social security proposal.

Energy proposal
The energy proposal I know very little about. I thought some of the stats the president mentioned were interesting.

"In the past decade, America's energy consumption has been growing about 40 times faster than our energy production. That means we're relying more on energy produced abroad."

I generally agree with the President's four key ideas.

"First, we must better use technology to become better conservers of energy.

And secondly, we must find innovative and environmentally sensitive ways to make the most of our existing energy resources, including oil, natural gas, coal and safe, clean nuclear power.

Third, we must develop promising new sources of energy, such as hydrogen, ethanol or bio-diesel.

Fourth, we must help growing energy consumers overseas, like China and India, apply new technologies to use energy more efficiently and reduce global demand of fossil fuels."

Though, I am not sure what role (if any) the government should play in those four goals. In the questions and answer session I thought the president was extremely honest for a politician (those politicians are normally lying if their mouths are open) .

"QUESTION: Several times we've asked you or your aides what you could do about the high price of gasoline. And very often the answer has come back: "Congress needs to pass the energy bill."

Can you explain for us how, if it were passed soon after it were introduced, the energy bill would have an effect on the current record price of oil that we're seeing out there?

BUSH: Actually, I said in my opening statement that the best way to affect the current price of gasoline is to encourage producing nations to put more crude oil on the market.

That's the most effective way, because the price of crude oil determines in large measure the price of gasoline. The feed stock for gasoline is crude oil, and when crude oil goes up, the price of gasoline goes up.

There are other factors, by the way, that cause the price of gasoline to go up, but the main factor is the price of crude oil. And if we can get nations that have got some excess capacity to put crude on the market, the increased supply, hopefully, will meet increased demand and therefore take the pressure off price.

But, listen, the energy bill is certainly no quick fix. You can't wave a magic wand. I wish I could."

Social security
I basically knew all of the social security information that he mentioned, though I found a few things new and very interesting. The president also through in a few twists. I will cover the parts I feel are important, in the order the events occurred.

"Secondly, I believe a reformed system should protect those who depend on Social Security the most. So I propose a Social Security system in the future where benefits for low-income workers will grow faster than benefits for people who are better off."

Basically, I think the president is talking about a sliding index. All the poor people's checks will be tied to the wages increases and all the rich people's checks will be tied to the price increases. I am cool with that, though others are not. Of the mind said something to the effect that Bush is making the social security system more socialistic by adding this change (I cannot find the post, I think he took it down, but the Cube never forgets...hah...hah....hah). In other words, more of an income redistribution program. I would have to concede that point.

The president is also trying to make the program more conservative with his last point.

"I believe the best way to achieve this goal is to give younger workers the option — the opportunity — if they so choose, of putting a portion of their payroll taxes into a voluntary personal retirement account."

So in the end, I think ideological policy plan balances out. I would be willing to pay the rich less and the poor more, if get to keep more of my own money. I do not think that is conservative or liberal, just selfish.

Though there was one VERY large different in how he explained the personal accounts. The president used the term "voluntary personal retirement account" to describe some of the changes that he is suggesting. Which I thought that was funny, in light of fox news poll, which showed people where for ""voluntary personal retirement account" or VPRA's.

I also think the president's choice of words is funny, in light of the president's comment on polls in the speech.


BUSH: Polls? You know, if a president tries to govern based on polls, you're kind of like a dog chasing your tail.

I don't think you can make good, sound decisions based upon polls. And I don't think the American people want a president who relies upon polls and focus groups to make decisions for the American people."

Maybe the president does not look at polls, but his speech writers sure do.


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