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Obama State of the Union Highlights

 SoU Notes:

Obama tried to get Boehner to cry by congratulating him right off the bat (Biden does not look at Boehner).

Standing ovation on working together?  "We will move forward together, or not at all." 

"At stake is whether jobs grow in this country or somewhere else."  "Stock market roaring back, corporate profits are up."  

Saying together a lot.  

 

That world has changed. And for many, the change has been painful. I’ve seen it in the shuttered windows of once booming factories, and the vacant storefronts on once busy Main Streets. I’ve heard it in the frustrations of Americans who’ve seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear -– proud men and women who feel like the rules have been changed in the middle of the game.
 
They’re right. The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100. Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there’s an Internet connection.
 
Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They’re investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became the home to the world’s largest private solar research facility, and the world’s fastest computer.
 
So, yes, the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real. But this shouldn’t discourage us. It should challenge us. Remember -– for all the hits we’ve taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. (Applause.) No workers — no workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We’re the home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any place on Earth.
 
The future is ours to win. But to get there, we can’t just stand still. As Robert Kennedy told us, “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.” Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat. It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age.

 

Mentions Facebook as one one of America's great companies (equal to Google).  Man those guys are getting hype lately!  

He's talking about "our generation's Sputnik moment" and says he'll send a new budget full of infrastructure and R&D spending.  Interesting if it passes.  

This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. And in a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology -– (applause) — an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

That’s what Americans have done for over 200 years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we’ve begun to reinvent our energy policy. We’re not just handing out money. We’re issuing a challenge. We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo projects of our time.
 
At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they’re using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. (Applause.)
 
We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. (Applause.) I don’t know if — I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. (Laughter.) So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.
 
Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: By 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. (Applause.)
 
Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all — and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen. (Applause.)

 

I love it when Presidents set goals for 25 years later - so pointless and unaccountable.   I do like the focus on education but we've had a decade of nothing happening there already, tough ship to turn around.  100,000 new teachers in 10 years - what kind of goal is this?  There are 4.5M teachers now so 2.25% - is that an increase or just replacing 112,500 a year (1/40th) that retire? 

Tuition tax credit of $10,000 for four years of college?  Are these jokes?  I got $2,500 a year when I went to college 30 years ago!   I think now that might pay for books.  

 

The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America. To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information — from high-speed rail to high-speed Internet. (Applause.)
 
Our infrastructure used to be the best, but our lead has slipped. South Korean homes now have greater Internet access than we do. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports. Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation’s infrastructure, they gave us a “D.”
 
We have to do better. America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities, constructed the Interstate Highway System. The jobs created by these projects didn’t just come from laying down track or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town’s new train station or the new off-ramp.
 
So over the last two years, we’ve begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. And tonight, I’m proposing that we redouble those efforts. (Applause.)
 
We’ll put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We’ll make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based [on] what’s best for the economy, not politicians.
Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail. (Applause.) This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying –- without the pat-down. (Laughter and applause.) As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.
 
Within the next five years, we’ll make it possible for businesses to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all Americans.

 

About Friggin' time.  Why didn't he listen to me last year???

Blaming lobbyists for "rigging the tax code" and asking for simplification and reform.  Says we can lower Corporate Tax Rate without adding to deficit.  Corporations paid $182Bn in taxes in 2009, citizens paid $2Bn - this will be interesting to see how low they can go. 

 

To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I’ve ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. (Applause.) But I will not hesitate to create or enforce common-sense safeguards to protect the American people. (Applause.) That’s what we’ve done in this country for more than a century. It’s why our food is safe to eat, our water is safe to drink, and our air is safe to breathe. It’s why we have speed limits and child labor laws. It’s why last year, we put in place consumer protections against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies and new rules to prevent another financial crisis. (Applause.) And it’s why we passed reform that finally prevents the health insurance industry from exploiting patients. (Applause.)
 
Now, I have heard rumors that a few of you still have concerns about our new health care law. (Laughter.) So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved. If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses. (Applause.)
 
What I’m not willing to do — what I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a preexisting condition. (Applause.)

 

Says worst of recession is over but Government still spending more than it takes in.  "That is not sustainable. Every day families sacrifice to live within their means - they deserve a government that does the same."  Calls for a 5-year spending freeze that will reduce deficit by $400Bn over next 10 years ($40Bn a year?).  

10s of Billions of Defense cuts?  

 

Now, most of the cuts and savings I’ve proposed only address annual domestic spending, which represents a little more than 12 percent of our budget. To make further progress, we have to stop pretending that cutting this kind of spending alone will be enough. It won’t. (Applause.)
 
The bipartisan fiscal commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don’t agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it –- in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes. (Applause.)
 
This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. The health insurance law we passed last year will slow these rising costs, which is part of the reason that nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit. Still, I’m willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year — medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits. (Applause - even from Boehner!)
 
To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. (Applause.) We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market. (Applause - not from Boehner.)
 
And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply can’t afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. (Applause - Boehner almost choking.) Before we take money away from our schools or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break. It’s not a matter of punishing their success. It’s about promoting America’s success. (timid applause.)

 

Says simplifying tax code is the way to go.  Talking about reducing Government redundancy.  

 

Now, we’ve made great strides over the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste. Veterans can now download their electronic medical records with a click of the mouse. We’re selling acres of federal office space that hasn’t been used in years, and we’ll cut through red tape to get rid of more. But we need to think bigger. In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America. I will submit that proposal to Congress for a vote –- and we will push to get it passed. (Applause.)
 
In the coming year, we’ll also work to rebuild people’s faith in the institution of government. Because you deserve to know exactly how and where your tax dollars are being spent, you’ll be able to go to a website and get that information for the very first time in history. Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done — put that information online. And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it. I will veto it. (Applause.)

 

This I have to see.  Will be super-lame now if he doesn't veto anything. 

All this talk and the Dollar is laying at 78...

This March, I will travel to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to forge new alliances across the Americas. Around the globe, we’re standing with those who take responsibility -– helping farmers grow more food, supporting doctors who care for the sick, and combating the corruption that can rot a society and rob people of opportunity.

Good time to invest in Brazil as they should get a lot of press on this trip. 

Wow - says "And we saw that same desire to be free in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator. And tonight, let us be clear: The United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people."  That sends a big message to other potential revolutionaries doesn't it?  Kind of funny coming right after he's bragging about how we crushed the insurgents in Afghanistan but what can you do? 

Tries to make Boehner cry again (almost worked) by mentioning how great it is that a boy who used to sweep floor in his Daddy's bar can grow up to be Speaker of the House.  

 

From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That’s how we win the future.
 
We’re a nation that says, “I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company.” “I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree.” “I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try.” “I’m not sure how we’ll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we’ll get there. I know we will.”
 
We do big things. (Applause.)
 
The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it’s because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.

 

It was a good, uplifting speech.  Very good idea to mix up the Reps and Dems so Congress looks united and the feed I see (link above) didn't show many dissenters.  

Dow ran back to its highs in futures, Nas made new highs, S&P added 5 points.  Hang Seng up 0.6% at 2:30, Shanghai up 1.2% but Nikkei down 0.6% on dollar weakness and TM recalling 1.7M cars.  

Paul Ryan's rebuttal was pretty tame, big statements were:

 

Our debt is the product of acts by many presidents and many Congresses over many years. No one person or party is responsible for it.
 
There is no doubt the President came into office facing a severe fiscal and economic situation.
 
Unfortunately, instead of restoring the fundamentals of economic growth, he engaged in a stimulus spending spree that not only failed to deliver on its promise to create jobs, but also plunged us even deeper into debt.
The facts are clear: Since taking office, President Obama has signed into law spending increases of nearly 25% for domestic government agencies – an 84% increase when you include the failed stimulus.
 
All of this new government spending was sold as “investment.” Yet after two years, the unemployment rate remains above 9% and government has added over $3 trillion to our debt.
 
Then the President and his party made matters even worse, by creating a new open-ended health care entitlement.
 
What we already know about the President’s health care law is this: Costs are going up, premiums are rising, and millions of people will lose the coverage they currently have. Job creation is being stifled by all of its taxes, penalties, mandates and fees.
 
Businesses and unions from around the country are asking the Obama Administration for waivers from the mandates. Washington should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. The President mentioned the need for regulatory reform to ease the burden on American businesses. We agree – and we think his health care law would be a great place to start.
 
Last week, House Republicans voted for a full repeal of this law, as we pledged to do, and we will work to replace it with fiscally responsible, patient-centered reforms that actually reduce costs and expand coverage.
Health care spending is driving the explosive growth of our debt. And the President’s law is accelerating our country toward bankruptcy.
 
Our debt is out of control. What was a fiscal challenge is now a fiscal crisis.
 
We cannot deny it; instead we must, as Americans, confront it responsibly.

Speaking candidly, as one citizen to another: We still have time… but not much time. If we continue down our current path, we know what our future will be.

Just take a look at what’s happening to Greece, Ireland, the United Kingdom and other nations in Europe. They didn’t act soon enough; and now their governments have been forced to impose painful austerity measures: large benefit cuts to seniors and huge tax increases on everybody.
Their day of reckoning has arrived. Ours is around the corner. That is why we must act now.

Some people will back away from this challenge. But I see this challenge as an opportunity to rebuild what Lincoln called the “central ideas” of the Republic.

We believe a renewed commitment to limited government will unshackle our economy and create millions of new jobs and opportunities for all people, of every background, to succeed and prosper. Under this approach, the spirit of initiative – not political clout – determines who succeeds.
 
Millions of families have fallen on hard times not because of our ideals of free enterprise – but because our leaders failed to live up to those ideals; because of poor decisions made in Washington and Wall Street that caused a financial crisis, squandered our savings, broke our trust, and crippled our economy.
Today, a similar kind of irresponsibility threatens not only our livelihoods but our way of life.
 
We need to reclaim our American system of limited government, low taxes, reasonable regulations, and sound money, which has blessed us with unprecedented prosperity. And it has done more to help the poor than any other economic system ever designed. That’s the real secret to job creation – not borrowing and spending more money in Washington.
 
Limited government and free enterprise have helped make America the greatest nation on earth.

 

It's going to be tough to reconcile a massive infrastructure and jobs-building goal with smaller and limited Government.  I think international markets and the futures are reacting to what Obama promises but Paul Ryan is the reality and the Reps aren't going to go for any of that Nation-Building crap.  It's the Government that crippled our economy (and, of course, we're forgetting whose watch that was under), not Big Business, according to Ryan..

Very tempting to short the Dow futures off that 11,950 line.  

Bachman made a very short speech, blames Obama for unemployment and deficit in first sentence!  Highlights as follows:

 

Good evening, my name is Congresswoman Michele Bachmann from Minnesota’s 6th District.
Two years ago, when Barack Obama became our President, unemployment was 7.8 percent and our national debt stood at what seemed like a staggering $10.6 trillion dollars.
 
We wondered whether the President would cut spending, reduce the deficit and implement real job-creating policies.
 
Unfortunately, the President’s strategy for recovery was to spend a trillion dollars on a failed stimulus program, fueled by borrowed money.
 
The White House promised us that all the spending would keep unemployment under 8 percent.
 
Not only did that plan fail to deliver, but within three months the national jobless rate spiked to 9.4 percent. And sadly, it hasn’t been lower for 20 straight months. While the government grew, we lost more than 2 million jobs.
 
Let me show you a chart. [CHART]

After the $700 billion bailout, the trillion-dollar stimulus, and the $410 billion spending bill with over 9,000 earmarks, many of you implored Washington to please stop spending money we don’t have.

But, instead of cutting, we saw an unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt, unlike anything we have seen in the history of our country.

Here are a few suggestions for fixing our economy:

The President could stop the EPA from imposing a job-destroying cap-and-trade system.
 
The President could support a Balanced Budget Amendment.
 
The President could agree to an energy policy that increases American energy production and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
 
The President could also turn back some of the 132 regulations put in place in the last two years, many of which will cost our economy $100 million or more.
 
And, the President should repeal ObamaCare and support free market solutions like medical malpractice reform and allow all Americans to buy any healthcare policy they like anywhere in the United States.
 
We believe in lower taxes, a limited view of government and the exceptionalism of America. And I believe America is the indispensible nation.

 

 

 

Wow!  Maybe I have my history mixed up but wasn't this nation founded by guys who formed a government and held a constitutional convention that wanted a strong Federal Government balanced by the States and Judiciary to make sure they didn't get out of control?  What is with this dismantling the Government to save our nation stuff?  

Obama is already caving in to Corporate interests but that's not enough, is it?  

Well, I guess the choice is use Government to build an America for the 21st century that trains its children for the jobs of the future and builds and infrastructure that we can all thrive on or disassemble the whole thing and trust unregulated, untaxed Big Business to take care of us.   

Maybe bad for Americans but good for the stock market if the Republicans and Tea Partiers get their way.