At one point in his speech, President Barack Obama noted that Congress has voted to provide medical insurance for children, a bill most Republicans opposed. Republican congressmen sat quietly until finally they realized they were not applauding providing health care to children and slowly they rose to applaud. The incident was symbolic of what will destroy the Republican party. Governor Bobby Jindal followed the Obama speech with another recital that all problems could be solved by cutting taxes because it would allow people to make their own decisions about the future. Obama tried desperately to explain that if you don’t have a job, you don’t have an income and therefore you will not get a tax cut. Obama pointed a direction that at times of crisis the government must act boldly, but to Republicans the only bold thing it could do is to cut taxes. Ironically, Jindal cited working our way through the Great Depression. I assume Mr. Jindal does not understand that America got out of the Depression by bold government action.
President Obama made clear there are no quick and easy solutions. He emphasized that health care, education and a collapsed credit system must be dealt with boldly. Republican congressional reaction was silence and anger. Tax cuts will not compel banks to extend credit, tax cuts will not get people working, tax cuts will not solve the credit crisis. Bobby Jindal in his response claimed the people of New Orleans had solved their problems without the need of federal help. The Federal government spent $175 billion to help rebuild New Orleans, one can only assume Governor Jindal is either ignorant of that sum or doesn’t consider $175 billion to be of much help. But, he reflects the problem of the Republican party, they have yet to offer a single concrete solution except for the enduring “tax cut” solution.
It was encouraging to hear the president offer creation of a modern version of the GI Bill of Rights which apparently even Republicans endorse. We need to deal with high tuition rates that make college difficult for the middle class as well as poor people. The reality is there is no simple solution, but the Obama speech is an excellent beginning.