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Location: Minnesota, United States

A Blog on Minnesota and National politics, religion, news, and life.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Bush's First State of the Union Speech (Laura Made Him Fix It)

Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, fellow citizens, as a new Congress gathers, all of us in the elected branches of government share a great privilege. We all lead the greatest country in the world, a country that fights for freedom, a country that makes sure that other countries have freedom, a country that cares. And tonight, that is a privilege we share with newly elected leaders of Afghanistan, Ukraine, and a free and sovereign Iraq. (Cheering, applause)

A mere two weeks ago (which seems like only yesterday) I stood on the steps of this capitol and said, Yippee-ki-yay, four more years of tax cuts and dead terrorists! Tonight I want to lay out my plans that I have for America, now I was told my Mr. Rove that I have to give you potions, that I can’t just tell you what to do. But don’t worry; it shouldn’t be that hard to tell which programs you are going to with. But, although there are problems, which I will fix, don’t worry, tonight, with a healthy, growing economy, with more Americans going back to work, with our nation an active force for good in the world, the state of our union is confident and strong. (Applause)

America has a kick ass economy, in the past four years of my presidency we have provided tax cuts to every person who pays income taxes, added 2.3 million jobs, and gained more oil for our SUV’s here at home and our tanks in the field. (Applause)

Sometime soon I am going to send you a budget that will hold discretionary spending below inflation, makes tax relief permanent, and if followed, will cut the deficit in half by 2009. Take note at how well I outlined what that budget does and also how much good it does for the American people, approve it and then follow it. My budget substantially reduces or eliminates more than 150 government programs that are not getting results or duplicate current efforts or do not fulfill essential priorities. The principle here is clear: Taxpayer dollars must be spent wisely or not at all. (Applause)

Before I continue I want to apologize for a law that was passed during the last four years that I was in office. The No Child Left Behind Act is evil and I wish I had never signed it. But on the bright side I plan on increasing Pell grants so be happy about that. (Applause)

Now with all that oil from Iraq going to power our SUV’s and tanks we are going to be a bit short in the energy department because of this I have submitted an energy strategy to implement clean, safe, and efficient nuclear energy. Actually I submitted that legislation four years ago, anticipating our invasion of Iraq, and its still being debated. Stop it and pass it through. (Cheers, applause)

Every year Americans have to fill out reams of paper when they file for income taxes, this is retarded, thus, I strongly recommend implementing a national sales tax. It is a much better system than our current tax system, tax cuts are easier to implement, and the American citizens like it because its quick, easy, and they can see any tax cut benefits every time they go to the store to pick up more ammo for their rifles and handguns. (Applause)

One of America's most important institutions, a symbol of the trust between generations, is also in need of wise and effective reform. Social Security was a great moral success of the 20th century, and we must honor its great purposes in this new century. (Applause.)

The system, however, on its current path, is headed toward bankruptcy, and so we must join together to strengthen and save Social Security. (Cheers, applause.)

Today, more than 45 million Americans receive Social Security benefits, and millions more are nearing retirement. And for them, the system is strong and fiscally sound. I have a message for every American who is 55 or older: Do not let anyone mislead you. For you, the Social Security system will not change in any way. (Applause.)

For younger workers, the Social Security system has serious problems that will grow worse with time. Social Security was created decades ago, for a very different era. In those days people didn't live as long, benefits were much lower than they are today, and a half century ago, about 16 workers paid into the system for each person drawing benefits. Our society has changed in ways the founders of Social Security could not have foreseen. In today's world, people are living longer, and therefore drawing benefits longer -- and those benefits are scheduled to rise dramatically over the next few decades. (Scattered applause.) And instead of 16 workers paying in for every beneficiary, right now it's only about three workers. And over the next few decades, that number will fall to just two workers per beneficiary. With each passing year, fewer workers are paying ever-higher benefits to an ever-larger number of retirees. So here is the result. Thirteen years from now, in 2018, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in. And every year afterward will bring a new shortfall, bigger than the year before. For example, in the year 2027, the government will somehow have to come up with an extra $200 billion to keep the system afloat. And by 2033, the annual shortfall would be more than $300 billion. By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt. (Noes are heard.) If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be dramatically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs. (Noes are heard.)

I recognize that 2018 and 2042 may seem a long way off, but those dates aren't so distant, as any parent will tell you. If you have a five-year-old, you're already concerned about how you'll pay for college tuition 13 years down the road. If you've got children in their 20s, as some of us do, the idea of Social Security collapsing before they retire does not seem like a small matter. And it should not be a small matter to the United States Congress. (Cheers, applause.)

Now a bunch of people have their own ideas on how social security should be fixed, or left as it is, but I say here is my plan, do this or you will lose your job. Here's how the idea works. Right now, a set portion of the money you earn is taken out of your paycheck to pay for the Social Security benefits of today's retirees. If you are a younger worker, I believe you should be able to set aside part of that money in your own retirement account, so you can build a nest egg for your own future. Here is why personal accounts are a better deal. Your money will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the current system can deliver, and your account will provide money for retirement over and above the check you will receive from Social Security. In addition, you'll be able to pass along the money that accumulates in your personal account, if you wish, to your children and -- or grandchildren. And best of all, the money in the account is yours, and the government can never take it away. (Cheers, applause.)

The goal here is greater security in retirement, so we will set careful guidelines for personal accounts. We will make sure the money can only go into a conservative mix of bonds and stock funds. We will make sure that your earnings are not eaten up by hidden Wall Street fees. We will make sure there are good options to protect your investments from sudden market swings on the eve of your retirement. We'll make sure a personal account cannot be emptied out all at once, but rather paid out over time, as an addition to traditional Social Security benefits. And we will make sure this plan is fiscally responsible, by starting personal retirement accounts gradually, and raising the yearly limits on contributions over time, eventually permitting all workers to set aside 4 percentage points of their payroll taxes in their accounts. Personal retirement accounts should be familiar to federal employees because you already have something similar called the Thrift Savings Plan, which lets workers deposit a portion of their paychecks into any of five different broadly based investment funds. It's time to extend the same security, and choice, and ownership to young Americans. (Cheers, applause.)

Now, on to my favorite subject, we have a great responsibility to our children and grandchildren is to honor and to pass along the values that sustain a free society. So many of my generation, after a long journey, have come home to family and faith and are determined to bring up responsible, moral children. Government is not the source of these values, but government should never undermine them. Because of this I have assigned judges that will faithfully interpret the law, not legislate from the bench. This means that marriage will be defined as the union of one man and one woman, abortion will be illegal, and any losers not following the laws will be sent either to Canada or France. Stop filerbusting my judges, give them an up or down vote, if you don’t I will call Bruce Willis and he will go Die Hard on all of you people who are not complying with my new initiative. (Applause)

Right now I would like to take the time to thank all the people that work tirelessly to keep our nation safe, police, firefighters, researchers, and air marshals, thank you for everything you do for your country. (Applause)

Our nation, working with allies and friends, has also confronted the enemy abroad, with measures that are determined, successful and continuing. The al Qaeda terror network that attacked our country still has leaders, but many of its top commanders have been removed. There are still governments that sponsor and harbor terrorists, but their number has declined. There are still regimes seeking weapons of mass destruction, but no longer without attention and without consequence. Our country is still the target of terrorists who want to kill many and intimidate us all, and we will stay on the offensive against them until the fight is won. (Cheers, applause.)

Around the globe our allies have helped us, 28 countries have troops on the ground in Iraq and in Afghanistan we have an international force providing security. We even have allowed the U.N. and france to help out in the Iraqi Elections, I have word that they are currently packing up the tables, chairs, and boxes that were used during the election. Apparently they need constant supervision, the Marines are not happy about that. (Laughter)

During the next four years America and her allies will continue to stop out terrorism around the world, and finish off the Commies while we are at it. Our next objective will be North Korea. I know, you all thought I was going to say Iran, but Iran is going to Israel, they promised to give the Palestinians some land if we let them take care of Iran. I thought it was a good deal. To you other stupid nations that harbor terrorists, hear this, we’re coming for you, duck! (Applause)

You have passed, and we are applying, the Syrian Accountability Act, and we expect the Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the door to freedom. The elections in Iraq were a great success, all I have to say about that is TOLD YA SO! (Applause.)

One of Iraq's leading democracy and human rights advocates is Safia Taleb al-Suhail. She says of her country, "We were occupied for 35 years by Saddam Hussein. That was the real occupation. Thank you to the American people who paid the cost, but most of all to the soldiers.” Eleven years ago, Safia's father was assassinated by Saddam's intelligence service. Three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote for the leaders of her country. And we are honored that she is with us tonight.

(Extended cheers and applause.)

The terrorists and insurgents are violently opposed to democracy, and will continue to attack it. Yet the terrorists' most powerful myth is being destroyed. The whole world is seeing that the car bombers and assassins are not only fighting coalition forces, they are trying to destroy the hopes of Iraqis, expressed in free elections. And the whole world now knows that a small group of extremists will not overturn the will of the Iraqi people. (Cheers, applause.)

Right now, Americans in uniform are serving at posts across the world, often taking great risks, on my orders. We have given them training and equipment, and they have given us an example of idealism and character that makes every American proud. (Applause.) The volunteers of our military are unrelenting in battle, unwavering in loyalty, unmatched in honor and decency, and every day they are making our nation more secure.

Some of our servicemen and women have survived terrible injuries, and this grateful nation will do everything we can to help them recover. (Applause.)

And we have said farewell to some very good men and women, who died for our freedom and whose memory this nation will honor forever. One name we honor is Marine Corps Sergeant Byron Norwood of Pflugerville, Texas, who was killed during the assault on Fallujah. His mom, Janet, sent me a letter and told me how much Byron loved being a Marine and how proud he was to be on the front line against terror. She wrote, "When Byron was home the last time, I said that I wanted to protect him, like I had since he was born. He just hugged me and said, 'You've done your job, Mom. Now it is my turn to protect you.'"

Ladies and gentlemen, with grateful hearts, we honor freedom's defenders and our military families, represented here this evening by Sergeant Norwood's mom and dad, Janet and Bill Norwood. (Extended applause and cheers.)

In these four years, Americans have seen the unfolding of large events. We have known times of sorrow and hours of uncertainty and days of victory. In all this history, even when we have disagreed, we have seen threads of purpose that unite us. The attack on freedom in our world has reaffirmed our confidence in freedom's power to change the world. We are all part of a great venture: to extend the promise of freedom in our country, to renew the values that sustain our liberty, and to spread the peace that freedom brings. As Franklin Roosevelt once reminded Americans, "each age is a dream that is dying, or one that is coming to birth." And we live in the country where the biggest dreams are born. The abolition of slavery was only a dream, until it was fulfilled.

The liberation of Europe from fascism was only a dream -- until it was achieved. The fall of imperial communism was only a dream -- until one day it was accomplished.

Our generation has dreams of its own, and we also go forward with confidence. The road of Providence is uneven and unpredictable -- yet we know where it leads: It leads to freedom.

Thank you, and may God bless America. (Cheers, applause.)