I have grown very weary with Warren Buffet's secretary and her tax issues. The woman needs a better CPA.
The last time a secretary got this much air time her name was Della Street and she worked for Perry Mason. I think he did her taxes.
Soooo, last night was the State of the Union address. Listening to the last ten such speeches, I have begun to long for the days when the President wrote out his speech (or had his secretary write it, in between runs to H & R Block), then deliver it to the House, where the Clerk of the House, who, presumably, did his own taxes, read it in a sonorous monotone. The only exception in the last forty years were Reagan's speeches. Carter went for pith, Clinton for distance. The Bushes assayed the role of the clerk. There was not a lot of there there.
Reagan was a happening.
The problem with making the State of the Union address a live, televised event is striking. To put a politician in front of other politicians and an audience of millions is the same as putting Homer Simpson in league with a plate of pork chops. The result will be messy, gluttonous and predictable.
Last night, Mr. Obama did Mr. Mitt Romney a great favor. He never called attention to Mr. Romney's tax reports, recently released, which showed Mr. Romney paid an effective tax rate of 13.9% on an income of just over $43 millions. Mr. Obama did not mention this fact. He only pointed out Warren Buffett's secretary pays a higher effective rate than Warren Buffett.
Mr. Romney, answering this shadowy blow, announced he pays every penny the law requires and not a penny more. He opined that the "American people" would not want a president who pays more taxes than he is required to pay.
No, Mr. Romney, but some of us do want a leading class who understand how very, oh, I don't know, wrong, it is that fabulously wealthy people leech off the public dole. Please do not lecture us about risk versus opportunity, Mr. Romney, because the government you lobbied so effectively and want now to lead bailed you out when you got in trouble.
If any GOP leader wants to point out weaknesses in Mr. Obama's speech (and his policies), please take a moment to read and compare it with other State of the Union speeches. Mr. Obama's speech was more Benjamin Henry Harrison than Franklin Roosevelt or Harry S. Truman.
That is, Mr. Obama spent the night talking about community and linking our American community to the eventual destruction of Bin-Laden. He talked about manufacturing jobs, though, before the Long Bush Recession started, the manufacturing industry in the US had shrunk up from 40% of the work force in 1943 to 9% in 2007. He never talked about how we dithered away the IPhone, IPod industry, though Americans developed the idea for each of them.
In fact, the President's mostly effective speech was so 19th century, one might have thought Sinclair Lewis had written it. Where was the future? Only in the past, according to Mr. Obama.
He never mentioned bandwidth. Infrastructure repair was left for bridges and roadways. We need those infrastructure repairs, as well, but the future is in technology. If the Chinese, who were curiously absent from Mr. Obama's speech last night (think Iran and how badly we need them there; if anyone invades Iran, it will be the Chinese, who are nearby and not overly scrupulous about human rights) can get information three minutes ahead of us, they can rule the world. Band-width decideds who finds out fastest and that is only one illustration.
Our technology infrastructure needs development. It is our one chance to have a middle class again. Yet, I did not hear anything about last night.
Then, the GOP let Mitch Barnett, governor of Indiana, give their response. If I were anyone in the party out of power, I would make certain I was deathly ill during the State of the Union. The setting the responder gets makes certain he will look like an extreme clown in comparison.
Mr. Barnett drew the short straw last night. His speech was stupefyingly out of touch with history. He praised Social Security and Medicare, Democratic programs (FDR. FDR. FDR) and damned Obama's "trickle down economics" theories, which was the Ronald Reagan-David Stockman transfer of wealth theory, failed in the 1980's. Mr. Barnett's speech was revisionist history at its worst.
The winner last night? Mr. Romney got a twenty four hour reprieve from talking about his taxes. In a presidential election year, twenty four hours is a life time. In twenty four hours, Newt Gingrich could get married again or Joe Biden could be found to have plagarized something else. So, Mr. Romney gets credit for releasing his tax records at the most effective time. That is, when peopel will be looking elsewhere. By the time the media get back to Mr. Romney's taxes, it will seem like old news.
So, Mr. Romney wins the night.
And Warren Buffett's secretary, who should get a book deal, at least.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone.