This post was written by Hatchet columnist Andrew Clark
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address Tuesday night outlined a series of ambitious and forward-looking goals, many of which I can agree with. Simplifying the U.S. tax code, streamlining government agencies, tossing harmful regulations and freezing discretionary spending, among other initiatives, are all long over-due objectives that Congress and the White House can work together towards.
It is alarming, however, that while Obama talked of axing oppressing regulations, he failed to address the heavy regulatory burden that his own health care and financial overhaul bills have set on the country. Insurance companies, facing even further regulatory hurdles, have raised premiums to meet government requirements, and states have begun cutting their Medicaid budgets as their programs become too expensive. Any realistic discussion of burdensome regulations must include a broad reform of Obama’s health care law on the table.
As Obama said, we should also invest in our infrastructure and our education. However, swiftly addressing our massive deficit and debt issues will guarantee that we have that money to invest. Likewise, it will not matter how many laws Congress passes to help Americans receive health coverage if our Treasury Department runs out of the funds to pay for the policies.
The president should push for a balanced budget amendment, and actively listen to the concerns the business community has over his health care reform law. Further, he should use the upcoming vote on the debt ceiling to put serious deficit-reduction steps into law, to show the nation and world the United States is serious about sorting its fiscal house into order.
I am no doubt pleased that the president struck a centrist and reform-minded tone Tuesday. But actions will speak louder than words, and we cannot afford to tinker around the edges of a problem that needs to be faced head on.
For a Democrat’s perspective, read Corey Jacobson’s post, “Obama’s State of the Union outlined a coherent, organized plan for America.”