Thursday, February 03, 2005

Notes from someone who didn't watch the speech

I only caught the very end of the state of the union address, and I only read part of the transcript. Nevertheless I have a couple of comments.

  • Bush's stated intentions with regard to Social Security sounded a lot more reasonable than I expected. His descriptions of the problems in the system were pretty fair. He put the issue of limiting the growth in benefits in the forefront, and only later talked about private accounts. And he labeled those accounts as a way of making the system a better deal for younger workers in tandem with the necessary benefit reductions. I still think it's a bit misleading to use words like "bankrupt" to describe the Social Security problem, but overall I thought this was responsible rhetoric and better than some of what I've heard before from the administration on the topic. Now if he could just get this worked up about the current deficit...

  • The Democratic response from Sen. Harry Reid was such a pile of claptrap that it was difficult to watch. Here's an excerpt:
    Ding, dong. The sound of the Liberty Bell. Ding. Freedom. Dong. Opportunity. Ding. Excellent schools. Dong. Quality hospitals.
    Oh, wait, sorry...that's actually an entry in an essay contest for children under twelve from an episode of The Simpsons. But it's remarkably close both spirit and content to the remarks offered by Reid.

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