Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office and an economic advisor to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign, dissects the President’s address in a blog post at The Corner. Very astute.
[We] got mostly a series of broad, sweeping vision statements followed by narrow, more-of-the-same policy prescriptions. Take for example innovation. The president praised the government’s widely recognized role in funding basic research. But in the next paragraph, he switched to “research and development” (not the same) and targeted on vague progressive agenda items like clean energy, information technology, and biomedical research. Why those, when the president acknowledged that “none of us can predict … what the next big industry will be”?
Why should 80 percent of electricity come from “clean energy”? How do we get there? Why should 80 percent of Americans have access to high-speed rail? These are proposals, but not a vision of any sort.
To be fair, most of these addresses disappoint. And there were nuggets of promise in the emphasis on education, and the acknowledgment that corporate profits are not a bad thing and that corporate tax reform is desirable. But there was little in specifics and it was countered by the pro forma attacks on oil companies and banks, and the stone-walling of fixing the health-care mistake.
In the end, this speech did little to change the landscape.
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