The Stimulus Bill has been passed and the President has outlined his plans in an address to a Joint Session of Congress
On Tuesday evening, President Barack Obama delivered his first address to a Joint Session of Congress and outlined in detail some of his vision for the country relative to his stimulus package. Though it had all the earmarks of a State of the Union address, it was billed as a "frank talk" with the people. He has been in office barely over 30 days and the critics are already placing the burden of the fiscal crisis on his one-month old administration. However, the president seems to be focused with a direct plan of action, which he knows will benefit the country in the end. He has boldly said, "The day of reckoning has arrived; but we will recover. The weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation."
The president has been bending over backwards to include the Republican Party in much of his plans–per his bi-partisan campaign promise–even though most of the opposition to his fiscal recovery plan is coming from the same ones from whom he has inherited a fiscally devastated economy. The same applies to other areas of his agenda from healthcare to tax cuts and from national security to foreign policy. It is importance to note that in all areas thus far President Obama's representatives have been received in an entirely different "welcoming" atmosphere.
Since the economy is item number one on his agenda because the masses of the American people are suffering, the president did not ease up on the criticism in any area in his analysis of the pervasive fiscal irresponsibility that has dominated the entire country for decades.
In fiscal matters, the president lambasted the financial community pointing to its recklessness and financial irresponsibility because he believes spending in the right areas and for the right projects is not a bad thing since that is what stimulates the economy, creates jobs and allows Americans a comfortable standard of living. But what the president is up in arms about is wastefulness–wasting not spending. On a lighter yet sobering note, the president stated that he has assigned Vice President Joseph "Joe" Biden to keep a tough oversight on fiscal matters because, "Nobody messes with Joe," which gained some humorous traction, laughter and applause.
He called for a renewed sense of the American possibilities–that Americans can achieve whatever they want to with the proper education, which has been lacking as evidenced by the "largest dropout rate in the industrial world," he cautioned.
In the area of foreign policy, the president alluded to the monumental waste and fraud relative to the invasion and seven-year occupation of Iraq, and how he intended to achieve a responsible withdrawal of American troops in order to let the Iraqis run their own country. And the closing of the prison in Cuba, in a similarly responsible manner that will still keep Americans safe and bring those who are deserving to justice while regaining and maintaining the rule of law and respect around the world.
President Obama also touched briefly on healthcare and a few other domestic issues but the bulk of his speech was devoted to the priority of his stimulus package and his pending annual budget, which he proposes to unveil in the near future, vowing to cut the national debt in half by the end of his first term.