This evening, Donald Trump will present to members of Congress and anyone who cares to listen, the annual State of the Union Address. Last year, as Trump was forced to cancel his planned January address, I wrote my own, thinking that perhaps I would be asked to fill in for him. I wasn’t, but still, it was a good speech, so I’ve decided to prepare my own again this year. Some things are the same as last year, some have changed.
Good morning, fellow humans. This is called the State of the Union address because the purpose is to inform the people of this nation how the country is doing.
I regret that I must tell you that we have some very serious problems here in the U.S., and if we don’t address them very soon, the ramifications will be tragic. We produce and use far too much coal and oil, for the fossil fuel industry has our government in a choke-hold that keeps us from doing everything in our power to promote renewable energy sources. Far too much federal land has been opened to mining, drilling, and logging, and we don’t yet know the full extent of the environmental impact, or the level of destruction of wildlife. The fossil fuel and logging industries are putting farmland and water supplies at risk. In addition, we have rolled back so many environmental regulations that we are putting far more CO2 into the atmosphere per capita than any other nation on the planet, including China. We have made little or no effort to reduce single-use plastics and other garbage that is polluting our land and waterways, not to mention the oceans. This is the area that is most important of all the topics I will cover here, and yet we are doing the least to address the problems.
If one looks only at the Dow-Jones or the employment rates, the economy looks pretty fair. But, there is more to the economy than just the stock market and employment rates. When you look at such things as affordable housing, income inequality and minimum wage, the picture is far less rosy. Then, factor in the national debt, which stands today at more than $23 trillion, and the budget deficit hovering around the $1 trillion mark, you can see that in truth the economy has some serious problems. It may seem great for that upper 1% who are the beneficiaries of keeping wages low, tax cuts, and other benefits, but the majority of people in the U.S. are no better off than they were ten years ago.
The average cost of a four-year degree ranges from $40,000 for in-state tuition at a public college, to $140,000 at a private college. It is estimated that with rising college costs, that amount will nearly double over the next decade. Few working-class families can afford that, so students must rely on financial aid. Young people are leaving college already burdened with a mound of debt that would have purchased a nice home 15-20 years ago. The result is that fewer and fewer students are attending college, for it is rapidly becoming available only to the wealthy. This is alarming, for who will be the doctors, lawyers, accountants, scientists, computer programmers, etc. in the coming decades?
As I reported last year, we have lost the trust of our allies. Since WWII, the U.S. has worked hard to be a trusted and valued partner in the global community, to develop alliances for the purposes of trade and security. But in order to maintain those alliances, we must first be a good friend, and we have let that ball drop. We have pulled out of treaties, imposed tariffs, been a poor trading partner, nearly started a war in the Middle East, and been critical of our allies for less than no reason. At the same time, our leadership has gone out of its way to befriend our adversaries. Is it any wonder, then, that a recent Pew research poll indicates that 64% of the 32 countries surveyed had very little confidence in the leadership of the U.S.
The United States is more divided than at any time since the close of the Civil War in 1865. We are divided along racial lines, religious ones, and more than ever before, along political lines. The majority of the people do not trust our government, do not believe anything that comes from Washington. When the people have lost all faith and trust in government, the nation has truly lost its way. This is not a sustainable situation, but rather one that is likely to lead to serious trouble in the near future.
Already on this, the fourth day of February and 35th day of the new year, we have seen 28 mass shootings, resulting in 38 deaths and 112 injuries, for a total of 150 victims. In total, in these first 35 days of the year, there have been a total of 3,618 gun deaths in the U.S. – 1,374 were homicides and the other 2,244 were suicides. This figure, as much as any, tells the true state of the union. No meaningful gun legislation was passed into law last year.
While the majority of the people in this nation welcome immigrants, understand that immigrants add to the richness of our culture and contribute in countless ways to the well-being of our country, immigrants are being treated terribly. Just last week, six more nations were added to the travel ban … nations whose people have never and do not now pose any threat whatsoever to the United States. Funds have been siphoned from other areas to support the building of an unneeded border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border – over $10 billion in total – money wasted. And children are still living in cages at the southern border, separated from their parents, perhaps forever.
There are now some 44 million people in the U.S. with no health insurance. While there has been much talk, many promises, the only actions have been those which caused the cost of health insurance and prescription medication to rise, making it un-affordable for many.
Although I could go on, my time is up. As you can see, the state of the nation leaves much room for improvement, however I would like to end on a positive note. One industry in particular has seen positive growth. Alcohol sales in the U.S. rose by some 5.1% over the past year! If you’re looking for a place to invest a few dollars, I strongly recommend Jack Daniels or Budweiser!
Admittedly, last year’s ‘Filosofa’s State of the Union’ was better than this years, but consider that I’ve had an entire year of deterioration & detritus has taken place since then, and I think my gloomier outlook is somewhat justified. I can only wonder what next year’s will bring!