Bush’s "Visionary" Speech

Bush’s acceptance speech has for weeks been billed as his time to finally present his agenda for the next four years. Karen Hughes promised that the speech would be “visionary”. I have been particularly interested in his proposals for domestic policy, since the US is currently facing a number of serious economic problems that need to be addressed, such as:

– the extremely slow pace of job creation, and precarious economic recovery

– the lack of income growth for middle-class households

– massive budget deficits as far as the eye can see

– surging healthcare costs

– future underfunding of Social Security

– a widening gap between the rich and poor, and rising poverty rate

With so many serious (though generally fixable) economic problems to address, what specific new proposals did Bush offer in his speech?

In a new term, I will lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code.

…we will double the number of people served by our principal job training program and increase funding for community colleges.

…we will create American opportunity zones. In these areas, we’ll provide tax relief and other incentives to attract new business and improve housing and job training

…We will offer a tax credit to encourage small businesses and their employees to set up health savings accounts, and provide direct help for low-income Americans to purchase them.

…we will change outdated labor laws to offer comp time and flex time.

This is “visionary”? Yes, tax simplification would be a major new change… but does nothing to address the economic problems facing the US. Nearly all of the other policy suggestions here have already been proposed during Bush’s first term, or else really constitute the most minor type of tinkerings with government policy that one could imagine. No mention of how he would reduce the budget deficit. No mention of how he would help the weak economic recovery. No mention of how he would reduce poverty, boost middle-class income, or restrain healthcare costs (other than by limiting malpractice suits).

Of course, these excerpts only come from about 5 paragraphs out of about 60 total. In the other 55, I could find no specific domestic policy proposals, though a couple paragraphs contained some vague statements about creating jobs, and several more contained attacks on Senator Kerry.

Does he really have nothing important that he wants to accomplish in four more years as President?


p.s. I also have a question about this line: “Thanks to our policies, homeownership in America is at an all-time high.” See this post to see exactly what is wrong with this claim.