Imperial Address

Napoleon on his throne.jpg
The Imperial Attitude*

I found the imperial address, with all of its Big Government Conservatism, hard to bear. The phony and cheap theatricality of it is … boring. So I figured I could just read it and left half-way through to hit the gym. As I’m going through the transcript (and listening to the chattering heads yammer on), I’ve got a few suggestions for thinking about it.

1. My colleague Stephen Slivinski points out that proposing $14 billion in spending cuts in a budget of $2.7 trillion amounts to a whopping 0.5% of the entire budget….assuming that the cuts aren’t just “cuts in the rate of increase,” which aren’t cuts at all.

2. My colleage Michael Cannon has a mixed report on the president’s embrace of health savings accounts. And a new resource on health savings accounts is available at MarketPlace.MD.

3. There is a big difference between being for withdrawal from Iraq and being for a “sudden withdrawal.” As president Bush noted, “A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison Ã?Â?Ã?¢Ã?¢?Ã?¬Ã?Â?Ã?¦ put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country Ã?Â?Ã?¢Ã?¢?Ã?¬Ã?Â?Ã?¦ and show that a pledge from America means little.” That may be true, but it does not follow that American troops have to stay until we “defeat our enemies.” (Nor do I believe that Americans must “accept the call of history to deliver the oppressed, and move this world toward peace.” See my earlier posting on that.)

4. My colleague Gene Healy provides useful historical context about the State of the Union address.

*Napoleon on his Imperial Throne (1806), by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)

2 Responses to “Imperial Address”

  1. It was a (typically) dishonest speech from Bush:

    After decrying the idea that “the government needs to take a larger role in directing the economy, centralizing more power in Washington and increasing taxes” as “economic retreat,” he endorsed expansions of federal programs and power such as the ethanol boondoggle, the “Advanced Energy Initiative,” the “American Competitiveness Initiative,” and similar foolishness.

    And while he claims to be cutting taxes at the same time, he isn’t — the spending increases are paid for by borrowing — this is just taxation deferred to the future.

    Pundits are too easy on him — they should expose him as the liar he is.