I watched President Obama's State Of The Union Address in it's entirety last evening and have to say that I didn't hear anything in it of much substance. When I voted for him I knew the guy was going to have a very tough road in front of him with all the messes he had to clean up and didn't expect for him to change anything overnight, but I have grown weary of him because all he seems to be doing is giving great motivational speeches and not much else. I heard a lot of talk about fixing the job market and how things are starting to slowly improve, but having been unemployed since May of 2008 I'm tired of the talk and want some ACTION. I haven't been sitting on my ass waiting for the government to fix the job market, but have been diligently trying to find work. As someone living in the trenches, I can tell you it is a nightmare out there trying to find employment. I've been on many a job interview which I've left feeling pretty darn good about only to hear a week or two later the position has been put on hold indefinitely. Or I've lost out to a candidate who has decades plus experience on me which is of course a respectable person to be beaten by, but if the market wasn't so bad, then I wouldn't have that kind of competition (or at least not as much of it). Employed people who don't understand how brutal the market is say "Well, just take any job until you can find something suited for you!" Well, you simply can't because employers won't hire you. They know you are applying for the job as a stop gap and will leave as soon as you can. I can't tell you how many times I've been rejected for being overqualified. My next door neighbor comes from a restaurant/bar management background and can't even get a job as a clerk at Blockbuster or GameStop because he was told he'd "be bored" at the job. Do you know how frustrating it is to spend years working on building up a great looking resume only to be told it it is too good? I realize this sounds like a lot of whining and bitching, but it is truly tough out there and there is data out there to back that assertion up. All that being said, I'm a glass half full person, so I know eventually things will turn around and I will be able to look back on this and have a chuckle, but being unemployed almost two years now naturally causes a great deal of frustration and anger. I will say that the extensions of unemployment benefits in the state of New York have treated me well, but I want to be earning paychecks and have better health insurance. And anyone who thinks we don't need health care reform is obviously not unemployed, no longer able to get COBRA and being forced to take one of the few absolutely horrendous and/or overpriced options that are available to the unemployed (or even worse, going without health insurance). I pay almost $600 a month for health insurance which doesn't cover visits to the doctor's office nor dental much less vision (I wear glasses, so that is a big deal to me), so I'm all for universal health care.
I do commend Obama for calling out the Supreme Court for their recent decision to block the government from putting limits on campaign donations by corporations. Anyone who thinks that is not a terrible idea is crazy. This opens the floodgates for foreign interests into our political process and let's the interest of corporations gain larger influence over the interests of citizens (not that that isn't already the case, but why make it worse than it already is?).
And this may have just been my observation, but didn't it seem like Joe Biden was trying to get Nancy Pelosi (who looked totally botoxicated) to stop standing up and applauding so often towards the latter half of the speech? I realize there is a lot of applauding and cheerleading at these things, but there seemed to be more than usual last night as compared to speeches I've watched in the past.
A friend of mine compared Obama's speech last night to a spoken word version of Hulk Hogan's "I Am A Real American" theme song while I compared it to a high school pep rally and thought he may as well yelled "San Dimas High School Football RULES!" at the end of it (shame on you if you don't get that Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure reference).
And don't even get me started on the Republican response from that idiot Governer Bob McDonnell of my home state of Virginia...that was arguably the only thing that made Obama's speech look good last night. The only thing he said that was sensical was that the Republicans support the President on fixing the job market and education.
I think Obama has the right ideas and is pointed in the right direction, I just hope he can eventually start MOVING in the right direction.