THE STATE OF THE UNION
Yesterday President Bush held his State of the Union adress (watch it here).
The adress contained nothing unexpected, but carried on in the spirit of the inaugural adress - that is
stating the case for global freedom, combined with ideas for the big domestic challenges of our time.
For Americans the reform of the Social Security system is a big issue, and to me it's good to see President Bush
adressing this issue, despite the fact that the real problems won't show themselves during his presidency. It's the
responsible thing to do, and the system needs reform in order to avoid bankruptcy and collapse in the future. To get
his reforms through Congress he will need to convince senators and representatives that his plans are needed - something
that might be difficult considering that such measures are impopular and many of the members of Congress will have their
seat challenged in 2006. It is imperative that he succeeds though.
It is also important that he's serious about his pledge to put forth a budget that will cut the deficit in half by 2009.
He didn't go into any specifics about how he'd manage that, so I guess we'll have to wait and see. He did put some focus
on limiting spending (which is good), but only insofar as promising that the spending increases would never be allowed
to exceed inflation. While this is a cut in spending in real terms, I doubt that it'll be enough.
The strong points of the adress was, of course, about the spreading of democracy in the world. The world is a better
place for many today, than it was four years ago. Since then free elections has been held in Afghanistan, the Ukraine,
in the Palestinian Territories and in Iraq - something no one would have expected. And even though many mistakes have
been made, it seems to me that President Bush has grasped something fundamental, and something very few world leaders
have grasped before him. As Per Ahlmark put it in his latest book: It's the democracy, stupid!
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