The Business Owner Blog

Reflections on the State of the Union

January 31st, 2011

Don’t get me wrong — words are powerful. Can impact lives. Change the course of history. Even kill, literally.

Words give insight into the mind and heart of the speaker.

The words of some we take at face value. Others, they’re just words.

We tend to respect people who speak little but take action. Let their actions and accomplishments do the talking.

Yes, the words spoken by President Obama provided some insight into what he plans to work on in the coming months and years. And I do think Obama has both great heart and mind. But, probably like you, State of the Union speeches leave me unsatisfied. Unsettled. For one thing, they hardly inform us about “the state of the union.” It’s more about politics and positioning and inspiring.

Sure, we need to be inspired. We loved it when Reagan inspired us with his addresses. But today I guess we all just want to hear that the government will reduce spending, lower taxes, balance the budget and stop trying to solve all problems.

Obama appropriately touched on the key roles our federal government should play: security/defense, infrastructure development, maintaining the rule of law, education, fostering robust and fair trade, diplomacy, and — at times — supporting innovation. But we business owners know that one cannot continue to spend more than one brings in for sustained periods. What our government needs is to come to grips with the fact that the country is not nearly as rich as the government seems to think. The pockets are not nearly so deep. In fact, they are empty.

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