Tonight, President Obama will make his first address to a joint session of Congress as President. Officially, this speech is not a State of the Union Address since he just took office, but it will sound and feel like a State of the Union Address. President Bush gave a similar address about a month after he took office as well, so there is precedent for this kind of speech.
So, what will I be looking for in this speech? In a word, details. You may recall that I commended the President for telling us in his inaugural address that we would need to sacrifice. Yesterday, he was speaking at an economic summit when he vowed to cut the $1.3 trillion deficit in half by the end of his first term.
One of the big criticisms that Republicans had of the stimulus plan was the fact that it would explode this deficit. President Obama seemed to acknowledge this criticism when he said, “If we confront this crisis without also confronting the deficits that helped cause it, we risk sinking into another crisis down the road. We cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences.” In other words, the stimulus plan is a temporary fix, but the long term solution is cutting the deficit.
While Candidate Obama discussed many proposals during the campaign of how to fix the deficit, President Obama has been consumed with the stimulus plan and attempting to bring about an economic recovery. As a result, he has not proposed specifics on how to begin cutting the deficit. It is now time for the President to make the shift where he is placing his focus and he seems to be doing that. Tonight, I will be looking for what specifics he will be proposing in order to accomplish his lofty goal of cutting the deficit in half.