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State of The Union

I watched President Bush's State of The Union last night and personally thought that it was one of his best speeches. Instead of spending the whole time trying to get people fired up for the war in Iraq, he spent most of the time on domestic items. I was impressed by his ideas and, if implemented well, I think that they will do some good.

His tax exemption for healthcare will allow millions of people who don't have employer supplied healthcare to purchase their own and have it count as a deduction (it's currently not a deduction if you pay for your own insurance). I think it's a good step forward. It's a bit of a risk as some who pay a lot for insurance may have to pay some taxes on their premiums. On the other hand it may help keep premiums down since people won't want to pay more than what's tax deductable.

I also liked the idea of reducing malpractice suits and of streamlining medical records. Both of those could reduce medical costs and thus insurance premiums.

His goal to cut gasoline consumption by 20% is admirable and I sincerely hope we can pull it off. Increasing ethanol (E85) usage as well as improving hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology have great benefits for the environment as well as the economy (think about the billions of dollars that would stay in the US if we produced all of our own fuel).

I like his commitment to education. I know "No Child Left Behind" is controversial but if math and science scores are improving, I think that's a very good thing. I also think there should be competition among schools. If a school isn't performing well, we should be able to pull our kids out and put them into a better school.

I like his stand on immigration reform and hope that can get passed. I was especially impressed when he stated that there should be an easy test for businesses to determine immigration status. If we can get a system that's easy to implement and easy to audit/enforce, then we can cut off jobs for illegals. Then they'll either get legal status or go home. Either way, it's problem solved.

As for Iraq... Well, we'll see. I'm not too hopeful but what can you do.

Overall, I think his goals are admirable and I just hope that he can get them implemented in a way that actually accomplishes them. However, I'm a realist and so I'm expecting that Congress will have a lot more say on what the next two years are like than the president. I just hope they can work together.

I haven't been that big of a Bush fan but, for the most part, I'm really impressed with his current agenda. I just hope it's still good when the rubber hits the road.

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