Those of us that have criticized the President for talking down the economy were pleasantly surprised. He only used the word crisis once, that I counted, and struck a hopeful tone. He was very FDR and Reagan like in his confidence in the future health of the American economy. On this point, I give the President credit. On this point, he struck an excellent balance between a sober assessment of our current state of the economy and the belief that we can overcome this challenge. His very dark tone was, in my opinion, one of the reasons that the stock market has gotten hit so hard lately. His hopeful tone should also help lift the stock market as well.
The President laid out a very bold agenda. Yet, it is an agenda that will be extremely expensive. He has already spent nearly a trillion Dollars. He has hinted that the banks will require hundreds of billions of more Dollars. He also proclaimed that he wouldn't "turn his back on the auto industry". That's just the spending on his short term programs. In the long term, he wants health care for all, energy independence, and expansive education spending. All of this will cost hundreds of billions of more Dollars.
Then, after laying out trillions of Dollars in new spending programs yearly, he proclaimed that we can't lay trillion of Dollars worth of debt onto our grandchildren. Now, that is chutzpah. As President Obama laid out trillions of Dollars in new spending, he made vague allusions to ending agri business subsidies, which I support, as well as programs that don't work, though we still don't know what that spending is. I firmly believe that the President will pursue his bold agenda on spending, but I am skeptical to say the least that he will become a fiscal hawk in a few years.
Finally, buried in the speech, President Obama pronounced his goal of legislating cap and trade.
A central authority (usually a government or international body) sets a limit or cap on the amount of a pollutant that can be emitted. Companies or other groups are issued emission permits and are required to hold an equivalent number of allowances (or credits) which represent the right to emit a specific amount. The total amount of allowances and credits cannot exceed the cap, limiting total emissions to that level.
This is a misguided idea and in a time of economic upheavely, it is downright dangerous. Forcing companies to change their energy use by government capped mandate is a bad idea in a good economy. Doing it now would simply be devastating.